Balancing Act


Right guys – first off, apologies for being a bit quite lately. Although I have been busy, if I’m going to be honest, my silence is mostly because August was a tough month for me. I really felt like I’d lost my purpose during that month and it was really effecting my mental health.

I know I should practice what I preach and bring you in on the story as it’s happening but I just kept thinking that tomorrow would be better… if I could just hold on a bit longer and push through, the next morning, I would be back to my focused, ambitious old self. But the next morning would come, my face being gently nuzzled by my cat to let me know it’s time to fed, and almost as soon as I became aware of the world around me, I knew I wasn’t right.

Over the years, I’ve really started to tune into the signs that help let me know that things aren’t quite as they should be. For me, the biggest is how I feel in the morning. And I don’t mean just generally feeling as though I could use more sleep or that I just don’t feel bothered that day. I’d say those feelings are pretty status quo! Who really wants to leave the warmth of a cosy bed!

Rising to the sense of panic and dread, like I’ve just realised my favourite person as died, is what rings alarm bells for me. This is usually followed by another half and hour or so in bed, trying to snooze off the worry. Then tears. I push them back for as long as I can, keeping myself busy with coffee and a list of the days to-dos but they always win.

For a while, I would still stick my usual schedule. Get into the office and work until the feeling past. I’ve found that being productive and seeing results often fills me with a sense of self-worth, leading to finishing the day on a feeling of accomplishment and sense of pride for battling through. However, this time finding peace wasn’t so easy. I felt lost. In the office, I didn’t know what I was meant to be working on. My mind went blank. Where was my passion? My excitement? My drive?

Usually at this point, I’d soon become my own worst enemy; immediately jumping to conclusions that I’d lost my mojo and I would never get it back because, honestly, it was total fluke that you made it this far to begin with and how could you be so silly to believe that you could ride a path to success forever? You, Lizzy Hodcroft, are a crazy optimistic depressive.

This time though, I did something different. I was gentle with myself. I felt the anxiety and dread and patiently waited for it to pass. In the meantime, I took more time for myself (without the extra weight of guilt for not working). I walked my dog with a friend in the park. I napped. I let myself get lost in the alternative world of a good book. I climbed more, rewarded with having with entire bouldering wall to myself during the middle of the day. I went on adventures in the middle of the week, hiking mountains and biking through forests. I left myself live and slowly shed myself of the burden that comes with responsibility and expectations.

I also didn’t let myself become all consumed in these little cocoons of pleasure. I was still checking emails and sending through orders to be dispatched. The trick was allowing myself to enjoy other aspects of my life without completely ignoring the rest, otherwise guilt would have swallowed me and the mounting workload would have left me completely blindsided and overwhelmed causing the dominoes of a dangerous cycle to fall.

I’m feeling better now. I’ve got that mojo back and I’m ready to focus. Most importantly, I’m ready to focus with a sense of purpose and passion.

So, my message to you dear reader, is one of permission. It’s not because you need it (I realise I’m not your mother or your boss) but because sometime we find it easier to relax when you’ve been given the acknowledge met that you deserve it. You have the go-ahead to take some time to enjoy some time to yourself, no strings attached. And the best part? It might even give you the energy you need when you start to settle back into your responsibilities.

Celebrating the Fuck Up

Last week, I was invited to speak at Fuck Up Nights, an event hosted by Mark Garder in Newcastle. I feel as though the entire night was made for me… an event to inspire and empower other businesses and start ups with our own stories of failures and fuck ups.


Below is a little press release about the night…

Or read the article HERE

North East startups gathered in Newcastle on Thursday (August 16) to share stories about their failures – in the hope of informing and inspiring others taking the entrepreneurial path.

The event, held at the home of arts organisation Ampersand Inventions on Pilgrim Street, saw business leaders discuss professional mistakes ranging from deals gone sour to product recalls.

Lizzy Hodcroft, owner of condiment company The Sweet Beet; Newcastle artist Feliks Culpa; the founder of street fashion brand Tahmina Arts, Tahmina Begum and Wajeeha of Chocolateeha

Lizzy said: “I think it’s really costly to dismiss your mistakes in life and in business. If you ignore them, then your dreams may never become a reality. If you get things right the first time, then it’s probably a fluke.

“By messing up on many occasions, it really did make me who I am today. I was always the black sheep in the family and if anything went wrong the finger would often get pointed at me.”

She added: “I took all of those failures to reflect who I was as a person and couldn’t let them go. This led to a really poor self-image of myself which led to depression, anxiety and drug abuse.”

Speaking further, Lizzy said entrepreneurs should “celebrate our mistakes and the journey we’re all on”.

She continued: Sharing failure is sharing vulnerability, and sharing this can make the strongest human and business connections a person can ever make. It’s painful, but it’s crucial.

“Those who learn from failure will succeed. I’ve learned more about myself this way and I know others in Newcastle and the North East can too.”

The evening formed part of a global movement called F*ckup Nights. It launched in the North East in May, as a fringe event at Newcastle Startup Week.

Jonpaul Kirvan, director at Ampersand Inventions, commented: “We physically re-built this old office space at Commercial Union House without any support or funding whatsoever. There was nothing here, but we had a great vision for it.

“My biggest mistake in business life was the inability to say no and I’ve had many moments in life where businesses I’ve been working for have been ripped off and I’ve ended up not getting paid. But here, we have seven floors that are full of amazing and creative businesses and we have given the power back to the people that work here.”

Jonpaul added: “We support them on all levels and they support us – it’s a true collective and we’re proud to be able to host events like this to allow people to grow together.”