I’ve been a business mentor for many years.

Shaun invited me to add some of my thoughts to the Thompson Balch website and I am delighted to do so and meet you all.  So who is this woman with the funny name and what is her take on the world? I trade as Elizabeth Toogood Insightful Business Mentor but what does that mean?

I am a businesswoman of mature years – well old really! I have been working for over 50 years having started at 12 with my mother in her wine shop. My career proper began in road transport and has spanned retail, motor retailing and consulting in both big limited companies, privately owned businesses and my own businesses. If you want to know more then get in touch and I will tell you some of the stories of crises, chutzpah, strikes and serendipitous events. I am now a business mentor helping people develop their enterprises effectively to deliver whatever outcomes they aim for.

My shorthand is this “ Helping you and your business grow. Together we find your focus and craft the plan to build your success. Together we’ll create your legend, we’ll make it a reality”.

Of course, this is different depending on the circumstances but let’s unpick this.

01234 273644 / 07968 822275

[email protected]


Avoid the Storm

It is December.
Black Friday is over, thank goodness, though parcels are still being delivered.
It is cold and it is stormy. Storm Arwen has caused havoc. People are sitting in Cumbrian houses with no electricity looking at snow. Some of the trees still have beautifully coloured leaves but mostly they are in heaps around us or blowing into the house. We are de-icing cars. People are wondering how it can be December already. As usual we are revving up for Christmas but also a bit concerned about the Omicron variant and whether it might restrict travel later in the month. Some people are already wondering how they will get it all done in time.

So what does it make me think of this December of 2021?
It is a strange month for all of us. I hate the pressure we put on ourselves. I hate the moaning about time going too quickly. I hate the fact we have no time for excited children.
We are tidying the year away both at home and at work. There are too many lists and not enough time. Other people seem so much better organised than we are – my first Christmas card arrived on 15 November (no, that is not a misprint and it came from Australia so goodness knows when it was written!). I had not even thought about the Christmas list, never mind bought the cards or started writing them. Suddenly there is pressure.
Other people ae making all sorts of demands because they want to complete their To Do lists before the year end. And we are putting pressure on ourselves because we want to go into Christmas time with a clear desk.
It is all about pressure and much of it is self-generated.

I want to suggest that you think about December differently. An alternative mindset might help. Try these ideas for size:

  • December is a month like any other. You can make it whatever you want. It could be a joyous month if you choose to make it so.
  • You can achieve as much work in it as at any other time provided you stay focused.
  • The world will not implode on 25 December – there is life afterwards.
  • You might even achieve more because people are off doing other things rather than hassling you.
  • Anticipating fun is often better than trying to manufacture fun through the whole month.
  • If we look forward to Christmas rather than dreading it all we will be happier.
  • Everyone is under pressure – we all have 168 hours in the week. We waste the ones we use to moan.
  • We do not need to join in with organised fun or wear Christmas jumpers or hats or play Christmas carols on repeat. It is not because we are party poopers but because we want to savour genuine fun at the right time, with the right people.
  • If we like turkey or mince pies we can eat them all month or save them for the holiday. We do not have to start eating now and chump away all month moaning about our waistlines.
  • We can be realistic about what we can do and make a list of what can wait, what we will do in January.

So if we have a more positive mindset how can we use December?

It starts with how much time away from your desk are you going to have? This dictates the amount of time you will have to relax and your subconscious will be able to mull over the future. Will you stop on Friday 17 December? Or work into the following week? Bearing in mind the schools seem to be going back around 4 January an earlier break might be better. Only you know how tough 2021 has been for you, how much R&R you need and how much family time you should plan for.
December brings an end to a financial quarter and possibly a financial year for some so we need to keep an eye on our figures. Have you done your out-turn? So much better to do it ahead of time. If there is a nasty shock you can absorb it but if it is a pleasant surprise why not start enjoying it now.
Are you thinking about your 2022 plans? If you use December to assemble your ideas you can let your subconscious and conscious minds play with them during the break then land at a run in January.
The Christmas break always focuses on 25 and 26 December and 31 December and 1 January. We forget just how the pressure lifts and we can enjoy the casual, unstructured days in between. The UK shuts down, we can slow down, relax, get out into the fresh air or just do nothing demanding.
So this year why not use December differently and start 2022 feeling so much better?

If as you read this it resonates with you then please take time to live actively in December and not be dragged along by the crowd; if you like my ideas and values; if you want to develop your business or yourself; then please give me a call. I love speaking with people, off the meter, to help them explore possibilities and whether/how to take them forward. If you want an objective view of how things are in your business pick up the phone now and let’s have a chat.
And have a very merry Christmas and may 2022 bring you many good things.

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