Within the shelves in my office are notebooks. Pretty notebooks. Scrappy notebooks. Small notebooks. Packs of notebooks. Too good to use notebooks. At a glance you can tell I am very happy with a nice new notebook. Or even several because they all serve a purpose eventually.
Buried within the well worn pages of my notebooks are reminders, important things inside that must not be forgotten. But often are.
I have always loved stationery. Notebooks and coloured pens are fabulous. Yes technology is brilliant and helpful too, I am partial to using Evernote when I feel super productive and efficient. But you cannot beat a lovely hand stitched notebook from Paperchase.
This year I made a decision about the notebooks, let’s call this an intention. I decided to change how I intend to use them. Because I’d have quotes in one, to-do’s in another, random ideas and creative downloads in another and I’d struggle to find all the good stuff I kept for a specific reason.
So whilst I love new notebooks, instead of buying several I decided to invest in one.
Fortunately, I didn’t need to venture too far as sitting on the shelf in my office was a lovely notebook with gorgeous birds and butterflies on the cover that my husband had purchased as a gift for me sometime ago. Waiting to be used. (He is very thoughtful with the gifts he buys, so I’ll mention it here just in case he reads this post!)
Back to the notebook. I’d been keeping this notebook for special purposes. And this seemed the perfect time to put it to good use.
You’ll have heard of vision boards, well this has become my very own vision book.
This beautiful notebook is the perfect size and was ready to be filled with all the quotes I love, little reminders to perk me up, magical moments that occurred during my day, actions I’ve taken, gorgeous images cut out from magazines that deeply resonate and not forgetting my own important intentions, actions and progress. Everything contained in one place where I can add to it quickly and easily as well as review and reflect. Perfect.
Fast forward to now and this magical book is something rather special. It’s no longer just a pretty notebook. This has become my anchor. It manages to remind me precisely what it is I intend to do with my own life and business.
When I drift off course, or the negative committee in my head tells me I haven’t done enough, or someone else would like me to put their intentions and priorities before my own. I pause for a moment. Pick up the notebook, flick through the pages and suddenly I return to a place of positivity. My mindset shifts. I feel inspired and encouraged. I reconnect with myself and focus once more.
And there is always an inner nudge that whispers “This is what YOU intend to do, remember?”
Ah yes. There it is. All of it together in one place so I don’t forget.
Every page has meaning. It helps me remain focused. It perks me up when I feel I am not making the progress I desire. It reminds me of how far I have come this year alone. And when I feel pulled in different directions in life, either of my own doing or by people around me I consciously come back to what I intended and crack on.
But as well as keeping me focused, productive and on track, this magical notebook has enabled miracles. The words and images have taken on a life of their own. To someone else my notebook may look meaningless. However to me it’s precious and full of meaning. Because during the first six months of the year something remarkable happened. One of my biggest transformations occurred. An epiphany of sorts.
I am not one for resolutions. Goals can be a bit tedious. But intentions are transformative. I knew this before, but I hadn’t quite realised just how powerful intentions can be.
When I began filling the pages I knew life would be a little easier. I’d find what I wanted quickly. But what I hadn’t envisaged was that over time, season by season and month by month as the content on the pages grew, something was beginning to bloom. To grow and transform right before my eyes.
The intentions became my reality.
It was quite a moment when I realised what I had “unintentionally” created. Because it was glaringly obvious when I could see everything together staring back at me from the carefully crafted pages.
As I have written about before, I knew that I had undergone another life transformation. I was ever-so ready to let go of past and my living brand itching to evolve into the new. But what and how?
Suddenly as if by magic all of the answers I had been seeking for a long time were right there. Beautifully contained within my magical notebook.
Everything that matters to me. What really lights me up.
This book is me. It’s who I’ve become. It’s who I am now.
My new petite business. My own living brand. My life.
And this is how I intend to show up and live my own magical life. It’s all here.
When I realised what I had created, I stepped outside into our sanctuary also known as our garden. I looked around and something clicked into place. It isn’t just my magical notebook that enabled me to grow, bloom and transform.
Our garden worked it’s magic on me too. Nurturing this neglected place, meant it also nurtured me. Bringing me gently back to life.
Over time I began to notice the beauty all around us. My life has taken a very different path than I’d ever intended. The change was inevitable. Suddenly the blinkers were off and I instinctively knew my work had to incorporate the wisdom of nature. And this was abundantly clear within my notebook.
This realisation meant finally I could connect the dots. I’d found the clarity I’d been seeking to create my new brand identity and website.
I locked myself away, along with my magical notebook and got to work.
The new web copy was written. My logo created and printed into fresh business cards. My new website lovingly designed, created and filled with my own words and images. Images that had been there all along waiting for me within my Instagram feed or sitting in files on my PC.
I deliberately chose to share what I had created with a couple of trusted friends who had walked my transformational path with me. They knew me well. They know who I am now. They also know just how far I have come. And their support and encouragement was invaluable. Because we all need those soul sisters who believe in you, when you are wobbling and wonder can I do this? Can I say that? Can I really show up and just be me?
Within the space of three weeks, the job was complete. I’d created and built everything and launched my new website. My new petite business emerged and bloomed. With me front and centre with a new identity in my own name and the flowers came too.
I’d like to say at this point it was painless. It wasn’t. It was blinkin’ hard work. Navigating change and transformation usually is. But still you dig deep and carry on.
But I knew I was right to trust my instincts. I’ve found my flow once more. I am aligned with my heart and soul. My patience has been rewarded. The transformation occurred.
It was time to go for it and emerge once more.
Everything about me and my work is intentional and often has a sentimental meaning behind it. Or at the very least a story to tell.
I don’t pretend to be something I am not with my brand. Or within my photos on Instagram. What you see is what you get. In reality too. And it may not be for everyone. But that’s the point. It is what it is. And I am what I am.
Someone said to me a few weeks ago “You’re different, I like that”.
Yes me too. I’ll take that as a lovely compliment. Because you can create a “social media show reel”. You can follow the crowd and do what everyone else does. You can bend and fit in to be liked online and off. But doing this means you are not being true to you. You’re replicating what someone else intended.
The flowers in my logo were deliberately chosen with care, the font with my name had to be changed from black to golden, to represent from the darkness into the light. The branches of wisdom blog is inspired by being among the branches of the many trees in our garden. We also have a big tree trunk that is perfect to sit on and tune in to some natural wisdom.
Everything, even right down to the image on my website and my business cards with the pink roses and me walking in the background is used consciously. Yes this is me. My husband took this photo whilst I was wandering around the gardens of a chateau I love in France. This place is special and close to where I used to live and work in my twenties. Only this was taken the summer I started my first petite business, when I felt a sense of freedom that has re-emerged once more with my new chapter.
I’ve come a full circle. Because my very first business also had a brand with flowers, pink and purple colours and a golden logo.
So when I refer to creating and establishing your own living brand, this is precisely what I mean.
And this is mine.
When I received my new logo files I decided to send them to my sister to take a look at.
She emailed me back and said “Well, it’s very pretty Mel, but what do the flowers have to do with your work?”.
I must write down a reminder to show her my magical notebook sometime soon!