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48 hours in Berlin

We all know that Berlin is famous for its creative people, culinary delights, cultural landmarks and crazy parties, but what you might not know is that Berlin is a great location for corporate events too. We recently spent some time in sunny Berlin, having a look around for some unique waterside locations that would work for anything from a product launch to a corporate dinner event, with impressive views and excellent service. Here is a snapshot of our top three:

First up on the list is Spreespeicher. This trendy venue sits right on the river Spree and offers beautiful views of the Oberbaumbrücke – a bridge connecting two former boroughs that were divided by the Berlin Wall, Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, and which has become a symbol of Berlin’s unity. The venue has natural daylight, multiple event spaces and a terrace perfect for a summer party or winter wonderland with outdoor heaters. Your guests can even arrive by boat for a truly impressive entrance!

The second venue on our list is Haus Ungarn. This edgy venue is located close to Alexanderplatz in the heart of the city, and also doubles up as a nightclub! Haus Ungarn, which translates to Hungary House, is extremely modern but with wooden touches and classic rustic Berlin charm the city is famed and adored for. This space, along with its outdoor terrace and spectacular views of the city, is a surefire way to impress your guests and leave them with long-lasting memories of your event.

Lastly, we leave you with Spindler & Klatt; a beautiful venue right on the river. This multi-floor riverside venue allows for plenty of flexibility within the space, meaning you can really pull out all the stops to impress your guests with whatever type of event you wish to put on. Like Haus Ungarn, Spindler & Klatt doubles as a club by night, and a laid-back restaurant and cocktail lounge by day. Whether you’re looking to host a relaxed dinner, a glamorous party, or a fashion show on the water, this venue has it all!

As well as checking out these impressive venues, we also spent some time sampling the local delicacies and exploring the city by scooter – we even got ourselves a bit of a tan! 48 hours in Berlin goes very fast due to the sheer number of activities and venues to keep you occupied, but we left Berlin convinced that this creative city is not just a haven for hipsters – it could be a really unique option for a corporate event or an incentives city break. With competitive prices and direct flights from nearly everywhere in the UK and Europe, the possibilities are endless in ‘the coolest city in Europe’!

We’re always on the lookout for new venues – if you’re interested in hearing more about our search, check out our latest blogs on incentives trips to the seaside, and our current favourite venues here in London.

Dinerama in daylight

May’s top 3 experiential venues

Hello everyone – us again! This week in our live experiential blog series, we are exploring our favourite unique venues for experiential events in London.

There are so many venues in and around London that are great for so many different reasons. Whether it’s an exhibition hall in the Docklands, a warehouse in Shoreditch or a hotel in Mayfair, for us, the venue is up there with the most important elements of a successful event. Of course, different events require different types of spaces. The beauty of experiential events is they can be as weird and wonderful as you like, so the more unique the better! Keep reading for our top 3 venues of the week.

  1. Dinerama

This East London gem is a former truck yard with two levels, rooftop areas (with retractable roof to help with our wonderful English weather!) and multiple different spaces to hire and transform into your own experiential activation!

Capacity: 1,000 pax

Location: Shoreditch

Close to: Shoreditch High Street and Liverpool Street stations (2 and 6 minutes respectively)

Good for: Brand launches, concept parties, brand installations, summer events, festival-type events, food-based events

Why we like it: We love the fact it’s a former truck yard – there’s something so cool about dressing up and attending an event in a space that was once used for something so completely different.

Shows the capacity of the venue with a crowd of people

  1. The Conservatory, Barbican

If you want to create your event in the jungle but don’t quite have the budget to get you there, then look no further than this tropical dream in the City. Located in the Barbican, this small but versatile venue sells itself – there’s no end to the amazing and unique events you could create here! It’s also a perfect place to come and sit if you’re at a loose end on a Sunday afternoon.

Capacity: 150 standing

Location: City of London

Close to: Barbican and Moorgate stations (6 and 7 minutes respectively)

Good for: Jungle-themed events, interactive events, product launches, intimate brand activations, unique dinner experiences

Why we like it: This jungle paradise is home to over 1,000 tropical plants and fish. The key to a great experiential event is the element of surprise – this beautiful venue will wow your attendees and is sure to leave them with a unique experience they won’t forget in a hurry!

The conservatory by night with coloured lights

  1. Garden Museum

This striking venue is a fully-functional event space while maintaining it’s artistic and historical influences within a converted church, making it an ideal location for a slightly more edgy or creative experiential event.

Capacity: 320 standing

Location: Bankside, opposite Westminster and the Houses of Parliament

Close to: Lambeth North and Vauxhall stations (11 minute and 14 minute walk respectively)

Good for: Fashion shows, car launches, product launches, interactive displays

Why we like it: This venue is really different because it’s a traditional church space mixed with beautiful gardens, giving you a sense of calm while being slap-bang in the middle of London.

Glass box view

We hope this blog has helped if you’re on the search for a unique London venue – we think these three have great potential to host some incredible experiential events!

We’re constantly on the lookout for up-and-coming venues to add to our little black book so, if you have a suggestion, please get in touch! Stay tuned for the next blog in our experiential series, which will be tackling some of the financial elements of creating an experiential event!

Celebrating who you are

Celebrate who you are being right now

Celebrate who you want to be

Celebrate your dreams

Celebrate your vulnerability

Celebrate success

Celebrate your truth

Celebrate those you look up to and model them

Celebrate the magnificent power you have within you

Celebrate the communities

Celebrate the fact that we are all here to support each other, no matter what

Celebrate knowing that all the strengths you need are already within you.

In the aftermath of International Women’s Day, we wanted to celebrate everyone in our latest wellbeing blog. Written by our resident Healing Coach, Francesca Garola, Founder of HappyBalancedLife, there is a special power to celebrating who you are…

2019 is a very special year in terms of energy and the healing that this energy can provide us. It is said to be a year of evolution, with a very strong power coming in to help us move towards a higher state of consciousness.

Let’s use this energy to increase our awareness about everything we can be for ourselves and everything we can be for other people. I cannot insist enough on the importance of contribution. There is always someone that can benefit from your help and your love. How much more awesome would it be if our change can also impact the person next to us? What if our experience and our sharing of that experience could impact someone’s life in a way you cannot even imagine?

Any impact that has been made on bigger scales, has always started in small communities. Become an advocate of your energy, your power, your truth and your acceptance.

Celebrating your feminine energy (I promise this section is not just for women!)

Feminine energy is curvy while masculine energy is about straight lines. Would you agree with me that always walking in straight lines might be a bit boring? And that being on a constant roller coaster might be draining after a while? Balance. Walk a line, make a curve, turn right, go straight, repeat. You can also include a pirouette once in a while, they’re quite fun!

  • Feminine energy is creative, masculine energy is controlling.
  • Feminine energy it is intuitive, masculine energy is logical.
  • Feminine energy is collaborative, masculine energy is competitive.
  • Feminine energy is about the journey, masculine energy is about the results.
  • Feminine energy is emotional, masculine energy is protective.

We all have feminine and masculine energy within us. To be sustainable and functional, we need both of them to be perfectly balanced. Can you see why it is so important to welcome both into your life? Eastern medicine calls it the Yin and the Yang, Hindu culture calls it the Linga and the Yoni, we could call it the moon and the sun, the ocean and the sand, the sky and the stars.

Masculine energies are primarily about doing, while feminine energies speak to being. The key is to understand when each serves us and to be able to identify if we’re out of balance and how to get back in alignment.

Life is not about who is more powerful, who is winning, who is strongest, who is better, who has the best life, who has the best idea… Life doesn’t have to be a constant competition, life doesn’t have to be a constant power battle.

As women, we’re taught to be more like men in order to be successful, we need to be strong, we need to be independent and do it all ourselves. I’m wondering, how can this be functional? How can it be functional to override our feminine energy full of curves in order to become a straight line in disguise? Do you think the curve is happy? Do you think it can express all it has to express or do you think it is more frustrated and would like to burst into a swirly confetti?

Balance. Accept that both energies have equal rights to live within you. Drop the conditioning of how things are supposed to be, drop all you have been taught. There is no better, there is no worse. There is just the road to balance.

Here are a couple of hints on how to celebrate your feminine energy. If you are a man and reading this blog, I trust you are honoring your feminine energy as much as your masculine. And why not go as far as starting to celebrate the feminine energy within you as you add in more curves into your straight lines, as you add in creativity, intuition and sit with your emotions while you experience the journey?

  1. Be in nature. Nature is life-force energy and is, at its core, the strongest representation of feminine energy. It’s the strongest representation of constant movement, infinite contribution and magnificent power. What can you learn from it?
  2. Express your creativity. Curves need to move and they need a way to express their flow. What can you do today that would allow your creative side to be able to show up?
  3. Sit with your emotions. Yeah, I know, it’s hard. It’s so much easier to push them away. There is no perfect way to do it, just do it. Whatever you resist, persist. Whatever you embrace, dissolves.
  4. Value spontaneity and play. Just have fun. Play, restore your factory settings and allow your inner child to play free and joyful. What can you do today to have fun with your inner child?
  5. What can you wear today that will allow your feminine energy to feel empowered, flowy and joyful?
  6. Celebrate the road ahead. Whatever the journey is, celebrate it. You are exactly where you are supposed to be.
  7. Give voice to the voiceless. Contribute, Educate, Share, Influence every single day, Serve the Energy of Your Soul, Be Your Own Leader, Take Action.

How are you going to use your magnificent power today? How are you going to use your personality to serve the purpose of your soul?

With love,

Francesca

PS: I would like to make one very important note as I believe too many people misunderstand this concept: feminine energy and sexual energy are two completely different. Men and women shouldn’t be afraid to embrace traits that have been pigeon-holed into a male or female category.

When did we stop communicating?

In this month’s blog our resident Healing Coach, Francesca Garola, Founder of HappyBalancedLife, gives us an insight into why we have communication barriers and how to overcome them…

One of the things I have always believed is that problems arise because somewhere along the line, we have committed to being afraid of genuinely communicating. And believe me, coming from a “everything is always fine” master, I have found great tricks to keep myself away from talking.

When I started my healing journey, I magically discovered that communicating was a great healing tool on its own. That’s when I started exploring the mechanisms behind communication and, in most cases, non communication…

Living with kids has taught me a great deal of things. One of the most important is how much fear we place in telling the truth and how that fear transforms itself into silence and, even worse, into lies. Studies have shown that kids generally start lying to either avoid getting in trouble or to get more attention. Whatever the reason may be, we start avoiding true communication from an early age and we bring it on with us throughout the rest of our lives, in different forms and with different techniques.

I’m sure we can all relate to a little kid that has done something wrong and, to cover it up, they invent a great story that becomes a white lie. The reasons behind the white lie may be:

  1. 1. I do not want mummy or daddy to scream at me
  2. I don’t want to be punished
  3. I always do something wrong
  4. I don’t want to feel shame for what I did…

and we could go on and on to find different reasons behind the little cover-up lies.

You see, kids do not necessarily see the distinction between reality and fiction, which makes them accomplices in their own lies and their own stories.

Why am I talking about this, you may ask? Well, because I believe that’s exactly when we start to create beliefs and habits that, in turn, create blocks to our communication. You see, if a kid starts believing it’s easier to tell a lie or shut up rather than tell the truth – because the reaction to the truth brings on pain, anger or shame – what kind of belief do you think they continue with as teen or adult?

Failing to truthfully communicate is the number one reason for relationship endings, work frustrations and it can go as far as being the root of disagreements in everyday life.

Do you always say what you mean?

Do you know how to truly listen to the person in front of you or are you just concentrating on what to say next?

What are the chances you’re letting your map of the world misinterpret the words of the other person?

What would it take to let your guard down and be ok to say what’s truly on your heart?

With no anger, no sadness, no frustration…  just calmness… you are allowing yourself to be you and when you do that there is no need to fight, no need for expectations, no need for arrogance. Just the need to be in that space you have just created by destroying the walls you have once raised to protect you.

1. Learn to listen

Have you ever realised how much time we spend trying to figure out the answer we need to give even before the other person has finished talking?

That diversion from listening to thinking, how much do you think decreased your information intake? Did you really listen to everything the person in front of you said? Did you concentrate on the tone of the voice or on the words? How was the non-verbal communication? Did you even pay attention to that? You see, communication is not only words. It can be so much more than that, if you let it. Be an active listener, look the person in the eyes, stop whatever you’re doing and commit your full attention to the conversation, pause your thoughts and pause your need to answer, prevail, justify and judge. Hold the space for the other person and just be present.

2. Speak the truth

Do you say what you want to say or do you say what the other person wants to hear? Do you pick a fight because it’s easier than expressing what’s truly on your heart? Do you just shut up and play the “I’m ok” game? What would you say that you’re not saying? How would you say it? How would you like to hear it? What do you need to say that is weighing on your shoulders?

The truth is, we can never anticipate another person’s reaction. But the more we get to know ourselves, the more we can improve the way we act and react. When we speak from the heart, whether it’s a frustration, a dream, a fear, an issue, an advice… we speak from a place of love and most importantly we speak the truth. By speaking the truth you first of all respect yourself and secondly, you respect the other person. What do you need to speak about? Boundaries? Emotions? Feelings? Your needs? Frustrations? New ideas? Competences?  Whatever it is, as long as it’s said from the heart, holding the space from a place of love and respect to the other person. And even when the other person sends you hatred, respond with love because, if you really think about it, isn’t love the only thing we all go searching for? Infinitely.

3. We are not mind readers!

Ok, ok, sometimes we like to think we are!  However, in general, people don’t know what’s on our minds and we can’t pretend that our best friend, boyfriend, partner, boss gets how we feel because of a great power that allows them to read us in an instant and know exactly how to react to keep us happy! Most relationships fail because we fail to communicate our needs. We want the other person to understand what we need but, of course, without saying telling them. We are unhappy at work, a friend has hurt us, we really need a hug… but do we actually say it? What would it take you to ask? What would it cost to just say it?

The work we’re doing here is to let go of all the barriers we have built, of all the limiting beliefs we are holding on to and of anything we have read, heard, learned and that does not belong to us anymore. That’s the first big conversation to have: the one with the self. The ones with others then follow more naturally.

Communication means connection. Connection with self, connection with others. Talking, expressing and communicating openly and truly will not only release you of useless frustrations but also improve relationships, friendships, work atmosphere and help you solve most problems.

Have fun expressing, expanding, exploring, evolving.

With love,

Francesca

 

posibilities saying

Infinity thinking – a world of possibilities

In this month’s blog our resident Healing Coach, Francesca Garola, Founder of HappyBalancedLife, guides us how to begin our own journey to a world of infinite possibilities.

What are you choosing to see? What are you choosing to hear? What are you choosing to commit to?

“The map is not the territory” has been one of my favourite subjects since I’ve started my new journey and it’s been a true eye-opening tool that can, if I let it, completely change the perspective of a situation, of a person, of a judgment and of life in general. This simple phrase means nothing more than it is the way we choose to interpret a certain set of information. The way is given by our map of the world… by the way our mind has been constructed, by our education, our teachers, our care givers, our friends, our enemies, by hurt and by joy.

Our maps are created little by little through our experiences and through our perception of our experiences. Whatever we experience becomes a meaning and by whatever meaning we choose to give it, becomes a piece of the world puzzle we construct in our minds. We interpret everything we experience through the pieces of the puzzle we have constructed and this puzzle determines how we think, act and react.

Possibility thinking

Do we ever doubt the accuracy of our maps? How could we? Most of us do not even know that we have our own unique map of the world!

To make it very simple this is how it works… an ACTION brings a REACTION. That reaction (thought, act, judgment, fear, doubt, anger, etc) is personal and unique to each of us and is dependent on our map of the world. This explains how a same action, can be seen in different ways by different people and when someone disagrees with what we see, as a reaction we may think that they are weird or unreasonable.

For most of us, our map of the world becomes the ONLY truth and we tend to protect it like it is the most important thing in the world… just as the Little Prince (by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry) was protecting his rose. When conflicting opinions surround us, it can become a cause for extreme anxiety, anger and controlling behaviour.

The map of the world is what constructs our basic mind-set, where an action causes a reaction. Full stop.

What if I told you that by asking a simple question before you decide to give in to your reaction, you could change the whole perspective of what is happening to you?

What if by exploring “What else is possible?” you could shift to an infinite world of possibilities?

What if I told you that within our straight forward reaction are all of our limiting beliefs, fears, doubts, worries, anxieties and insecurities?

What if I told you that as soon as you can get your mind out of the picture, you can get to the energy of a situation and clear the limitations and barriers that keep you from expanding into a world infinite possibilities?

thomas edison possibilities quote

My journey into coaching has taught me to ask these questions:

  • What else is possible here?
  • How can I be more aware here?
  • How many more possibilities are there?
  • What else can I choose that I have not chosen yet?

When you ask yourself the first question, you choose something else than what your mind is suggesting you choose. When you try to look beyond what is, you can see a whole new world of what isn’t and what isn’t yet, can simply become a new perspective.

This is how you shift to infinity thinking. You move from a straight line into a world of beautiful, colourful curves.

Let’s take a very simple example. Action: someone upsets you. Reaction: you get really upset, sad and decide to stop talking to that person.

There. Straight line. One action brings one reaction.

healing is not linear

Let’s move towards these beautiful and colourful curves… Action: someone upsets you. Reaction: What else is possible here? Maybe he/she was hurt? Do you know that hurt people, hurt other people? What is my responsibility here? What else can I choose?

Have you dropped your judgments and your points of view yet?

The trees don’t say, “I’m not going to give you any oranges because you’re a jerk.” They say, “Okay, you’re a jerk. Here are some oranges. Maybe these will help you out.”

Gary Douglas, Access Consciousness (www.AccessConsciousness.com)

Become your own inspiration for a different reality. A new world is created one step at a time. One different decision at a time. You are the only person who can get over your own limitations and open up to a world where the word POSSIBLE becomes possible.

To end this blog, I would like to share with you of my favourite questions from Access Consciousness, that may, if you let it, open up space and allow you to continuously create something new:

What would you have to acknowledge about you, that you’ve never acknowledged about you that if you did, would give you the ability to commit to your own life and create infinite possibilities? Everything that is times a godzillion, will you destroy and uncreate it all?

With love and light,

Francesca

departures board

The roaming life of #eventprofs

This month, Francesca Garola, Founder of HappyBalancedLife, shares her experience of how to cope with the travelling life of the #eventprof. Not only cope, but actually enjoy it!

When I tell people I’m an events planner, most of the times I get the so-called WOW effect, “OMG, you lead such a glamourous life!”

Honestly, I can’t deny that sometimes I replay some of the stories in my head and I can even be ‘jealous’ of the awesome experiences I’ve lived. I’m so grateful for all the places I’ve visited, the amazing people I’ve met and the crazy stories I’m now able to tell.

One big truth, however, is that we lead a pretty unstable, stressful and unbalanced lifestyle. We work outrageous hours and are often away from home for long periods of time… any idea on how to cope with that??

  1. Plan your balance

This may sound weird, I know. At work, we plan and plan and plan for everything to go perfectly smoothly – we have to do lists, run-throughs, roadmaps, memos, lists and more lists of who does what, when and where. When it comes to planning our own time, however, we immediately become reticent and start feeling guilty of taking the time for us rather than be fully immersed in the job.

Remember, there is a time for everything and YOU are the sacred space for all the awesome planning and amazing organising. If you don’t take care of that sacred space (your body, mind, soul and spirit) the castle you are building will have foundations made of thin air and it may collapse at any moment.

Whether you are home or away, plan some time for you. You can pick amongst some of your favourite activities:

  • morning stretching, a phone call to your BFF/partner/son/daughter/ parent
  • a short meditation
  • a breathing exercise
  • reading two pages of your latest book
  • 10 minutes in the sauna.

OK, I get it, this won’t be possible ALL the time but… THIS IS YOUR TIME… Ideally try to have some YOU time at least twice a day!

  1. Plan your food

Travelling can be quite hard on the diet! Hotel breakfasts, restaurants, pastries, sodas, coffees, etc. I totally get that (a) when we are tired we just want comfort food, (b) that sometimes we just do not have the choice and (c) that sometimes a green smoothie just doesn’t do it!

healthy lunch box

Prepare yourself a healthy lunchbox to keep your energy up

Planning your food intake does not need to become an extra stress added to your day. It needs to be fun, joyful and put a smile on your face. If you manage to be reasonable 75% of the time, you are on the right track and surely you know some tricks to keep you going. Try carrying a banana with you, drinking lots of water and herbal teas, possibly trying not to eat too late for dinner, have healthy snacks hidden in your bag and, the most important sustenance of all, laugh at least twice a day!

  1. Pack smart

Packing has become one of my favourite activities! I love to challenge myself to play Tetris, packing as much into my suitcase as humanly possible. Learning how to combine outfits with minimum mixing and maximum matching whilst still looking professional and feeling comfortable is a talent I’ve learned over the years.

Please know that I used to be the worst packer ever! Every trip was an overweight charge, a crazy amount of clothes and yet I felt like I had nothing to wear! The trick is to have in your wardrobe things that you love wearing and mixing basics like jeans with elegant, understated chic items. Don’t worry f you don’t change your shoes every day… no one will notice!

Conscious packing will help you save time, it will make you feel comfortable with what you are wearing every day and it will make you enjoy traveling light!

  1. Making memories

Memories to be grateful for are food for the soul and yet sometimes we forget about making them. We’re so busy and often surrounded by stress, we forget we’re also here to make memories. Who said work had to be tough and unpleasant? Work is such a huge part of our lives, we’d be left with very little time to enjoy if we didn’t have fun at work. Each event, each person you work with or meet, each special dish you savour, each crazy thing you need to do to save the event, can magically become a memory to be grateful for.

Making memories: some of the Sleek Events team taking a boat trip in Stockholm after an event

That is, of course, if you allow gratitude to come in and let go of whatever is not needed.

  1. Sharing

A very usual comment I get in the event business is a frustration of thinking that nobody understands the pressure we are under and that nobody appreciates how much we actually work. Honestly, even if that was true, what’s the benefit of thinking that way?

Are you looking for validation? Is showing off the amount of work we have an excuse to say that we don’t have time for anything else?

What if we could drop that thought and explore different possibilities? What if we started talking to our partner/kids/friends and explain how our days go? When we’re away from home, wouldn’t you love to have someone supporting you? To have someone that not only understands what you do, but actually becomes your partner in crime, knows that you are OK and that you love sharing your life? Wouldn’t you be happy to know your loved ones are happy for you?

Bottom line is… the more you align to your values, the more you’ll be able to enjoy the little things. Fill your life with people who can back you up, with no judgment, just listening and knowing we’re here for one another.

With love and light,

Francesca xo

Stop whining, start smiling

In this month’s blog our resident Healing Coach, Francesca Garola, Founder of HappyBalancedLife, tells us how to stop complaining and turn that negative energy into a positive.

Francesca Garola sat on steps

This month’s theme is “WHINING”… want to join me in a challenge?! I’m going to keep the focus on the working environment, but you will see that most things can be applied in everyday life too.

How many times a day do you find yourself complaining about something? Whether it’s work, partner, friends, family, kids, weather, politics, stuff in general. And, how many times a day do you listen to someone complaining?

I may be wrong, however, I’m guessing the answer is: LOADS!

Let’s be honest, sometimes the easiest thing to do is hide behind a complaint – whether it’s a client who is too demanding, a venue which is too strict, a supplier which just does not get you, your boss who is not human enough…

And honestly, your complaints might be well-founded but is complaining about it helping you change the situation? Is complaining about the-job-you-cannot-stand going to deliver you your dream job? Is complaining about how your colleague is trying to steal your client leading to increased revenues? Is complaining about how your work should be valued more, getting you more recognition?

“When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept it. All else is madness.” Eckhart Tolle

A short reminder from previous posts: we do what we do because it satisfies one or more needs we have at this specific point in time and we do it because somehow it’s giving us pleasure – yes, it does even though you do not know it yet!

Complaining, believe it or not, lifts us up as it generally validates us. A complaining conversation brings on even more complaining. “How amazing! I must be right, other people think like me too!” “You see, I am totally right, they are all so wrong!”

We generally complain because we need to feel valued, we need to feel understood and we need to feel that we’re not alone in our pain.

Please note that there is a huge difference between complaining and critical thinking. They can both be destructive if not dealt with, or they can be shifted to positive change when actually dealing with them. You see, we need critical thinking to improve. If we never had any critics and everything was always beautiful and amazing, there would be no evolution and no change.

The main objective is how to get from ‘a complaining just for the sake of complaining which makes you feel better’ to ‘a complaining that allows you broaden your vision and the vision of those around you’.

  1. The 5 Minutes Rule

A while ago I was working on an event far away from home. We had a super-solid group of colleagues and we used to find so much comfort in complaining about other colleagues and about how disorganised they were, how little fun they were, and the list can go on and on.

At some point during the conversations, I stopped and asked myself: “what is the point of all this whining? Is talking bad about people really making us feel better?”

And there it was. The simple concept of compassion came on board and a crazy idea came to mind. I stopped everyone in the conversation and shared with all of my beautiful group of colleagues (which by the way are awesome!) that (a) I was actually tired of complaining; (b) that these low vibration conversations did not really improve our everyday life and that (c) we were going to install a “5 minutes complaining rule”. If anything major came up during the day we could call on an extra complaining session. We only had 5 minutes a day… OMG, how were we going to survive?

  1. What can we do to change the situation?

It was not enough to limit the complaining. After each “complaining session” we had to answer the hardest question of all: what can we do to improve the situation?

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Maya Angelou

Unless we take action to change/improve/resolve the situation, we avoid taking responsibility for it and we keep stagnating in the same old story trying to find comfort in our pain, putting our pain onto others (which by the way, generally have never asked us to infuse them with our whining wisdom!) and become the victims of our lives!

  1. Your voice can be heard

We are all so afraid to speak up, to say what we think. We always think that “things will never change”, or even better “who I am to change this”. Truth is… if we go to our boss whining, pointing the finger and blabbering nonsense, we will possibly not change the situation. However, if we use the process of complaining => what’s the lesson => what can the growth be => new possibilities, we might find a great deal of resourcefulness in critical thinking and even our boss might find your insights useful.

  1. Let go of the bitterness

I’ve rarely seen people complain with a smile on their face. Generally whining brings on anger, bitterness, irritability and increases susceptibility. When you find yourself in “complaining-mode”, stop for a second, feel the emotion, let it run through you and then find a reason to flip the switch and move forward towards infinite possibilities. When talking about a problem with an infinity thinking mindset, you let go of the bitterness and replace it instead with passion and purpose.

Complaining totally drains our energy, and it brings other people down. We complain to release the stress, when we complain we generally find validation from others, when we are validated we feel better and we repeat the process.

I might have said it on earlier posts, it is much easier to complain about a situation, than finding the strength to change it.

Let me share a new possible way to deal with complaining:

5 Minutes Complaining => What would be the ideal outcome => What can I do to change the situation => Solutions => Growth => Increased Happiness = > Decrease Complaints

How to introduce this within companies:

  • Organise team meetings to bring any issues out into the open and allow everybody to contribute to the resolutions
  • Formalise a guideline for acceptable and unacceptable behaviours within the office, which will be inclusive not exclusive
  • Everyone needs to be given a voice and be encouraged to actively participate to a positive working environment
  • Follow up with regular team meetings and feedback to monitor success or new challenges that may arise.

It is really SUPER SIMPLE!

With love and light,

Francesca xo

“Procrastinating?” “Me?!” “Never!”

Procrastination is something we often do in our daily lives “I’ll mow the lawn tomorrow”, but it’s something we rarely admit to in our professional lives. This month’s blog by Francesca Garola from HappyBalancedLife looks at how we can combat procrastination as #eventprofs.

What is procrastination?

If we put aside its classic definition of “putting off or delaying something that requires immediate attention”, procrastination can, in many circumstances, be defined as nothing less than “self sabotaging”.

How many times a day do you tell yourself “I’ll do this later!” and this later never comes?

How many times have you felt stuck, looping and wondering why things are not changing?

Let me share something with you… the first time I heard about this, I was totally blown away!

We have 6 core needs (more on this topic on another post!) that drive our human behaviours.

The most common driver is certainty. Over 70% of us are in constant search of certainty, whether it is through rigid routines, addictions, need to be right, perfectionism (this is a big one for lots of us !!), need of control, etc. I could go on and on…

The need for certainty is our ego trying to keep us safe, to protect us, to defend the comfort zone and the territory we are familiar with.

The truth is though, that certainty is the greatest illusion we have ever created! And yet we live for it, we fight for it, we cry for it and we spend so much time and energy protecting it.

Procrastination comes in to “save” us and to keep us stuck in the same old comfort zone so that we do not try to cross the road of the unknown. It becomes the perfect unresourceful way of meeting our need for certainty.

On the other side of the road though, is growth.

Growth lies at the edge of our comfort zone, we expand by embracing life, by deciding to experience our magnificence.

I’m going to give you a very simple example: New Year’s Day and its resolutions! This is something 95% of us did at some point in our lives.

You really want change and what better time than the first day of the year? You really want to start exercising so, you sign up for the gym, you buy all the gear you need because this time you are really motivated; three times a week, I’m all in! Motivation is at its high on the first month, you are tired but you keep going; I’m so busy this week, I’ll only go twice; oh I’m so tired I really need some time off; I’ll go only once this week…

And so, we go on and listen to our ego convincing us that stepping out of our comfort zone and embracing the unknown is too challenging and it’s so much better when we do what we already know.

Here procrastination comes back into our lives, keeping us safe.

But the problem is never the problem. Behind procrastination lies the way of calming the uncertainty of life, and that need of certainty also keeps us safe from all the things that our inner child has put into the avoidance drawer.

Overcome procrastination

How can we overcome procrastination? These are some simple baby steps – please know that behind these steps lie a whole world of reasons why we choose to do what we do and why we believe we cannot do the things we really want to do. The self-development journey towards a happy balanced life is ever evolving and each step will lead to the next and each step will reveal something that will hopefully create some “Aha” moments moving towards an ever better version of yourself.

  1. Back yourself into the space of uncertainty

We want balance between certainty and uncertainty. To better explain this: making sure we find time for a hobby we love every day will give us the certainty we need. Opening the doors to variety will balance the need for certainty, increase and welcome adventure into your life. If you love reading, make sure you give yourself the certainty of a good read every day, just for you and only you. This certainty will give you the power to try something new because you know that your reading is there for you and will be there also after you have tried something new.

  1. Start where you are (but start!!)

Waiting for the perfect moment to start doing something is just another way of saying to life “I will do that when X happens” and therefore telling yourself that you’re not going to do something unless that other specific thing happens. Truth is… if you do not do the work, nobody is going to do it for you! Start accepting where you are, work with the tools you have, trust that you have your back and please remember to have some fun along the way.

  1. Set micro goals

Setting big short-term goals will only increase your procrastinating habit – remember, we are creatures of habit and our ego loves the same old, same old. Micro goals will help you achieve them. For example, a to do list with 25 things will not motivate you to get going. Prioritise and do one thing after the other. When you are onto one thing, do not go over and see if there is anything more interesting or more fun or more urgent you can do instead. There will always be. Stick. To. Your. Micro. Goal.

  1. Hold yourself accountable

Have someone who can hold you accountable and who can check on how you’re doing. We love being solitary and thinking we can do everything on our own, we don’t need any help and we can handle it. Breathe, it’s awesome to ask for help and to have someone to share your victories with!

 

What’s your trigger? What’s your procrastinating strategy? How much pain does that give you? How much pleasure?

In light and love,

Francesca xo

 

meditation pose in Iceland

Enjoy a Happy, Balanced Life

Francesca Garola, Founder of HappyBalancedLife, works mainly in the events industry and through years of personal study, she is also an inspiring Healing Coach. Her coaching aims to help people find their way to a perfect and ideal self, whilst exploring the power of mindfulness.

Francesca Garola sat on steps

We’re really pleased to bring a regular blog from Francesca where she’ll address her expertise to help us mitigate the stresses and strains of working in events…

Being in a world of Doing

I’m curious, what does BEING mean to you?

We generally say “I am” to define a part of ourselves: our name, our job, our background, etc. This is how society defines “Being”… and it is so much more than that!

We live in a world where Doing has taken over Being; where Doing is the primary concern of our everyday existence. We live in TO-DO lists and we get trapped into “The Spinning Wheel of Doing”. The result is often what I call “The Claustro-Doing” which is nothing more than an increased anxiety due to over-doing.

Have you ever wondered why we do so much? Have you ever wondered why we tend to put so much on our plates that we are drawn into doing and clog up our mind, soul and spirit?

Doing can easily become an addiction and it works as a sort of patch so that we do not have to deal with our emotions, with our thoughts and with our subconscious.

Can we really stop doing? Of course not! And there is no need to. The idea here is to find a functional way of Doing without forgetting your Being.

sunset beach with lady stretching

Are you ready to step into the world knowing how to BE YOU rather than being a doing machine?

  1. Become aware of your language

How do you speak to yourself? How many times a day do you tell yourself “I have to”? And what would it take to replace it with “I choose to”? The way you talk to yourself creates the imprint of the way you treat yourself and how much you value self-respect. Would you be ok to start treating yourself with kindness and compassion? Talk to yourself as you would have wanted your inner child to be talked to.

  1. Be You as soon as you wake up

What is the first thing you do when you wake up? Do you look at your phone? Have a coffee? Listen to the news?

Would it be ok to pause the doing and allow yourself to just be for a minute? Before you get up, take 3 big breaths to really feel your presence and wake up all of your muscles and organs. Get up, gently wash your face, smile at yourself and make the following statement: “I allow myself to be me and respect me today.”

When you step into the shower, would it be ok to use it as a cleansing ritual where you actually clear out from your body, mind and soul anything that is no longer necessary; anything that you no longer need to hold on to or any emotion that is ready to be released. I think this is something that can easily be integrated into your daily life. And if you rather shower at night, use this cleansing ritual before going to bed – what a great way to end the day and get a great night’s sleep!

  1. Be mindful of what you read and listen to

Reading or listening to dreadful news early in the morning can be pretty unsettling for the subconscious. If you can, choose to fill yourself up with good vibrations, comforting words and good intentions for the day. Whether it is vibrational music, your favourite podcast, a meditation or your favourite audiobook, remember that the morning can set your foundations for a successful day!

  1. Check-in with yourself

Are you willing to ask yourself “how am I doing?” every now and then? Is it ok to let your subconscious know you are there for you? Being You means you know you are there for yourself, it means that you do what you say and say what you do. It means increasing awareness of whatever goes on within and without. It means starting a brand new, beautiful, functional and life-long relationship with yourself.

With love and laughter,

Francesca

You can get more tips from Francesca by liking her Facebook page or following her on Instagram.

northern light over Reykjavik

48 hours in Reykjavik

Reykjavik is not only difficult to spell but it’s also crazy to get to grips with its extended hours of daylight or lack of it depending on what time of year you visit.

Located just two degrees south of the Arctic Circle, Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital city. Its location means that during the winter months the city only gets four hours of sunlight on the shortest day. However, during the longest day in the summer months, when we were visiting, Reykjavik sees almost 24 hours of daylight!

sunset

We had almost 48 hours of daylight to research the best of Reykjavik and the surrounding area for our incentive travel programme, having wrapped up another successful client event in the city.

Here are our top tips to make the most out of a city break in Reykjavik…

ONE

Absolutely hire yourself a car. You’ll find a theme running through this blog – Iceland is expensive. Getting the cheapest travel option from the airport to the city is by bus but, if you value your time, the 1 ½ hour ride is pretty unbearable whilst a taxi will cost you at least €100 – and so your wallet starts to become a lot lighter before you’ve even reached your hotel! Having a car not only gives you the obvious flexibility for sightseeing but it works out significantly cheaper when there is more than one of you travelling together.

TWO

Eating and drinking (and doing most other things) in Iceland is expensive and even more so in the city. Your concierge is likely to offer you the chance to buy a voucher booklet when you check-in – our advice is to go for it! In 48 hours we managed to work our way through our favourite restaurants and bars using these discount vouchers saving us in excess of €200. If you’re with a larger party than just our two average-size tummies, you will save a fortune. We love sushi and didn’t find a bad sushi bar in the whole of our trip.

Discount vouchers

Read more about the voucher booklets on Reykjavik’s Grapevine

Alcohol is so expensive here that we were willing to give it up for the weekend, that’s right, tea-totalling event profs! Of course, that didn’t last for long and here are our two favourite bars we stumbled across. Slippbarinn is part of Icelandair Hotel Reykjavík Marina near Old Harbour, Reykjavik’s first ever cocktail bar and because imported beer is so expensive Kaldi Bar is a great option as they serve several of their own locally-brewed lighter beers.

THREE

The hotels in the city centre are fantastic and great if you’re planning to just spend time walking through the city but, if you plan to go farther afield, we found choosing a hotel on the outskirts much more convenient – and it meant we could park our hire car for free.

Reykjavik Lights hotel

FOUR

If you like horses, this is the destination for you. Did you know there are around 80,000 horses in Iceland with a total population of just over 330,000 people – one horse for nearly one third of the people in Iceland! Whilst the Icelandic horse is a prized breed, don’t be surprised to see horse on the menu in some restaurants.

Icelandic horses

FIVE

Do plenty of research if you’re not visiting via one of our organised, luxury incentive travel programmes. We wanted to fit a couple of tourist destinations into our short visit and were given some great advice by Guide to Iceland. We’d recommend browsing their website before you go to plan in your excursions.

We love a spa like any girl, so were intrigued by the Blue Lagoon tour – apparently one of the 25 wonders of the world. This famous geothermal spa has silica mud under your feet which is said to have healing properties so we smothered it all over us – we have not included a photo for that! You can choose all sorts of premium spa packages but, as this was Erin’s favourite tour she says, “Be aware that you’ll be sharing the facilities with people who don’t mind picking up the bathing robe you’ve paid for!”

You might have noticed our love for a bit of Richmond’s nature on our Instagram so we couldn’t miss out on the whale watching tour run by family-owned tour operator, Elding. We chose to get as close as possible to the action and took a rib tour – this is also the fastest way to get to any wildlife activity. Just bear in mind that it’s extremely chilly, even in the summer months so dress appropriately.

Whale watching tour

SIX

From horses to cats… if you’re more of a cat person then Reykjavik has the country’s first cat cafe – Kattakaffihusid. This isn’t just a cafe where you can take your cat for a saucer of milk, this cafe now hosts 3 homeless cats at a time from the organisation Villikettir and approved guests can give them a forever home. Visit their Facebook page to find out more about their range of tasty cakes and cute kitties looking for a home.

 

SEVEN

We actually found the cat cafe whilst walking in the city to find one of its most well-known landmarks and possibly the most funky church we’ve ever come across, Hallgrímskirkja. Named after the 17th-century clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson, author of Hymns of the Passion, the church’s impressive stepped, concrete facade is an ode to modernism and a reminder of the Icelandic landscape. It’s well worth a visit and they have a varied programme of concerts on throughout the year.

STUNNING REYKJAVIK

We packed in quite a lot in 48 hours but we also got some time to stop and reflect. My absolute favourite moment of the whole trip was driving round the Golden Circle Tour.

Golden circle tour map

We came round a bend in the road and the landscape opened up in front of us to show the bluest sky I have ever seen. The beautiful scenery around Reykjavik is enough to make anyone stop and feel grounded to the Earth and all of its natural wonders. Definitely worth a place on our incentive travel list.