What I’ve learned in lockdown

Over the past year of lockdown I have learned a lot – and not only that I am able to work exclusively from home. Believe me, it was tough at the start because I’m so used to flying around the world to speak at conferences.

I love to meet people face to face and enjoy sitting chatting to people over dinner. I have had the privilege of encouraging people as we’ve dined, especially to write books about their experience in business or wider life.

Sadly, it is something I have not been able to do for more than 12 months. While it is hardly a major sacrifice compared to those on the frontline of the NHS, it was a huge challenge adapting.

Knowing that I would miss meeting people physically, I considered how Relationology could continue to work using video conferencing. Over the past year, my life has moved from airports and hotels to my garden studio and Zoom!

I spend hours talking to people through video conferencing, and while it’s not quite the same as meeting while savouring beef bourguignon, it has been a surprisingly useful substitute.

Encouraging others

Within a month of the first lockdown, I launched a course to help people set and achieve business goals in 100 days. The first cohort who took part in that Mastermind enjoyed the experience so much I felt encouraged to do it again. Since then, almost 50 people have been part of the course.

I love to encourage people and help them achieve goals through coaching individually and also using inspiration from others in a group.

As Relationology has moved and grown online, I decided to launch a Writing My Book course. I admit that I wasn’t sure how this would work. Previously, I have encouraged people on a one to one basis, so moving my expertise online was a bit unnerving.

As it happens, it has shown me that often in life you have to take a step of faith. When I decided that the 100-day model could work, I wasn’t sure how likely the first cohort would achieve it as it requires dedication.

I’m delighted to report that it not only worked, many of those fantastic participants have manuscripts that are complete or very close to completion. They’re a tremendous group of people from across the world: from the UK to Australia!

Writing My Book has been so successful, I’m running two courses this April so that people from even more timezones can join in. One course has only a couple of places left.

Nervous and exciting

One of those taking part on the first course is Madz Deyzel, whose enterprise offers counselling for those struggling with mental health issues. With 16 years of experience, she wanted to share her knowledge in a book.

“I had been toying with the idea of writing a book for 3 years,” says Madz. “What has held me back was thinking I could not do it! I had no idea where to start and I am not very academic. I did not do very well at school and have elements of dyslexia, but I was encouraged as Matt has dyslexia.

“Before the course began, I had fear that writing books was just for academics and not ordinary people like me. I have learned that it is not about academic skill, you just need a passion and a heart’s desire.”

As well as unearthing skills Madz didn’t recognise, she was encouraged by the advice – particularly when finding time to write. As a busy mum of two young sons with a successful enterprise, it could have been difficult.

She says, “What I learned is you need to choose when you are most alert and stay focused. Put your writing time in your diary so that when life fills up it doesn’t take that space. I put my laptop and phone on airplane mode and sit somewhere that is inspirational.”

Whenever I work with people I get a real buzz when someone reaches a goal they thought was unachievable. So when Madz said it was so encouraging that she’s already planning a second book, I felt a real sense of achievement for both of us.

“I am pleasantly surprised at how easy the journey has been,” says Madz. “You go in really apprehensively, but Matt has broken the steps down so well. Over the weeks I got to the point of thinking, ‘This isn’t as scary as I thought it would be.’”

It has been such a pleasure leading the first course and I am delighted that I am able to use my experience to help other budding authors. I’d like to encourage you to look at using your skills and knowledge to transform your business.

If you are interested in writing a book and feel overwhelmed, I hope Madz’s words have encouraged you to feel like it’s not beyond your grasp. My next Writing My Book courses soon and spaces are limited, so book soon via the website.

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