Welcome back to Positively Inspiring!
I’ve been blessed to meet so many amazing, inspiring people and in this series I’m sharing the lessons that they’ve learned about happiness and positivity – let’s bring on the inspiration!
Today I’m so delighted to welcome Jo Soley – Your Brilliant Business Angel.
Jo Soley is an experienced Marketing Coach with 22 years marketing and business development experience with a proven track record. Combining her experience in the business and personal development sectors, Jo’s approach supports female business owners to achieve results that are achievable and sustainable. With a focus on simple yet effective strategic and tactical marketing solutions she helps them attract a consistent flow of ideal clients creating long-term financial results in their business.
You can contact Jo via her website: JoSoley.com, follow her blog and catch her latest news on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Jo, you are such a positive person! But who do YOU find most inspiring for their positive attitude and outlook on their life / business?
Cliché but I’m going to say it anyway – Oprah Winfrey. Her story, her vision, her mission, her reach. For me Oprah is a creative force in personal development specialising in the human heart and soul. She literally champions living the life you desire but embodying true leadership. Oprah has made history with a legendary talk show (the highest-rated program of its kind), launched her own television network, become the nation’s only African-American billionaire, and been awarded both an honorary degree by Harvard University and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
I was given her book by a client, ‘What do you know for sure?’. In 1998 Oprah had been promoting the movie ‘Beloved’ in a live television interview with the late film critic Gene Siskel and he asked her to tell him what she knew for sure? Now Oprah has been asked a lot of questions over the years and not often is she at a complete loss for words, but she was stopped in her tracks. This then became the central question of her life and from that day explored the question in every issue of O magazine. From all her experiences, she has gleaned life lessons and put these thoughtful gems in a book packed with insight and revelation.
For me it’s a source of inspiration. Oprah takes joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity, and power. The extracts give a rare, powerful and intimate glimpse into the heart and mind of one of the world’s most extraordinary women and at the same time doing what Oprah does best, giving a guide to becoming our best selves. She is candid, moving, exhilarating, uplifting, and funny.
Positive? Yes, it is – however there isn’t a rainbow without rain and this is what Oprah gets across in this book, on YouTube, on her channel – in every message that she shares. That you grow through the tougher times, that you are the master of your own destiny, that if you want changes in your life you are the one to make them happen.
Originally named as Orpah, the family and people around her often addressed her as Oprah, so she went on to use this name. She was nurtured by her paternal grandmother after her parents decided to have a separation. Living at her grandmother’s farm in rural Mississippi, she learned to read and practiced recitations at the age of 3. Her serene life became miserable after she moved to her mother’s home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1960. Because of her mother’s lack of affection and attention, she turned into a wild girl who was involved in drugs while also suffered sexual harassment. In 1968, she lost her premature baby who died shortly after being born. Her mother then sent her to Nashville, Tennessee to be put under strict rules and high standards of her father. Despite being an austere man, her father actually taught her to be a discipline and purposeful person. “As strict as he was,” she recalled, “he had some concerns about me making the best of my life, and would not accept anything less than what he thought was my best.”
What would you say is the most important lesson you’ve learned about happiness or staying positive?
In July 2005, I was working for the Tour Operator, MyTravel as a Financial Trading Controller in the busy resort of Sharm El Sheik. On the Friday 22nd July, I took myself to Sharm’s International Airport as was taking a flight back to the UK to attend a wedding, a funeral and my Grandmothers 86th birthday. In those days’ resort staff, could take one of the jump seats on the aircraft, however the plane had gone technical (on board issues), which meant the crew had gone out of hours so the plane was delayed.
The other members of the management team were in the resort of Hurghada, a 1.5-hour journey by ferry at a conference. So I had a nice Mexican meal with a few of my team members and settled down for the evening with a plan to go back to the airport the next day to try my luck on another plane. I hadn’t had a day off since arriving in the resort in April as for MyTravel Egypt was a high-profile resort with 5 gateways, 7 airport days, 1700 arrivals and 88 hotels! so was looking forward to a break.
Working in Arabic countries is always a challenge, especially as a woman! The agent had a habit of ringing me all hours of the night asking irrelevant questions, so I remember charging my phone in the lounge of my apartment so not to be disturbed.
My phone rang a few times at 1am, eventually it woke me up. I saw a few missed calls from the administrator who worked for me with a text saying, ‘Have you heard?’ I tried to call her back but the phone lines were down, I do remember looking outside and thinking maybe something nuclear had happened!
I then received a phone call from the resort manager, he explained that there had been a bomb attack on Sharm El Sheik and one of our hotels had been targeted. As the only manager in resort I was required to go to the office and contact the UK duty office and open an incident control room.
As I walked into the office early that morning I remember it was all so surreal. All I knew that this stage was that a bomb had gone off, one of our hotels, The Gazala Gardens. A suicide bomber had driven his car through the glass reception doors into the lobby and bar and then detonated a bomb killing himself and guests of the hotel. I remember bright lights, bodies, glass but feeling very focused and calm with a huge sense of purpose to make sure everyone was OK. The fight aspect of fight or flight I suppose.
There was 1718 people staying in the resort of Sharm El Sheik and my job was to ensure everyone was safe. I called the reps into the office, printed off the pax in resort sheets by hotel and sent the reps to the hotels to find our guests. I asked the reps to make sure that they saw everyone and then mark them off the list, not just taking Mohammed on receptions word that they had seen Mr Smith from room 104 at 10pm, physically knocking on doors and making sure that everyone was there. Everyone was assigned a role, some of the resort staff were sent to the morgue and the hospital and to assist at the affected hotel.
The focus was to keep the UK team updated on developments via conference calls, the press informed (to a point!), to make a call on how many rescue flights were needed to send everyone home and ensure all families in resort were safe and had their needs met including food, shelter and temporary passports if required.
Through team work, diligence and duty of care, In the next few hours the 1718 people became 26 missing and eventually 9 which were the number of fatalities.
Ok so a big day. A big event and one that is etched on my mind forever so why am I telling you this. What’s the positivity link?
Here within lies the message. On that day, I saw something in the human race that I had never seen before. The way we pull together in a crisis. The fact the resort team wouldn’t leave the office as they wanted to support each other. The number of directors and managers from other countries who came over from other countries to help us. The Egyptian community apologising for their mankind and sending their love. The UK HR team calling our parents before they woke up and switched the news on to say we were safe. There was a real sense of team work and comradery which can get lost in the day to day of our lives.
That day many people did lose their lives. I remember the song lyrics ‘Only the good die young’ and tried to apply this as some of the people we lost were in their teens. For me, it was the realisation that specific areas that were targeted were in locations that the week before I was in. I had dinner at Gazala Gardens, I was in Sharm’s Old Town and I was drinking in the Captains Tavern. A week on, who knew what may have happened? It obviously wasn’t my time. God had a bigger plan for me, a purpose and I had job sheet from heaven that was my duty to fulfil!
We all have days that don’t go according to plan! What are your top tips for staying positive when you have one of those days?
First we need to remember we are all human and acknowledge that sometimes things get messy. You can’t see the stars without the black sky. And know this is OK as its where we grow. However, there is a difference between dark periods in life that we go through as they make us a stronger person and generally feeling low and changing your state.
A tool box I use to change my state is:
- Morning exercise – yoga works for me – choose what works for you
- Meditation and mindfulness
- A gratitude practice – being grateful for what we have is a powerful state as like attracts like
- Drinking plenty of water and eating nourishing food – eliminating sugar, wheat, caffeine and dairy has been a huge part of my healing journey
- Watching your self-talk. Would you speak to someone else the way you are speaking to yourself? If not stop!
- Imagine you have a first-class carriage of success. Who is in yours? Then let these people support you as you do them. I learnt you don’t have to tell everybody everything – it’s not their business! But if you do have a handful of people you support then that works all round.
- The problem is not the problem. The reaction to the problem is the problem.
If you have an issue, try and walk away and not instantly react and think it through that’s the best way.
- Switching everything off – all devices and go off grid for a bit
- Upping the self-care – reading a good book, having coffee with a friend, a bubble bath
- Think – is this going to matter in 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 months, 5 years? Probably not!
What’s your favourite quote about happiness or staying positive?
Finally Jo, what does happiness mean for you?
To me it’s when what I think, what I say and what I do is in harmony. That’s alignment. Happiness is about being in flow, in tune with your own story.
When you put your head on the pillow at night knowing that you acted with integrity and authenticity during your day with the best intent for everyone involved but most importantly honouring yourself in the process.
I say that with experience as a recovering people pleaser!
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