Looking on the world with Gratitude. How to just stand still and say ‘thank you’ when times are tough.


Given the horrors of recent events in on our European doorstep in Nice and Turkey, and the uncertainty felt by many in the wake of Brexit and a country in new hands, it can be easy for this to be an overwhelmingly unsettling time. Suddenly we are watching the news 24/7, we are thinking twice before holidaying abroad, looking at every passing lorry with wary suspicion. We are putting ourselves on a state of high alert.

So how do we stand tall and resilient in the face of it all and make sure that we don’t take the weight of the world on our own shoulders? We take a moment to stand still and say ‘thank you’. Yes, you heard it – ‘thank you’.

No matter how dark the world gets, we can always continue to see the colour if we choose to. On a smaller, individual, personal, intimate scale, the world immediately around us still continues to offer so much. We must choose to still see this, to still see the good in the little things, and more importantly, to acknowledge it.

Before I go to bed each night, I scribble ‘5 things to be grateful for’ on a notebook at the side of my bed. It’s amazing how many things there are even on a what seems like a bad day, and amazing how much better I sleep for acknowledging them and saying a quiet ‘thank you’ to the world.

When we look at the world from a place of gratitude it doesn’t beat us, it looks after us, it helps us win. And guaranteed there will be things in your everyday which pleasantly surprise you, make you smile, move you forwards.

What 5 things could you be grateful for today? Share some of them with me to get you started today – I would love to know what really matters to you. Write to me at www.iamstrongcoaching.co.uk/contact-us



“We believe that success is a journey that everyone should be able to travel. We show you how that journey begins, equip you with the confidence and resilience to go the distance and deliver you to your ultimate vision destination. We provide great performance coaching.” www.iamstrongcoaching.co.uk

Spread the word. Share this post!

Money and Happiness

Hello #Bedshour and Bedford folks. Now this isn’t one of my articles but I really enjoyed the read and it got me thinking.  Why do I get such a buzz from shopping and the bigger the spend the bigger the buzz? Why do some people get buyers’ remorse? What happens when we simplify our life and spend much less? When is enough money enough?!

The School of Greatness podcast by Lewis Howes is one of my favourites and I really enjoyed this article from Lewis:

Money and Happiness

Money & Happiness

How Money Affects Your Mind & Body

Would you ever guess that one of the VPs at JP Morgan Chase has also authored children’s books? Or that the same man is also a Grammy award-winning jazz album producer, and has written a book that is slated to be one of the top 15 business books coming out this year? How about that the guy who fits both of these descriptions has also traveled the world researching the origins of money and how it affects us?

Meet Kabir Sehgal. All of the above statements about him are true.

His new book, Coined, looks at the neuroscience behind our relationship with money, where it came from, and where it’s going. Even if you’re not into all that, you’ll be deeply interested when you hear Kabir explain how our brain reacts to even the touch of money. I couldn’t stop asking him questions about his research and how money affects us all.

Money’s Impact On Our Biology

Money truly has a profound impact on us. The effect money has on our biology is incredible — and it can shape our lives in ways we didn’t know. Just saying the word money can stimulate your skin, and actually touching it can numb your senses.

Money activates regions of the brain from the reward and fear centers in the exact same way as someone who is about to do a hit of cocaine. That’s a pretty powerful effect. Even the idea of gaining money is more exciting on a subconscious level than actually receiving money.

Do you know anyone that plays the lottery or gambles often? Have you ever asked them why they do? They’d probably say it’s because they might win.

That thrill from the possibility of winning comes from a cognitive bias called availability heuristics: things that are more readily available to your memory start to inflate the idea that the same thing is going to happen for you.

Money And Genetics

Our genes interact with money on a level so deep that it can affect your FICO score (which is your credit rating). That’s because there are genes that give you a predisposition to take greater or lesser risks. That means a lot of our financial decisions are made on a subconscious level.

Money is deeply evolutionary — we associate money with the ability to do… anything.

You can even test the impact money can have on people for yourself the next time you go for drinks with friends. When it comes time for you to pay for the next round of drinks just tell everyone that you’ve decided you’re not going to. Watch the reactions and energy shift — it’s amazing. You go from being a stand-up friend to the jerk who’s freeloading. Because you didn’t honor the currency — the social debt.

Money Through History

Anthropologists have gone back to look at societies and their relationship with money. Before there was physical currency, they used bartering. Even back in ancient Mesopotamia (4000 BC) there were debt and loan instruments because there has always been the need for something we don’t have (food, shelter, water, etc.).

The part of the brain that activates when money is destroyed is the same part of the brain that is involved in toolmaking. Ever heard the phrase, “Money is a tool?” It’s not an empty metaphor. There’s a neurological basis involving our reactions to money – gaining it, losing it, and seeing it destroyed or wasted – that triggers a natural response to survival.

Money And Happiness

There’s even some research done on how much money is “enough.” There’s some evidence that once you hit a certain level of income, your life doesn’t improve that much more the more you make. Once you are able to take care of your health and your stability, and the stability of your family and loved ones, the need for money should decrease.

But some peoples’ reaction and connection to money is so strong that they will go far beyond their basic necessities, working long hours and neglecting other parts of their life to achieve some sort of happiness that comes with the increase of money and the promise of more.

This is interesting because money is frequently discussed in religion in the same light. In the book of Matthew, 80% of the parables are about money. Across all the faiths there’s a different type of logic than what we act on now, and that logic is “less is more.”

It’s only in pursuing money that you realize that it’s not the end all be all. You need it to take care of yourself and your family, but as you age you learn that there is more to life.

Money is a symbol of value. It represents many different things to us. But how we react to it, how we measure our own successes and failures by our finances, is something most people don’t consider.

Take The Money Challenge:

My challenge to you is to start to really pay attention to what money does to your mind and brain. What the purchasing of items does — when you spend too much on something, when you choose not to spend on something — and how far a certain amount of money can get you.

Once you start to realize the effect money has on your life and your mind, maybe you can start to be more mindful in what you do with your money

Listen to the whole podcast here:

Lewis Howes is an online marketing expert, sought-after business coach, author, podcaster, and lifestyle entrepreneur. A former pro football player, collegiate football record holder, two-sport All-American, and current USA Men’s National Handball team member, he is the host of The School of Greatness podcast, which has been downloaded by millions since its iTunes launch in January of 2013. Howes has built multi-million dollar online education business and Details Magazine as one of “5 Internet Gurus Who Can Make You Rich.”


At I Am Strong Coaching we are here for all your personal resilience and business performance coaching needs in Bedford, London and the South East. We are out and about working with business owners, charities and talented individuals just like yourselves and even coach on the move out in the fresh air in our popular new Walk and Talk sessions. Your email to us is your first step along the journey to achievement and we love to help.



Spread the word. Share this post!

Get Your Trainers. We’re Going Manhattan!


I’ve noticed a lot of dogs getting extra walks at the end of the day round where I live and although I’d like to put it down to the longer daylight hours, I have a sneaking suspicion that by 6pm people are desperately trying to make sure they reach their daily Fitbit target. I’m impressed at the commitment to their 10,000 steps-a-day goal they are showing and reassured that there are a lot of happier, healthier dogs out there, but even more intrigued at the desire to get outside to get moving.

We are so flat out and on the go most of the time that most of our steps are taken in the office, on the stairs (when we’re not running so late we have to take the elevator) or shuttling between the car and the car park, or in the confines of the gym where we complete them on a treadmill without even going anywhere!

It is no wonder that people are so desperate to reconnect with the outside world that Fitbit has inadvertently started a ‘get-outdoors-get-moving’ revolution. And I’m starting to see the knock-on effect not just in the way the residents of Bedford are walking their dogs, but also in the way that people are doing business. Where meetings used to be huge swathes of your time that would get lost in a claustrophobic, light-starved rooms that left you struggling to keep your eyes open and devoid of all inspiration, now meetings are being seen as conversations that can be had, well, anywhere. Our time is precious and so is our wellbeing so what better way of operating then walking and talking when you get the opportunity. Only last week I had just such a meeting at the Forest of Marston Vale – heads got cleared, business got done, fresh ideas were had, moods were lifted, heart rates were elevated, dogs were walked and Fitbits were happy.

Our minds and bodies respond to being outdoors, our senses get stimulated and we come alive whatever the weather. There is something about being outside that roots us, grounds us, and reminds us what it is to be fully present in the world. We relax, we breathe more deeply, we fill our lungs, our hearts and our minds, we feed our soul. And as a result, we are able to think more clearly, allow ourselves to be inspired more creatively, spend time thinking, talking and dreaming without distraction. All of this lends itself to clients now also wanting coaching sessions outdoors and on the move – something which I believe in wholeheartedly as when the mind and body are synchronous, the results you can achieve are unbelievably powerful.

So kick off your work shoes, swap them for your trainers – the more brightly-coloured, the better. And work your mind, your body (and your Fitbit). Not only will you be getting the results you want faster, you will feel energised, motivated and a deep sense of achievement. The ‘Manhattan’ look of trainers on the end of your suit or office attire will become stylishly normal as you power through your coaching session while ‘changing up’ both your environment and your thinking. Get your trainers – we’re going Manhattan!


I’m currently offering a limited number of walk-and-talk #PowerHour coaching sessions at a discounted rate of £25 to my readers – just head to my website to book using discount code PHWT25.

Have a good weekend!



What we do

I Am Strong Coaching provides bespoke personal and business performance coaching in Bedford, London and the South East to support talented individuals, executives and business owners to move up a gear when they need it most. As a specialist service, we also support military leavers with cv refining, cover letter writing, interview technique and business start-up to set them on their way for a strong second career. We have a range of coaching packages on offer on our I Am Strong Coaching website, spanning confidence, change and military transition as well as business start-up and performance.



Spread the word. Share this post!

Hey There! It’s Hannah from Daisy Media Here!

Daisy Media

Hi I’m Hannah aka Daisy Media and I’ve been self-employed for the last two and a bit years but it didn’t really start there. I graduated university in 2007 with a degree in Performing Arts and Plan A was to go back to university to do a PGCE to become a Primary School teacher. Around this point Plan B kicked in for various reasons and I spent the next six years working for different companies, this was usually in customer service or administration as that was where I had my experience.

By May 2012 I had left the post I had spent about five years in and had started looking for something else. I started working as a temp doing data entry tasks. I didn’t expect to stay more than six months and figured that it would work while I looked for something else. As it happened during my training, the guy who would be my team manager got people to raise their hands depending on their level of skill when it came to Excel. Thanks to bits that my Dad has taught me or I have learnt over the years, I still had my hand up even when my manager was asking about VLOOKUPs and HLOOKUPs. I ended up staying for just over a year and ended up working on spreadsheets rather than the data entry tasks that I had been originally employed for.

In October 2013, I found out that I was pregnant and with that came thoughts about what I was going to once baby had arrived and I had finished my Maternity Leave. I clearly didn’t really want to have to start thinking about it before I needed to but if I was going to need to go back to a full time job then I needed to start saving up for childcare.

I went onto maternity leave at the beginning of May 2014, I had been running my own personal blog for a number of years so worked on that as well as crocheting various projects while I started mulling over the idea – what if I did the thing that scared me every time I thought about it and became my own boss. I could work during nap times at least to start with then in evenings if needed.

So the rest is history as they say, the end of my maternity leave came and went and I got all registered officially as self-employed. Something about it was kind of scary. Each time it had crossed my mind to go self-employed when I was in full time employment, it was very scary and felt like it would be a jumping out of a plane without a parachute kind of situation.

Thankfully I had my husband and parents on my side to be my cheerleaders when I questioned my sanity!

Along the line Daisy Media was formed, at first it was mainly by word of mouth. I had intended to work with local companies and just see how it went. I was then approached by a friend of mine who lives in the West Midlands about taking over from her with one of her clients. Her client was based in London.

So what does Daisy Media do?

Well all sorts. I started with the intention it would be social media management and admin tasks as needed. I have been in business around a year and I’ve done some basic web design and content managment along the way too and I have completed my first “from scratch” website in the last couple of weeks although it’s still being tweaked as we get it right. I’ve collaborated with another local small business to create a website for a local church and hope to get collaborating with more BedsHour people over the next year.

Somewhere along the line I found BedsHour and it was just what I needed, with having a small child in tow during week days networking can be a real challenge so BedsHour gave me opportunity to network while breastfeeding sat on my sofa in the early days and now that I have an almost two year old I can network from my computer while my toddler sleeps upstairs. I don’t need to find a babysitter!

The social side of me loves organising the tweetups – even if it’s just an informal one drinking coffee in the Pavilion in the Park or invading a coffee shop in town.

But what about me personally?

I turned 30 at the end of April 2016, I’m a wife as well as foster carer and Mum. I love blogging, crocheting and watching more TV than is good for me! I am a bit of a Netflix addict and probably need some kind of therapy! Since April I’ve been regularly attending ParkRun although running is still a bit of a crazy activity for me to even consider doing! I’m just about sub-50 if I get a shimmy on but my record is around 43 minutes and I’m not quite sure how I ever achieved that!

Favourite Colour: Green – racing or aqua green not lime green!
Favourite Song: Layla by Eric Claption or Raggedy Doll by Philippa Hanna
Favourite Film: The American President (it’s all about that French bit at the ambassador’s reception and that speech at the end!)

Spread the word. Share this post!

Why you should prepare your business for the unexpected


For anyone running a business, planning is a vital part of making it work. We make sure orders are placed in time, that our tweets and emails reach the right people, that there are enough teabags in the cupboard to keep us fuelled!

To help us plan, we make assumptions about what will happen next week, next month, next year. This many customers, that many events, this much training for our staff, and so on. However, sometimes our assumptions don’t match reality, and we need to adjust our plans to take account of more customers than we expected, more deliveries to make, more tweets to send. With proper planning, it is easy to tweak our plans to take account of these unexpected changes to our assumptions.


We also make a lot of assumptions about the systems, infrastructure and people that our businesses rely on. We assume that the lights will stay on, our IT will work, our staff will be able to make it to the office and that our suppliers will be able to deliver what they say, when they say they will.

Just like our day to day planning though, sometimes reality doesn’t match our assumptions when it comes to the people and things we rely on for our business. Our power supply fails, severe weather stops our staff getting to work, a water pipe bursts in our warehouse damaging stock to name a few potential unexpected problems.

It is estimated that 20% of small businesses will experience a major disruption each year, with between 10 and 25% of those never recovering.

However, it is possible to plan for these emergencies and unexpected events and give your business the best possible chance of surviving and thriving through any disruption.

At Black Dog Crisis Management, we specialise in helping businesses prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies of all shapes and sizes.

Our approach is to work with you to understand your business and your team, and to help you develop the capabilities you need to put in place measures that will make your business stronger in the face of disruption.

So if you want to ensure your business is ready to face the unexpected – or you want to know more about what we do and how we do it, then get in touch with our friendly team today.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Rob Doran


Black Dog Crisis Management




07824 807617


Spread the word. Share this post!

Bedford College Art & Design Exhibition 2016

Bedford College Art & Design Exhibition 2016Hello, I’m Emma (@emmalemoni), a student on the 2nd year HND Graphic Design course at Bedford College, posting on behalf of the group. We will be displaying our work at the Southbank Arts Centre, along with other exhibitors and we would love it if you could come along!

The students on the HND Graphics course have been winning awards year after year for the outstanding work produced, last year we won a total of 6 YCN Awards and 2 this year. The majority of students are staying on to complete a degree, but would welcome the opportunity of work experience, internships or even a portfolio review.

The event begins on the 17th June from 9.00am – 6.00pm for a Private View (feel free to contact myself or the College to ask for an invitation!) and is open thereafter to the public from the 20th – 24th June (9.00am – 5.00pm).

The Exhibition will be held at the South Bank Arts Centre, Cauldwell St, Bedford, MK42 9AH on the Bedford College grounds. You can’t miss it, there is a giant sign hanging outside the building!

Telephone Bedford College on 01234 291000 for more information.

Alternatively you are welcome to contact me via email on hello@emmalemon.co.uk or on Twitter.

Spread the word. Share this post!

I Am Strong Bespoke Personal and Business Performance Coaching – Bedford, London and the South East


What we do

I Am Strong Coaching provides bespoke personal and business performance coaching in Bedford, London and the South East to support talented individuals, executives and business owners to move up a gear when they need it most. As a specialist service, we also support military leavers with cv refining, cover letter writing, interview technique and business start-up to set them on their way for a strong second career. We have a range of coaching packages on offer on our I Am Strong Coaching website, spanning confidence, change and military transition as well as business start-up and performance.

A bit about me

I joined the Army rather spontaneously after graduating from university with a literature degree and a lot more rowing than reading hours under my belt. Leaving the Army eight years later, after living and working overseas, was an even bigger change. My background is almost entirely international and with that has come constant upheaval, flux and uncertainty as well as exploration, diversity and experience. I have spent long periods living in France and Germany and have worked extensively in Eastern Europe, India, Iraq, Kuwait, Mexico and Scandinavia. In any job that I have had, from being an Officer in the Army on war-fighting operations, to business development in the world of airline retail, to managing a £10m international development programme in India, I have always needed to achieve results and I firmly believe that success is all about momentum with a dash of confidence thrown in.

When I’m not coaching, I’m out walking Merlin my mischievous Rhodesian Ridgeback and exploring new parts of Bedford and the surrounding countryside. An Essex girl originally, I moved here two and a half years ago – another somewhat spontaneous decision while on a high having just finished a race at Bedford Regatta one sunny afternoon in 2013. Needless to say, I threw myself into life at Star Rowing Club as soon as I landed here.

The vision

The vision is to grow I Am Strong into a diverse hub of coaches and mentors, reaching out with bespoke coaching for both individuals and businesses and assisting others to focus, to achieve, to grow, to thrive, to prosper and to see a significant return on their investment. The journey has begun as we start to work with carefully-selected associates allowing us to leverage in the arenas of personal branding, psychological profiling, public speaking and leadership. We look forward to being able to support military leavers through a network of I Am Strong franchised coaches. A long way to go and a lot of hard work yet!

How are we relevant to you?

Coaching is an incredibly powerful, yet still reasonably well-kept, secret. All top athletes have a coach; the majority of top leaders, businessmen and entrepreneurs will also have a coach. Why? Because where focus goes, energy flows. And a coach will take you further than you can get on your own by growing your self-belief, your self-knowledge and by holding you accountable to achieving the targets you set. A good coach will help you to change the way you think, change the way you see the world, and change the way you feel. A coach is your secret weapon, your edge over your competitors, helping you to think strategically, to explode ideas and lift you up and out of the daily doing. A coach will help you to:

  • Get clear about your goal
  • Identify blind spots
  • Be accountable
  • Focus on what is really important
  • Gain a competitive advantage
  • Develop powerful leadership skills
  • Increase engagement with the things that really matter to you
  • Feel happier and more grounded


It is important to see coaching as an investment, and not an expense. Invest in yourself, your people and your business and they will invest in you. Get smart, Get Confident, Go beyond.

Supporting the #BedsHour Community

We do as much work as possible with local businesses and would like to thank the following for their recent, fun and hugely productive collaborations:


If you think there might be a way we can help you or your business then please get in touch – we are on twitter @iamstrongcoach or you can reach me sarah@strongcoaching.co.uk.

It all starts with a coffee. And sometimes cake.

embank coaching photo

Spread the word. Share this post!

Hello to all at #Bedshour from @LindaOfficeVA (Virtual Assistant)

Hi I’m Linda.  A Virtual Assistant working with small business owners doing routine tasks that they don’t know how to do, don’t like doing, or don’t want to do.  Which means they’re free to get on with what they do best – their core business.

After more than 25 years in the corporate world, I decided it was time to go it alone.  I work from my own home office in Barton Le Clay, helping make my clients more productive by doing their time-consuming routine tasks.  And, as they earn/charge more per hour than I do, then they’re making money at the same time.

When you use a Virtual Assistant, you don’t have to worry about the costs and practicalities of employing someone.  I offer a pay-as-you-go, flexible service, doing ad-hoc tasks or providing regular weekly or monthly support, and my clients only pay me for the time they use.

I stumbled across #Bedshour purely by chance just after setting up my business.  I never knew there was such a diverse and talented group of people right on my doorstep.  I make sure now to join in with the chat on a Monday evening.  It’s a fabulous group, everyone really helps and supports each other.  Sometimes, there’s even a bit of business done too!

Many thanks to Paul @White Label Dev for inviting me to tell you a bit about myself on the new #Bedshour website.


Spread the word. Share this post!