At the start of every year I, like many others, review the past 12 months and wonder what the next year will bring. Some of us might hope 2015 will be luckier, happier, less problematic. Others who have enjoyed the best year of their lives will hope their good fortune will continue.

As far as I am concerned 2014 was a mixture – some good things, some bad. Mostly the bad things were related to ill-health  and advancing years and as such were nothing I could change. – but the good things were those I made sure I snatched with both hands and did my best to hang on to either as a continuing blessing or as a memory . Most of the bad things I did not allow to remain even in my memory bank. To use computer speak I deleted them in the same way as I empty my trash bin. Gone for ever. No use pondering on why people respond to our suggestions in the way they do. No use castigating ourselves as to why people do not like us. Just be yourself, it really does not matter if people do not like you as long as you like and respect yourself.

Only ask yourself if there is a reason for their reactions. Is there anything we can do to change them. If we feel sure in ourselves that our stance is correct accept there is nothing we can do. Put the problem in the trash bin. Eliminate it from our memory bank. Leave space for the good things in life.

Many years ago I published an article entitled ‘Clean Out Your Attic.’ This advised readers to examine all the trash we keep in our attics – our brains, our memory bank. It is good to hang on to happy memories, those which make us feel good. Likewise it is important that we clear out those memories which bring with them unhappiness. Do we really need to think about those events which made us feel less than positive? Those imagined slights we suffered at the hands of others? Those conversations which left us feeling downtrodden or less positive.

Those memories I allow to remain are only the ones that I see as having  a silver lining. I have deleted all those irritations I experienced when my mobility scooter was blocked as I tried to negotiate my way along pavements where vehicles parked illegally.  I have deleted from memory thoughtless remarks people addressed to me and all the dreadful traffic holdups caused by the multitude of road works surrounding my home. I have stopped thinking about the hurts I suffered in the past; the people who let me down,

I have retained those memories of time spent with friends and family. Time spent in happy get-togethers, superb restaurant meals, holidays in UK and France. I think I have ‘Cleared out my attic’ and am feeling happier and healthier for it.


Here we go, better late than never. Happy 2015 to everyone. I have not been idle since the 1st of January but have been taking time out to learn a new computer programme to aid my writing – Scripter – which I feel sure will prove tremendously useful once I have mastered it. At the moment it is still something of a mystery and taking up too much of my time. 

 Additionally I have spent time in dreaming about what I would like to achieve during this coming twelve months, something I have enjoyed doing at the start of every new year since my early days. I write these objectives down and whilst I say dreaming I actually mean meditating because these objectives have to match what I really want from the rest of my life however long or short this may be.

Many moons ago, when I managed my own consultancy, Kay Smith Associates, and at the same time setting up Women in Enterprise a charitable organisation, I worked with large and small companies and those just hoping to set out. All had similar dreams. How could they achieve success? All set out business plans in writing and many which could be further expressed passionately in words. But those who succeeded in the end were those who TURNED WORDS INTO ACTIONS.

Okay we are probably not setting up a new business though we may be attempting to run one. Nevertheless we can still set out objectives because in many ways life is very much akin to a business.

We need to passionately desire to succeed in something – even if it is to merely live life to the full as much as we are able whilst taking account of our mental and physical abilities. Maybe we need to make contact with other people rather than waiting for them to come to us. Maybe we need to take up a new hobby rather than sitting at home counting the tiles on the kitchen wall. Maybe …….it will be different for everyone.

During those years when I was running courses in Management Development I quickly began to realise many of the changes my trainees needed to make were, in fact, based in personal development rather than management techniques. What I am saying here is that they needed to learn how to manage themselves as well as the business. They needed to realise that the uppermost challenge in their lives was to take responsibility for themselves.

Even after all these years – at the age of eighty-two – I am still searching for means to improve myself and in doing so to improve my life. I am registered disabled but this does not prevent me from making the most of every hour in every day. I don’t believe I am exceptional in this as I see excellent role models around me every where I look. I would advise others who are taking the path of personal responsibility to similarly become more aware of the lessons others can teach them.

I have had many people whose advise has helped me along the way even though sometimes they had not realised they were doing so.

At school my biology teacher whose calm and un-flustered approach to dealing with a group of unruly students ensured they achieved top marks in her subject. She did not try to control even the most difficult but sought to understand what made them behave in such a manner by letting them know she understood their frustrations. When she left she was replaced by a teacher who sought to dominate everyone by seeming to accept it was sufficient to utilise what power she felt her status bestowed upon her. Marks dropped

I have met managers in many companies who use this approach; trying to intimidate their juniors and then wondering why they do not work as hard as they felt they should.

I learned from Stan Lloyd and Stan Dollimore, both artists, that to succeed you do not have to consider what other people think about you even when your dreams might seem to others to be unachievable. If you aim for the mountain top and get only half way you will at least have a better view than if you had stayed in the valley below. And just think of all lessons you will have learned on the way.

My advice to anyone seeing to achieve anything in their life is to study the methods and beliefs of people they admire. Look at their personalities and the way in which they treat others. I doubt any of us would wish to succeed at a cost to others.

At least I would hope so. What is that ancient saying? Do as you would be done by. It is still relevant today.

Even though I am no longer running courses aimed at personal development I still try to keep up to date with new ideas and developments and constantly try to utilise these in my own development. In earlier years it was Dale Carnegie and Tony Buzan whose books stimulated my thoughts. Then came Cary Cooper who seemed to hit the nail on the head. He once gave me good advice though he was talking about how he went about publicising a new book. It seemed to me that the idea could equally apply to how to we approach any project in life. First dream, then tell someone else of what you are going to do to achieve it. Later tell them how you are getting on with it and keep them updated on your progress. Eventually, when you achieve that dream tell the world – but not in a boastful way – and do not rest on your laurels. Dreams we share with others are more likely to be achieved than those we keep locked away as ‘maybe I could’ in our own minds.

So what are my major dreams this year? I will finish the book I am currently writing and it will be printed. Also I will a complete a couple of short stories I have been dreaming about.  And I will paint a masterpiece either in oils or in watercolours – a new medium which I am taking lessons in at the moment. And I will finalise our family tree a project which I have been working on for several years and which has progressed during last year.

What do I need to do to achieve this? I need to be more focussed, less lazy and easily diverted, and to carry on reading texts aimed at self improvement.

I would love to hear ideas from anyone who reads this about their dreams and ambitions.