What is Personal Growth and Why Should I Care?

Welcome to Week 5 (the final week!) of the ‘March is for Me’ series. A series that has brought you a new blog post on each Wednesday of the month. The aim of this was to spend an entire month focusing on ourselves with self-love, self-care and positivity. Today’s post is brought to you by Paige Eades, with What is personal growth and Why Should I Care?

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

 

Personal growth is such an individualist activity, wouldn’t you say? From endlessly discussing life plans with career consultants at school into talks and gossips with friends detailing our ‘five year plans’ (does anyone else still live in the hope that our lives will turn out to be a perfect fairy-tale?); the theme of self-development has been imminent throughout our whole lives. 

When Emily called out for writers to pull together a series on ‘March is for Me’, I knew that it would be a great opportunity to discuss and delve more into our own personal connections with ourselves and take the time to consider if we are happy with the way in which we are treating ourselves. It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane swing of things; the 9 to 5 work routine and the catch up weekend but looking after we is an essential step that many people argue they don’t have time for. 

Something to consider; how many of us have actually sat down to consider our own personal growth? Putting the ever ingrained career chats and life objectives aside; what happened to developing the person we are inside and our desire to constantly better ourselves? If you’re anything like me, it’s probably been too long since you have had that real, open chat with yourself about how things are going? Why is that?

Photo by sickk vibes on Unsplash

 

It almost seems rather taboo to consider yourself and put yourself first in the modern world; the idea of doing something to please others comes way before pleasing yourself. The feeling of wasted time is a familiar concept to many of you I’m sure, with the inkling of ‘I’d really rather be doing something else; but I’m not, because I’m here supporting you’. And that’s okay – there aren’t going to be moments where everything is about what you want; but to me a major element of personal growth is about taking the time to consider what your needs are and being brave enough to create boundaries if need be. Contrary to popular belief; creating personal boundaries isn’t selfish – it’s establishing how far you can go without damaging yourself.  

Creating personal growth journeys is encouraged in ways that you probably won’t even link to in your life; and it’s easier than you might think. I remember my first insight into striving to better myself was the infamous gold star chart on the primary school classroom wall; which celebrated including others into games or sharing our snacks with those who didn’t have any (oh, to live in a COVID free world again). The sense of achievement and satisfaction after adding a little gold star sticker to my name and knowing that I had made another’s day a little better was a feeling that can’t quite be replicated in adult life. Although I’d love it – where are the star chart boards now eh? 

I can almost hear the sighs of imagining an obsession with gold stars – but hear me out.  The celebration of working towards becoming better and the small accomplishments along the way should be celebrated. Each step to learning and developing is a great one, and without sounding too soppy – it’s those kind of achievements that make the world go around.

You are in connection with your goals

Personal growth is all about taking the time to reflect on your current circumstance and establish new and realistic goals that you would like to achieve. It is evident that the goals that you set at 12 are going to be different now; and the personal growth journey is all about embracing that! The beauty of life is that it is constantly evolving; and things aren’t going to be smooth sailing throughout – to put it bluntly shit happens and circumstances change, and the subsequent effect is that goals do too. Through remaining aware that goals are, and can be, adjustable to changes is a key to personal development – and understanding that a temporary setback isn’t failure or that the goal should be given up on; it’s just that – a temporary setback. 

You align yourself to new values

As previously discussed, personal growth is an everchanging event – it snakes and swivels and whirls around your life. Through adopting a persistent desire to continuously better ourselves; we therefore align better with new and improved values. Think about it; do you have and believe in the exact same values that you held 5 years ago? No? You’re not alone; many people shift and alter their values in accordance with new information learnt or experiences shared – so it should only make sense that we configure our new morals and values in line with what we currently associate with.

You experience a greater peace of mind

What could be better than being so ‘in tune’ with yourself than defining exactly what your goals and aspirations are? I can’t count all the times where I’ve had what feels like a mid-life crisis surrounding what I want to do in pivotal points in time – starting college, heading off to university, first relationships – but if I had taken the time to re-evaluate what my personal goals were then I would have been reassured that these new changes were the right thing to do and were to help me on my journey, not hinder. Through establishing your personal development plan and continually monitoring it, it is only expected that you will experience a sense of ‘togetherness’ that is hard to achieve otherwise. 

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

You experience healthier relationships

I’m a big believer in that you attract the people that share the vibes you put out into the world. If you are negative and refuse to accept new developments – you will attract and share values with similar minded people. However, if you strive to better yourself, base your aspirations on inspirational people and be proactive in your personal development journey; like-minded people will flock to join you. Relationships age and evolve as you make your way through life; and they can inevitably become outgrown. You deserve to be able to surround yourself with healthy relationships that inspire, satisfy and progress your personal development journey; so, strive to get them! 

You experience greater happiness

Can you imagine anything better than knowing that you are actively achieving your dreams and aspirations? Knowing that despite everything, even on a day where you don’t want to do anything (relatable, amirite), you are striving to be the best person you can be – and making a positive impact on your time on Earth. We all can’t claim to become the next Greta Thunberg or the genius behind the cure for cancer, but we can all claim ourselves to becoming the best person that we are capable of.

Without sounding too cliché; in a world filled with increasing negativity, you have the choice to be that ray of sunshine – both for yourself and others. Take that opportunity. I’ll raise a glass to that!


What an AMAZING post to end the March is For Me series on – thank you Paige for your beautiful words and to each creator that has contributed to March is For Me this month and made it so special. It’s a series I know I will definitely be referring back to! Click here to be taken to each post.

I hope you are all doing well and keeping safe

Until next time,

Emily x

 

Delving into The World of MLMs

“Hey babe! I’ve just been taking a look through your feed/blog/account and think you would be the PERFECT addition to my team. Are you looking to quit your 9-5 and make money from home?” if the latter rings a bell (a potentially alarming one), then you my friend, appeared to have stumbled across an MLM scheme.

Disclaimer: There are some legitimate MLM programmes available, and by no means am I tarnishing every person and every business with the same brush, nor shaming anyone if they want to participate. I just disagree with the fake-friendliness and programmes that have negatively affected people’s lives.

What does MLM actually mean?

MLM stands for multi-level marketing. It’s a controversial method of network marketing and the illegal versions are called pyramid schemes. The most common form of MLM is for a person to be ‘recruited’ into a team; to sell products/services to family and friends. Doesn’t sound too fishy just yet? Well, they can be fraudulent and can cause the recruited member to actually lose money rather than make anything back. Losing money can also consequently land people in debt.

MLM participants and recruiters can come across very friendly, approachable, likeable and honest. It is a clever technique to lure people into the depths of a scheme that can cause more harm than good. Often the targets of these schemes are students, stay at home mums and people looking for additional income.

It’s a system that preys on the vulnerable and makes a mockery of true, hard-working business owners. It takes advantage of those less financially advantaged and with little to no knowledge on the truth behind MLMs. It’s not dissimilar to a form of brainwashing.

So what does MLM involve?

From my research online, and vast personal experience of coming across these participants daily, is that it works by signing up, paying for a ‘starter kit’, and selling *cough nagging* your family and friends into buying your products and/or joining your team to gain commission and profit. Can you see how the cycle continues? It appears most money comes from the recruiting aspect and the commission gained from recruiting others into the business. This is where the ‘pyramid’ aspect starts to make more sense.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

 

So what is a pyramid scheme and how does this differ to MLM?

If you picture a literal pyramid shape, it starts at a point at the top and gradually widens out into a lower, wider level. So business CEOs recruit and enroll people at the top-level and work their way down continuously in a chain. All the while promising payments and rewards for recruiting others rather than selling a product/service.

An article by Randy Duermyer states; “To be legal and not a scam, money needs to be primarily earned from the sales of products and services rather than the recruitment of new members. MLM programs with no or a low-quality product or a focus on getting paid per recruit could be an illegal pyramid scheme”.

The lower level earns little to no money, and the big bosses at the top walk away with the cash. Some invest thousands into these businesses with the hopes that they can quit their job and get rich from home. But they don’t get rich, and they end up worse off. It’s a false sense of security.

So in short MLMs are pyramid schemes, just not always illegal ones.

How do MLMs/pyramid schemes work?

If you know what warning signs to look out for – you can become a pro at spotting an MLM recruiter from a mile away. I delete multiple DMs a week, which have all been from young women. They claim to be business owners, travel agents and “entrepreneurs”, but this could not be further from the truth. You may be enticed into what seems like a generic, friendly conversation. The second you reply, you are bombarded with over-friendly, pushy messages.

A few messages in, you may be hit with “have you considered earning extra money from home?” or “I’m part of an amazing business opportunity I think you would be great at, would you like to hear more?”. Their pitches are quite obvious, so shouldn’t be hard to spot. Voice messages are now a common form, which makes your invite look personalised when they’re more than likely following a script and changing the name each time.

The so-called “benefits” of these schemes can involve all expenses paid trips, winning a car and luxury prizes. So to people who are struggling to put food on the table and have no idea what MLMs are, it looks like a life-changing opportunity. The problem is how morally wrong they are, as well as financially.

Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

Examples of MLMs that you may recognise are:

  • Avon (who have built reputability and personally, I have used and still use Avon as a consumer, as it’s a better established, legitimate business that just uses MLM techiques with its Avon reps)
  • The Body Shop has been a new and upcoming one
  • Arbonne
  • Herbalife
  • NuSkin
  • Juice Plus

How did it all begin?

Network Experience state “The first direct seller that made the breakthrough was the “California Perfume Company” established in 1886. California Perfume Company was renamed as “Avon Products” in 1939 and is still at the top of the MLM industry. ” so they weren’t the creators of this type of business model, but they seem to have paved the way. In 1945, another company changed its name from the California Vitamin Company to Nurti Lite, which practiced MLM strategies still used today to sell their products.

It appears the earliest MLM business was JR Watkins Medical Company in 1886, explained by Tony on Quora.

But WHY can they be so bad?

The primary reason is because it’s a predatory method that preys on unknowing and vulnerable communities worldwide. It seemingly offers care-free income and great prospects which most of the time, is not true. A fantastic in-depth article I came across by Eliza Romero describes that “Using the language of third-wave feminism and borrowing quotes or phrases from real female CEOs helps recruiters and recruits see themselves as legitimate professionals, no different from a founder of a startup company”.

It’s all a facade and a beautiful lie. It is psychologically manipulative too, giving people sales pitches and leading them into a false sense of security. They have also kept going since the start of the Covid pandemic, which I think is a disgusting technique when people are facing so much personal and financial devastation.

It’s hard to locate UK statistics for MLM schemes, but they are vast across the US.

“Among the more than 20 million Americans who participate or have participated in multilevel marketing (MLM) organizations, 90 percent say they got involved to make money. However, nearly half (47 percent) lose money and a quarter (27 percent) make no money, according to a new study released by AARP Foundation.” – quote from PR Newswire

Where can I find out more?

I remember watching the BBC documentary by Ellie Flynn which gave an insight into the households directly affected by MLMs and it was shocking. One of the young women involved ended up £3000 in debt due to the false promises of an MLM scheme. She invested expecting to seek results, and gained nothing in return.

I, among many, find the fake friendly conversations by MLM recruiters insanely tiresome and annoying. I know family and friends that are involved who thankfully, do not seem disadvantaged thus far. There are some legitimate schemes, but please do your research if you are interested. I am not here to promote these models of “business” but to raise awareness into the dangers and toxicity of the majority of them. The truth behind the true earning success rates of these businesses needs to be shared more publically to avoid others falling into the same trap.

I’m really interested to hear your thoughts and experiences with MLM in the comments down below.

Until next time,

Emily x

What is the ‘5 year plan’ and should you have one?

The notorious ‘five-year plan‘ question may send you into a cold sweat or be the easiest question you could answer. You may have first been asked this question during your final years in education or at a job interview. This is the question that would fill me with instant dread and pressure; are you really meant to know? Are you meant to be aiming for something in particular in 5 years? Do I just fall victim to societal pressures and say “job, house, kids”?

I’d like to disclaim that I am not totally against a 2/5/10 year plan – I am sure it holds importance for many people that actually find it useful and motivating. However, what about those that don’t have a 5-year plan? Do you not hire those that don’t have a suitable enough timeline planned out? What is the significance of 5 years? Theoretically, it is not a long time in the grand scheme of things.

What is there to plan?

  • A change in mentality and perspective
  • Career progression, or even career break
  • Housing situation
  • Relationship status
  • Travel destinations
  • Personal achievements i.e. skydive or learning a language
  • Business adventure
  • Children

The list truly is endless. Personally, I view my life as being one complicated stencil I’ve drawn around on a piece of paper. There will be lines that I will want to perfect and make them as neat as possible, but there will be lines where my hand is shaky and I accidentally go outside of the lines. However, at the end of it, I will be mostly content with what I have created.

Life is renowned for being unpredictable. There are days when it may feel like a huge boulder has crashed down in the middle of your path, making it difficult to work around, but not impossible. Acknowledging that life will always have its curveballs, should help a life plan seem less intimidating. Things go wrong, but there will always be a way to get back on track and dust yourself off again. It is almost guaranteed, that if you were to ask anyone who is 5 years older than you, if they have got to where they are by sailing their way through life – they will most likely say no.

What are some pros and cons to having a 5-year plan?

Pros:

  • Gives you goals to work towards, no matter how big or small
  • Allows you to prioritise your goals in terms of when you want to achieve them
  • Can keep you disciplined and on track
  • Hand in hand with the above; can force you to start something you have been putting off
  • It can be comforting

Cons:

  • You may feel pressured and rushed
  • Your plan may adhere more to stereotypical achievements by default
  • May cause a feeling of disappointment if you don’t hit certain milestones within a certain period
  • It can make room for comparisons with other people’s success
  • You may become too attached to the plan and opposed to change

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

The logistics of a 5-year plan are so personal to each individual. What might be a mountain to one person, is a molehill for another. It can be exciting to share your plans with others – I don’t believe the intention of a plan is negative. If you are surrounded by decent people, you should hopefully never feel belittled by what you have set yourself, you should have nothing but support and encouragement.

Personally, I choose to live life day-by-day. I will happily write a to-do list in the morning and can stick to it pretty well. Stretch it further than a weekly plan, and I will probably struggle to stay on track. My interests and motivation levels fluctuate too regularly for a long-term plan to sit comfortably in my head. Knowing what I want out of life is important, but the route to get there can be as sporadic and spontaneous as possible.

So in terms of being asked “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” in a job interview, the intention behind the question is probably to cover their own backs. Is this person looking to be in a completely different position in a few years to what they’ve applied for? Can we afford to train someone who sounds like they are going to leave soon? I understand why the question is asked, but it can be a tough cookie to crack if you are not a natural planner.

To conclude

A 5-year plan is exactly what you make of it. It can be as intense or as mild as you like. There is no obligation to know the answer to this question, but I do feel like it crops up quite often. It offers food for thought in many different ways. Planning what I think is my ideal plan, can allow me to spot pitfalls and genuinely think carefully about the routes I wish to take.

Avid organisers may thrive by setting their goals long into the future, and to that, I say hats off. There is not a right or wrong answer. It is admirable to see how we all cope and work our way through this journey. If you are keen to know how to create your own 5-year plan, there are many resources available to help.

“If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never the goal”

What are your thoughts on the concept of a 5-year plan?

Until next time,

Emily x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why and How You Should Check Your Boobs

*Statistics provided in this post are in conjuction with information shared at the time of posting. For updated figures, please do research those if you would like*

I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of not checking my boobs enough, or at all. I’ve always been told it’s important, but I have been lazy about it which I am not proud of. It takes a couple of minutes each month, so really there are no excuses. I’ve taken the time to educate myself and decided to compile a post about it for my fellow breast bearers.

Feeling your breasts is a key way of detecting breast cancer, so if taking some time in the shower to check around for anything anomalous – it could literally save your life. CoppaFeel! are the UK’s first breast cancer awareness charity with a sole aim of educating and installing the correct knowledge from as early an age as possible, to ensure that we are confident to check our breasts regularly.

So what do the statistics show?

It’s not just women that can suffer from breast cancer, it can also affect men. Statistics shared by Breast Cancer Now state “Around 55,000 women and 370 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK” and 4% of those cases in women are from those aged under 39. As a woman in my early 20s, that is a scary statistic to swallow. Breast Cancer Now also added “Breast cancer survival is improving and has doubled in the past 40 years in the UK due to a combination of improvements in treatment and care, earlier detection through screening and a focus on targets, including faster diagnosis.”

So in reference to early detection, it is vital to CHECK YOUR BOOBS. It’s important to note that breast tissue also reaches under your armpits and up to your collarbones so do check the whole area.

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

What if I’m forgetful?

Fear not, one quick and easy way to start checking your boobs today is to sign up to reminders. I’ve opted for the monthly text option, but will also make a conscious effort to do more in between.

So how exactly do we check our boobs?

If you’re more of a visual learner, CoppaFeel! have a short but sweet educational video that explains it all. It’s all about looking and feeling so there’s no definitive way of how to check, but here are some pointers:

  • Look to see if there is a change in size or shape
  • Look to see if any parts of your skin are puckering or dimpling
  • Feel for any lumps and bumps
  • Look for nipple discharge, redness or abnormal crustiness
  • Look for rashes
  • Notice any new pain or discomfort in one or both breasts (you can get boob pain on your period, but you will know if the pain is prolonging after your period or is unusually intense)

You can examine your boobs both standing up and lying down, so perfect for in the shower or before going to sleep at night. Ideally use three fingers to work in circular motions (also up and down) across your breasts, collarbones and armpits. Do what makes you comfortable, just as long as you are thoroughly checking all areas.

What do I do if I feel like something isn’t right?

ALWAYS book an appointment to see your GP or gynaecologist as soon as possible. They will be more than happy to check for you, it’s their job after all! It is better to be safe than sorry.

Examining your own breasts regularly is an effective method of early breast cancer detection

T-shirt from Pink Clouding. Purchases from the Tits collection mean a donation is made on your behalf to CoppaFeel

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month each year, but awareness is, of course, raised all year round and I wanted to use the small platform I have to share what I’ve learnt and instil confidence in those that were unsure how to check their breasts. You are never too young to start checking and there is technically no right or wrong way. You spend the most time with your own body, so are more likely to know when something isn’t quite right.

You can monitor any noticeable differences for 5 days, but if they don’t change, please do seek guidance from your GP.

I hope this has helped provide a guide on how best to check the breast. Do you regularly check?

Until next time,

Emily x

5 Ways to Keep Your Long Term Relationship Alive

Looking for ways to reignite the fireworks of a long-term relationship does not necessarily mean you are looking for relationship guidance or are at breaking point with your partner. When you spend a prolonged period of time with someone in particular, it’s easy to fall victim to routine and feel confused on how to spice things up again. Life has its ways of wedging itself into relationships like the third wheel nobody asked for. One day you might find yourself asking “what changed along the way?” or “why aren’t things the same as they were at the start?“.

These are completely normal and rational feelings to have. People grow every day, but growing alongside somebody else means putting in double the hard work. Romantic relationships are one of life’s most beautiful happenings when you are with the right person.

Think of relationships like a new car; they’re super exciting and shiny on the day you pick it up, but over the years you may notice the odd thing isn’t working like it should, so you take it to the garage to get fixed. This fixture may have been faulty and didn’t fix your car like you thought it would, or maybe it set you driving off into the sunset like the good old days. As long as you are willing to put the time and effort in to make it work, you will often be rewarded with the results.

So if you’ve been with your partner for what you would consider a long time, but things are feeling a bit flat, here are 5 ways to keep your relationship alive.

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5 Things That Have Been Harder Than I Anticipated

Life has a classic way of throwing its curveballs into the mix, which we can choose to run with or kick in the opposite direction. We all cope at our own paces with our own ways and methods. I thought it would be interesting to sit and reflect on 5 things that have been harder than I thought they would be.

It’s a beautiful thing to celebrate our successes and achievements, but I am guilty of seeing the glass half empty rather than half full sometimes. Most things don’t happen the way you had planned them to and it can leave us feeling quite disappointed. I’m writing this post to share what I’ve personally found quite difficult, some may seem quite trivial and be a breeze for some – but if you can relate to any of these like me, then I hope you feel less alone!

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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Blog

Blogging has been a hobby of mine since the end of 2018, so to celebrate (somewhat), I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the things I wish I’d known before starting this writing journey. Starting Emily Gabriella has been once of the best things I’ve ever done. It took a lot of courage to start writing, let alone posting that writing for actual people to read.

I’m not an expert at all when it comes to blogging and I’m genuinely learning every day. SEO still confuses me, broken links are a mystery and DA is still confusing. But I enjoy posting what I like, when I feel like it. There are endless possibilities with blogging, and if you’re unsure whether to start one – PLEASE do! Without further ado, here are the 5 things I wish I’d known before starting a blog.

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10 Ways To Start Saving Money TODAY

Saving money is easy for some and it doesn’t take a second thought. However, for many, saving money can be a difficult task for a multitude of reasons. Salary, outgoings, commitments, unexpected expenses occur often for many people – so despite the urge and desire to save money being present, putting it into action is the hard part. It’s important to remember that any savings are good savings. It would be impossible for most of us to save £1000 overnight, it’s a gradual process and there’s nothing wrong with how you get there. Saving £1 is better than not saving £1, it all adds up.

My old money-saving-method would be to stick a few hundred away at the start of the month, which I found too difficult, so I’ve switched it up over time. I try to be as good as possible with spending throughout the month, then transfer whatever is left in my current account, into my savings. But how do you actually start saving money straight away? Here are 10 money-saving tips.

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8 Signs It’s Time To Quit Your Job

We’ve all been there. That wave of emotion that washes over us when we wake up – “I don’t want to go to work today”. This is normal and probably happens to most people on most days. However, where do we draw the line between just generally not having the get-up-and-go and genuinely dreading the day ahead; wishing you were anywhere else? That’s where today’s post comes in. From personal experience (and from a friendly recommendation to cover this topic), I wanted to compile my personal experience into one place to help you work out if it’s time to leave your current job.

We as humans are constantly changing and growing. Therefore, our surrounding environment needs to adapt with us to create a balanced lifestyle. That could mean more hours, better pay and a healthier working environment. Do you find yourself looking on Indeed “just out of curiosity”? If so, I hope this post helps you make a step in the right direction. Leaving a job should take careful consideration depending on the situation. Make sure you consider all routes before reaching your final decision.

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Chatty Tuesday: How I’m overcoming my fear of Public Speaking

Glossophobia: The fear of public speaking

Speaking in front of people. What is it about speaking in front of people that is just so overwhelmingly horrendous sometimes? I’m still on my journey to finding out. However, I am much more carefree and comfortable now at speaking in front of a small or even big group of people. So, I thought it might be helpful to share my journey from being a shakey leaf, to a much less shakey leaf (hello 10/10 description).

Speaking in front of people has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, but for a long time, it never seemed to get easier to cope with. Many of us have to speak publicly every day, primarily at school and work. It is often forced and labelled as character development, when sometimes all you want to do is stop the nervous sweats and dry throat and run away to a different country. Disclaimer: I am obviously not a professional and if you are severely affected by anxiety surrounding public speaking, please seek guidance if you are comfortable to do so.

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