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By Megan Smiley, Nov 25 2019 04:17PM


There are many pros and cons of being self employed. Being my own boss, therefore I can do what I believe is right and I don't have to get approval from the powers that be is a big draw. Also the flexibility, in theory, that it provides. I say in theory because as most small business owners know, the boundaries between work and life do get pushed at times as you are so passionate and involved in the business. But probably the biggest pro for me is that I've been able to make a business and career out of doing something I think is really important and that I love, developing my business over the years to a place I want it to be.


On the other side, the cons. Well the fact you don't get holiday pay, sick pay or all the other benefits you might get from working for someone else. But apart from missing that 'oh doesn't this feel amazing being on holiday and getting paid for it', the biggest con for me would be not having colleagues. I work from my own studio and massage room and it's just me. So there aren't people to ask opinions about work issues, seek support when you need it, make a cup of tea for and maybe most importantly, to cover for you.


So on the first day of over four months maternity leave, I feel I've deserted my post with no-one to cover. I have of course made plans for my clients so they'll continue with their health and fitness journeys and I've found replacement people/activities but I can't help feeling like I'm abandoning them a little.


It is quite hard to plan for the future when it's baby orientated. When to finish? How long to take off? I mean who knows when he'll actually turn up or how he'll turn up! I've been optimistic/thinking very wishfully that he won't be too early/late or problematic arriving! But it is a very much unknown event, and an unknown time. Some women change their perspective of life after having a baby and don't want to rush back to work if going back at all, some decide to change careers, others carry on (as much as you can) as they were before. My plan is somewhere in-between, starting working one day a week relatively quickly and then upping to two days when it feels right, with full-time hours somewhere in the distant future.


As a person who likes to have everything planned meticulously and doesn't really do well with spontaneity and going with the flow these coming months, who am I kidding, years, might be somewhat of a change and challenge for me! There has never been such a massive life-changing event (as everyone keeps telling us – life will never be the same again once you've had a child!) that I've had so little control over. But in a weird way I'm actually looking forward to the uncertainty of how the next chapter will pan out. It's exciting, daunting and uncharted territory!


By Megan Smiley, Sep 25 2017 09:08AM

I believe you should try and continuously challenge yourself in life. They don’t need to be big challenges all the time, they can just be little things that put you slightly out of your comfort zone. I think it’s important for many reasons, mainly to help you to develop as an individual and to stop you getting bored with life


But I also think challenges are good as sometimes people succeed and other times they don’t. Some people might think of not succeeding as failure but it shouldn’t be and it isn’t a negative thing. Not succeeding at things can be beneficial on many levels. It can provide a certain clarity on an issue, and you can gain skills that are useful for other areas of your life, and maybe one of the more obscure but I think important benefits is people see that not everything is perfect, easy, right, fun, and that sometimes deciding to give up on something or not succeeding on a task is actually the best thing. Think of a failing relationship...


With social media encouraging a portrayal of perfect lives with success stories of nobodies becoming rich, famous and successful, it’s good to see and hear about the other side too. Many of these rich, famous or successful people had failures before and maybe that’s what made them succeed in the end. So another lesson there is to keep going with challenge after challenge!


My stance on challenges is probably why four years ago I left my steady office based job and became a personal trainer, and is probably why after nearly a decade in London, I’ve moved to Glasgow, leaving a place that is very much my home, where I started and established my own business and where many of my friends are, to set up all over again. Albeit this is with my husband, which makes it both less of a challenge - not so scary as not doing it on my own, but more of a challenge in the way that marriages are!


So I’m in full settling/setting up mood (or procrastinating by writing a blog post?!) and the house refurbishment is in full swing, my basement studio is nearly finished, so I now just need to find a load of new clients, make new friends and… book a holiday to ensure a certain level of sunshine in my life!


Why not set yourself a little challenge, by doing that thing you’ve always thought/talked about, be it swimming lessons, learning a language, changing jobs, getting a personal trainer (sorry!) and if you succeed great and if you don’t that’s great too!


By Megan Smiley, Sep 10 2015 08:48AM

As the days get shorter and the weather starts to feel more wintery, I always feel a pang of sadness to be saying goodbye to summer (not that it felt much like summer over the past six weeks!).


There are many reasons for this: I am a sun worshipper; I could spend hours lying in the sun soaking up the rays, and I feel the cold. So the fact I work outside in parks all day means I really notice the change. Plus on a more practical side the shorter days mean there are fewer hours in the day I can train people. And getting up when it's still pitch black, makes those 5.30am mornings that bit harder!


However, once I’m over that initial sorrow, I start to get excited about what the coming seasons have to offer. This might sound like a complete contradiction to what I just said above, but autumn is actually my favourite season. There is less of an expectation for good weather therefore less room for disappointment, and the colours are magical. Trees become things of real beauty, layers of leaves become glossy carpets and on those clear days with the sun sitting low in the sky, long slender shadows make everything look stunning.


Also, in summer the parks are full of picnickers and 'fair weather' park goers, but as the days get colder the parks get emptier, with only your hardcore people made up of fellow exercisers, dog walkers and a few random others. This creates a more peaceful (and fulfilling – I'm out in the cold when most others are sitting indoors) environment to be in.


Finally, with autumn follows winter, and those who know me, know how much I love all the festivities around Christmas, and then a cheeky ski trip in the New Year makes a very positive start to the year!


Basically, I love seasons and the change in nature, activities and people's behaviour you see throughout the year, and I would hate to live somewhere where it gets dark at the same time all year round and where you don't need a winter coat. So if you do hear me moaning about being cold, tell me to be quiet as you now know I secretly like it!


By Megan Smiley, May 20 2014 03:26PM

Before becoming a personal trainer I worked for the international development charity Right To Play who use sport and play to help disadvantaged children and youth around the world.


Last week was Right To Play's annual 5k run in Battersea Park, London so I went along to not only show my support by running the 5k but to lead the pre-race warm up for the 250 plus participants taking part in the run.


Warming people up in the sunshine in a park is nothing new for me, however doing it with a Lion by my side, and not just any old Lion but Chelsea FC's Stamford the Lion, was most definitely something new! Stamford performed dynamic stretches including squats and side lunges beautifully, he even accidentally attracted a small child to ambush the stage at one point!


Right To Play is a charity that will always be close to my heart not just because I worked there for a number of years but for the fact that what they do is amazing – giving children their fundamental right to play, and helping them to develop life skills through the activities they deliver.


As a personal trainer and fitness professional I can vouch for the power of physical activity be it for children, adults or lions - it's an amazingly powerful tool for making people happier and for making the world a more positive place.