Busy, busy being creative..!

Tuesday 10 November 2015

I have failed (or have I?)

13 days left of being 40 and I’ve failed in completing everything on my 40/40 project list.

In fact, I knew I’d fail way back in August when I didn’t manage to go to Edinburgh for the fringe festival or actually further back – in July as I didn’t go to The Secret Garden Party. I’ve known for months I’d never complete my list this year before I stepped in to being 41.

And how did I feel about that?

At first disappointed and annoyed. I should have tried harder, I should have done this or that differently so I’d have had the money I needed to go to some things – especially Burning Man etc etc…

Should Should Should…

That is such a dangerous word – and I think needs to be banned!

‘Should’ focuses on the negative and undermines in an instant what has been achieved.
By switching perspective, dumping these Shoulds and instead looking at each thing on my 40/40 project that I HAVE done, I feel proud as there’s a whole bounty of amazingness!!

Studies show that it is a natural human condition to firstly focus on the things we haven’t done – rather than looking at what we have and celebrating that. Start to notice when you do it and when others around you do it. Notice how it makes you feel. 

I’d say it makes for a tiring and unfulfilled life. I’ve learnt this first-hand having spent many years with that mind set. It’s hard work and there is never that feeling of contentment. Especially if others around you also focus on what’s not been done.

I’m not suggesting that we give up and not aim to achieve what we set out to – rather to look back at what we’ve achieved so far and to celebrate that.

We always have a choice in how we respond to situations.

So ask me again – how do I feel about not completing my 40/40 project and I’ll tell you that I feel GREAT!

I’ve completed 11 so far and each experience has been amazing, bringing much joy and connecting with so many people. This really is what this project is about. Making connections, having new experiences and having fun.

I know that if it weren’t for this project I doubt I’d have completed the things I have so far. I’ve pushed myself. That to me feels like an achievement. Yes I do think – heck how on earth can I support and coach others if I can’t even complete my own goals. My answer? Better. I understand what it’s like and it’s about changing perspectives. Celebrating each step. 

So what have I achieved so far?

Well I completed a 190 mile adventure from The Brecons to Morwenstow following roughly
in the footsteps of the 5th Century saint Morwenna. I raised £909.25 as a result for The Stroke Association.

That’s an achievement, and to be honest was the biggest one on my list that I wanted to complete.

I’ve also: 
  • met Danny Wallace
  • had Blue hair
  • been skinny dipping
  • stayed on Burgh Island
  • had a cocktail created for me
  • been up in a hot air balloon
  • organised an 1930s party – which I created a film for, made a moon and saw friends I’d not seen in a long time. Plus we had some brilliant dancers!
  • created and organised my first Creative Adventure Retreat on Lundy Island. That was also a big achievement for me and was brilliant fun with four awesome ladies!
  • had my first experience of being a TV extra (still working on being on Dr. Who!)
  • currently taking part in the Sketch Book Project – I have my sketchbook ready to fill!
  • went to Edinburgh to celebrate Beltane with friends – wonderful!
  • been in the audience of Deal or No Deal (yet to be on a game show)

Actually that is quite a lot to have achieved in a year. Especially when you consider what goes into actually completing these things. The ‘behind the scenes’ so to speak. Alongside all this I’ve been developing my business and I’ve also completed my Reiki Master training.

So Yes I feel good about what I have achieved so far…

Seeing that this is a project of my own creation and knowing that I’ve failed in completing all these things by my 41st Birthday – I’m extending it. So this 40/40 project is going to be about my decade of being in my 40s. A slight tweak.

As I was working through the experiences I also realised that I wanted to completely enjoy them and it wasn’t just about ‘crossing them off the list’ If that had been all it was about then I expect I could have rushed to get them done. That though starts to add pressure and for me takes away the enjoyment of the actual project in the first place.

I’ve also discovered that I really love organising things. The party, Beltane, Lundy, The Brecons 2 Morwenstow trip….I’d kinda of started to realise this after planning the Moroccan Adventure a few years ago, but I was surprised just how much I enjoyed all the aspects of each thing I organised as part of this project. So no more will I have the belief that ‘I can’t organise things’. This is now replaced by – ‘I can organise things and I enjoy it!’ (A revelation)

I still have time to complete some other things on my list so we’ll see what happens between now and my birthday. In fact I'll be completing one this week! A Fire Walk in aid of Penny Brohn!

I also want to extend a huge thank you to everyone who has been a part of each of the 40/40 project experiences so far. YOU are what have made it GREAT!

I really like this quote which I ‘refound’ recently and though it very apt.

“Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. 
Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. 
If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.” H. Stanley Judd

How about you? Do you tend to focus on what you’ve achieved or what you’ve failed at? Does the thought of failing at something stop you from doing it?

Love to hear from you!



A snapshot of a few completed 40/40 project items!
L-R - Hot air balloon, 1930s style 40th Birthday Party, Lundy Island Adventure, Cocktail creation on Burgh Island, Walking the South West Coast Path as part of Brecons 2 Morwenstow, Beltane in Edinburgh, The Mermaid pool where I Skinny Dipped at midnight, Blue hair in progress, Having a pint with Danny Wallace.


  1. Hooray Morwhenna! for your achievements, and the turn around in your mind set. Can totally relate. Have fun with your upcoming challenges and events, no matter when you do them, or even if you decide to change or add some to your list! -Bonnie

    1. Thank you SO much Bonnie. I really appreciate that. I'm sure others will creep on to the list before I reach 50!