7 Day Non-Fiction Book Challenge: Day 3

7 Day Non-Fiction Book Challenge: Day 3

I’m now on day 3 of the challenge I set myself to share a book that has inspired me and helped me to do better, and today’s book is “How to Own The World” by Andrew Craig.

This book was recommended to me by my ex-husband Ian some years ago, and at first I wasn’t sure if it was for me or not. Eventually I got hold of a copy and it helped me in ways I never thought possible.

I’ve always had a complicated relationship when it comes to money, and I’ve also always had problems with knowing my own worth when it comes to what to charge for my business and my services. “How to Own the World” showed me ways of how to overcome this, to invest what I do have wisely and to take control of my own destiny.

I learnt a lot from reading this book and it helped to free me from some serious and deep-rooted beliefs that I had when it came to valuing myself, my skillset and my worth.

What books have inspired you the most?

#7DayNonFictionBookChallenge
#SelfHelp
#NonFiction
#LivingMyBestLife

7 Day Non-Fiction Book Challenge: Day 2

7 Day Non-Fiction Book Challenge: Day 2

Today’s non-fiction book that has inspired me and helped me to do better is “Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business” by Gino Wickman and Mark C Winters.

The idea behind this book is that every successful business has a front line-person and one behind the scenes who is instrumental in making things happen.  According to the authors there are 2 types of people – visionaries (who have ground-breaking ideas) and integrators (who make those ideas a reality). When you get a visionary and an integrator together, great things happen. Examples of businesses where this was the case include Disney, McDonald’s and Ford.

This book resonated with me so much because through it I came to understand that I am a visionary, and my husband Russell is an integrator. I am always having new ideas for websites, business, blogs – you name it. He patiently and without question turns the ideas I have into reality.  Not only that, but he is instrumental in running our house, keeping on top of everything that needs doing and organising the household and our immediate family so that they know what they are doing and when. With my Dad being in ill health and having to have a myriad of different appointments for different conditions, Russ’s organisational skills as an integrator are very much needed.

Without an integrator, visionaries like me are far less likely to succeed long-term. This is certainly true for me, on a business/professional level and on a personal level. Equally, integrators are likely to never achieve their full potential without visionaries to help them do so.

Reading “Rocket Fuel” helped me to understand this strong dynamic that Russ and I have and learn to capitalise on it and improve it so that we both reach our full potential in every way. I could not do what I do without him, and I don’t think he could do what he does without me. We inspire each other, and we believe in each other.

What books have inspired you the most?

#7DayNonFictionBookChallenge
#SelfHelp
#NonFiction
#LivingMyBestLife

7 Day Non-Fiction Book Challenge: Day 1

7 Day Non-Fiction Book Challenge: Day 1

I’m starting a challenge to share a non-fiction book every day for the next 7 days that has inspired me, helped me to do better or helped me to learn new ideas and new ways of doing things. Today I’m starting with Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

My ex-husband Ian was the one who introduced me to the world of self-help and self-improvement when he joined Amway in the early 1990s. I didn’t approve of it hugely at the time as it is a multi-level marketing system, but what I did love was their “International Business System” learning arm (shame that it has the unfortunate abbrieviation of IBS). Through this I got access to a myriad of different books and motivational cassette tapes, and when my ex-husband first handed me a copy of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and I started reading it, I was hooked.

You can see from the photo how much I’ve read it over the years, and how dog-eared it is!

Looking back, I think the reason that this book and other books of this kind appealed to me and resonated with me so much was the fact that I am #ActaullyAutistic. Deep down I knew I was different and subconsciously I think I was searching for an explanation or answers as to why. I desperately wanted to change myself, to find ways to fit in and to be accepted by people. I now know that being “me” is far better than trying to be a “sheep” who just follows the crowd. But all the self-help books I’ve ever read hold a very special place in my heart.

My love of self-help books has never left me. I am always open to learning new things, new techniques and new ways of doing things to help me live my best life. Reading “How to Win Friends and Influence People” all those years ago was just the start.

What books have inspired you the most over the years?

#7DayBookChallenge 
#SelfHelp
#NonFiction
#LivingMyBestLife

What Comes First For You? Work….Or Family?

What Comes First For You? Work….Or Family?

This is a recent photo of me and my Dad. My Dad means absolutely everything to me and is my whole world. However, he has a myriad of health conditions that he developed nearly 2 years ago in October 2017 including epilepsy, mobility problems and he is now being assessed for possible dementia. Overnight my Dad changed from a strong and independent man who enjoyed life to having to be driven around everywhere and having so much done for him in his day to day life. Today I heard a comment that I shouldn’t put my parents first because “they won’t be around forever.” And this got me thinking.

I make no apologies for the fact that my Dad comes before EVERYTHING for me. Sometimes I am amazed that I have achieved all that I have in the last 2 years with the UK Cyber Security Association and my work in cyber security because of the amount of times I have had to put things on hold to help my Dad, or change course to be there for him. Sometimes I worry that it makes me look unreliable if I have to rearrange a meeting or if I’m not able to be at an event that I’d expressed interest in, but my Dad’s health conditions mean that I sometimes have to be called on for him at a moment’s notice.

I am very lucky to have the support of my wonderful husband who does so much for my Dad as well, and as a team i.e. me, my husband and my parents, we manage – just about! It isn’t easy to never have any stability and to never know when the next seizure will happen, or if my Dad will have a fall, or if he has to be in hospital, but we navigate all the curveballs my Dad’s health throws at us – often on an almost daily basis!

I could give up what I do work wise, and one day it may well come to that to look after my Dad, especially if he does indeed have dementia. The point of this post is to get you all to think and think hard about WHY you all do what you do. As business owners we can often work all the hours under the sun, often for no return but for great personal reward. Often this is at the detriment of your family. You miss key family events, you are often not there for your children and you don’t spend as much time as you should with your family – because business and work comes first.

Please don’t miss out on precious family moments or for being there for your family because of business or work. I’ve had so many family bereavements since 2013 that I know from bitter experience how fragile and short life is. Make the most of it, and don’t waste a second of it, but most of all, if you have a good family make the most of them NOW. You must provide for them and their future, of course you do. But don’t make work your life. Don’t regret the time you spent on your business and work that you could have spent with your family. Get the right balance that works for you.

I’ve made quite a few changes in order to spend as much time as I can with my Dad, while still trying to be as productive work wise as I can, and I will continue to do so. Your family is precious, enjoy them and make the most of them. If you don’t have a family, focus on you and what makes you happy. Life is short and time is precious. Don’t waste it. Yes your family won’t be around forever. And that is even MORE reason to be there for them while they ARE here.

If you combine work with looking after your family, especially if you have to look after elderly parents like I do, what things have you done that work for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and if the changes you have made have helped you.

My Journey Into Cyber Security – Part 5

My Journey Into Cyber Security – Part 5

What advice would I give to women who want to enter the cyber security industry?

  1. Take chances and don’t let yourself be bullied or intimidated
    This is easier said than done in such a male dominated environment, but in my experience the worst bullying I have encountered has been from other women in the industry, and not from men. Stand up for yourself, and don’t be afraid to fight for what you want.

  2. Network and find mentors
    Go to meetups and networking events and find other women who are also in the cyber security industry who you can learn from. I did this hugely in my early days in the industry and I still do it today, and I count Professor Sue Black and Dr Emma Philpott MBE as two of my biggest inspirations in the tech and cyber security industries.
  3. Look for opportunities on an internal basis first
    The best place to start looking for opportunities in the cyber security industry is within your current organisation, so liaise with your own security team. There is often a myriad of opportunities in areas such as training, program management, incident response, cyber security and tech writing and cyber security awareness and training.
  4. Be confident
    This is often easier said than done and most women will find this difficult regardless of what industry they are in, and especially if they are feeling ignored, ostracised or outnumbered by their male counterparts. Speak and act decisively, even if you don’t feel that way.
  5. Learn, learn….and learn some more!
    Cyber security, as with any career, is a constant learning journey. Every day there are new challenges and new threats to overcome, and there is room in the industry for managers, generalists and for those who have deep technical expertise.

Finally……

My story is not over yet. I still have much I want to do and accomplish in the cyber security industry. I have many more people, businesses and organisations to reach in order to raise awareness of the growing cyber threat and why they should take cyber security more seriously.

If I can do it, anyone can do it. Never give up, never surrender…and in the words of the great British actor Brian Blessed, “Follow your dreams, and don’t let the b****rds grind you down.”

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