My hat

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It may seem like a strange thing to do a blog post about and this isn’t just a challenge to see if I can blog about anything but it is something I have wanted to talk about this year on my blog.

For Christmas my wife got me a Dallas Cowboys beanie hat. Dallas Cowboys are my favourite NFL team and after 3 trips to the NFL in London this year for work, I would walk around with envy saying to myself I would love a hat like that after seeing many people wearing them in the colours of their various teams.

The perfect gift

I mentioned once to my wife how I loved the new NFL beanie range and thought no more of it. So I was blown away this Christmas when I unwrapped it. I was not expecting it as a gift whatsoever as I had only mentioned it once. I don’t want for much in life but when I see something I like I can get obsessive about it, so it was the perfect gift.

When people ask me what I want as a present for birthdays or Christmas I always struggle to know what to say because, like I say I don’t really want for much. I am the same when I have money to spend or am given money as a present I always struggle to find something that I truly want to spend the money on. All of this must make me a nightmare to buy presents for.

What it means

Now to some people a hat may be insignificant but to me it meant the world. With everything going on for someone to remember a brief conversation and get such a meaningful gift it meant more than any other present. It’s not always what your presents and possessions are, it is about what they mean and my hat means a lot to me and I wear it with pride. Not just because I like it and I like the Dallas Cowboys but because when I put it on I know I am loved and thought of.

Putting things off

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One thing I am trying to get better at this year is not putting things off. In the past I have been terrible at not putting things in the diary, not passing on information as soon as I got it and not doing things I knew needed doing.

One of our family things this year, in our year of being intentional, is “to not delay and act today.” I have taken this to heart and ran with it. Everything I can get done today, I try to. When things crop up I try to immediately put them in the diary or act upon them depending on what is needed.

Never a perfect time

I don’t know why I behaved like I did before but I know it is a way many people behave. For some reason people like just keeping things in their head and not sharing information with others. Some times people think it is best to hold on to information and break the news at a time they think is best, when in reality for bad news there never is a perfect time.

Putting things off is illogical and irrational. Putting things off gets nothing achieved, adds to your workload and adds to your stress. Putting things off may make you feel like you are in control but in actuality it is a sign of someone who isn’t in control or someone who will become out of control very quickly. People who succeed and get things done are people that don’t put things off.

Removing things from your to do list

Sometimes another good way to avoid putting things off is to not add to your list of things to do unnecessarily. Just look at the things you are putting off, are they necessary things to do or do they matter to you? If not throw them away, scratch them off your mental list and free yourself from them. Don’t add to your stress and imprison yourself with things that don’t matter. Take a step back and just look at what matters and what doesn’t.

Don’t put off sorting your life out. Your life, your happiness and your health should be what is most important to you and I know these are things that I want the most days of in my life, everyday you don’t get it sorted is a day you are robbing yourself of having the best day. Everyone will try and clutter your life so its time you started uncluttering it yourself.

Getting a foothold

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As long term readers of this blog will know, I am a huge a wrestling fan. Got in to it when I was a kid and have kept my interest going through adulthood. There are lots of adult fans of wrestling, some keep it quiet but I fall in to the category of those who don’t care what others think and am proud of who I am and what I like.

Recently I have started writing about the wrestling industry for a news company called The News Hub. In the past I have written about wrestling for many different sites and had my work featured in national news publications. It has been a good 6 years since I last wrote about wrestling though, so to pick it up again has felt good as I used to really enjoy doing it.

Mainstream

The great thing about working for a news company is that my articles on wrestling are next to major news articles on current affairs and in front of a big mainstream audience instead of a niche audience that wrestling websites get. On The News Hub I also have my own page where all my articles are archived so it is easy to build up a following and I am already seeing through the stats that my work is being seen by more people than it would if I just started a website or started writing for a wrestling website.

You can view my work here:

https://www.the-newshub.com/@adamsibley

This opportunity has allowed me to get a foothold in the Wrestling journalism game and because my articles are on The News Hub, Wrestling promotions and the wrestlers themselves are tweeting and posting about my articles. Writing at The News Hub has given my voice more authority and has helped me feel connected to the wrestling industry again, something I haven’t felt in some time.

The writer’s dream

It’s early doors but I have big plans for content and articles coming up and I can only see my audience growing and growing. It is so easy to write about things I love and this is why it has been such a pleasure to do. I feel no pressure to get articles written, I have a million and one ideas and enjoy every time I sit in front of a computer to write and that is the dream for any writer.

I have already seen so many doors open since I started writing for The News Hub and I know many more will in the future.

Why have so many people bought into the lie?

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The one thing in this world that really saddens me as how so many people have bought into the lie that we all need the fancy house and the fancy car, that we all need to work every hour we can, that we need to get big mortgages, finance options and loans so we can have everything we are told we should want.

The simple way to afford everything and not work yourself in to the ground is to buy everything you want. Yes that might sound strange but I am not kidding. If you don’t take out loans, finance, credit or leases, you never owe anybody anything and never have to worry about working to pay them off. When me and my wife want something we first make sure that we do want it and discuss why we want it, we then try and find it for the best price and then we pay for it up front which sometimes means saving up. Paying for everything up front also makes everything much cheaper.

Managing your finances

At the beginning of every month we look at the money coming in and then do our budget. We budget for all the expenses of the month and then with any leftover we decide what we want to do with it. This means we don’t go in to debt and we always know what we want and what we can afford, we never say “we are not sure if we can afford that or not.” Trying to raise the money you have coming in can be hard and out of your control but the money you spend is completely in your control and it is very easy to cut your bills. This month alone my wife and I were able to save hundreds by simply cancelling contracts, renegotiating contracts and changing providers.

Being a parent now myself I am seeing other parents being forced back to work to keep up with payments and the lifestyle they lead. I see so many children being looked after by grandparents now during the week as both parents are back at work full time before their child is even one. It seems to be a declining trend now in stay-at-home parents but I am so thankful that my wife is a stay-at-home mum. It was so important to us for our child to have one parent at home as we truly believe this is the best investment we can make in our child.

What really matters

Our child doesn’t care what house we live in, our child doesn’t care if her clothes are hand-me-downs, our child cares about our hugs, our smiles and our time. Time with our child is worth more than any amount of money to us or any possession we could buy.

Don’t let society and media tell you what you have to have or implant in your brain that you want something. Get what you truly want out of life, if you truly want to be at home to raise a family you will find a way to make it happen, it is never too late to make that change.

Proud

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One thing I am is very proud about the way my family do life. I always want to shout it to the hilltops. I want to do this not because I think I am better than anyone else but because what we do brings me joy. From the way we organise our time to the practical and emotional support we give each other, there isn’t any area that I am not proud of. Yes we are always looking to do things better and ways to improve but it’s that want to look after each other in the best way possible, which makes me so happy.

The sad thing I find in today’s world, that it is so hard to be proud. When you act proud for some reason it feels like you are rubbing other peoples faces in it and saying that you are better than other people, that your life choices are better than there’s. It seems to be hard to have a good day and celebrate that good day when others around you are having bad days. I hate that we live in a world where someone’s success can make another person feel inadequate or a failure. I don’t want to celebrate something good to make others feel worse, all I want to do is share good news.

Not better than anyone else

When I celebrate achievement I’m not trying to say I’m the best or say that I am doing things in the right way and that everyone should be doing this. I am simply saying – this is working for me and I am happy it is working for me. Yes I want happiness for other people and would love them to get success from doing things that have worked for me but I’m not saying it’s the only way or better than anyone else’s.

It feels like I am constantly having to censor myself, which I don’t like doing. It’s like when you have a conversation and someone says something negative like ‘sometimes I feel like strangling my kids’ you feel compelled for some reason to go along with it and agree even if you don’t feel this way.

When did it get this hard?

I just don’t know when it got this hard to be proud. I think in the modern age we are too busy trying not to upset anyone that we stop being happy ourselves, which in the long run just makes everyone unhappy. I hope that in years to come it becomes easier to be proud, as I never want to be anything other than proud.

How streaming and binging changed traditional TV

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Before the explosion of streaming platforms, there seemed to be great frustration from the majority of the TV viewing public when channels would schedule repeats or show old runs of TV shows. Fast forward to modern day and it seems that showing old re-runs is now something TV companies promote to the hilt.

Playing catch-up

Traditional TV channels that are eager to either catch-up with the likes of Netflix, compete with them or appeal to their audience are now filling their schedules with various seasons of programmes that we all used to have on DVD box sets but are now just gathering dust. I remember fondly the day that DVD box sets were the most sought after Christmas presents but now whenever I walk past them in the shops I just think to myself ‘I bet I can watch it all online somewhere.’ DVD’s no longer fit with the way we consume media. We want to watch episode after episode at the touch of a button, we don’t want to have to leave our chair and grab a DVD from its case and put it in the machine.

TV channels on the whole seem to be favouring this method of programme acquisition over commissioning new programmes and paying top dollar for exclusive first airings of new progrmming. TV companies seem to want to buy old programming on the cheap and instead invest money in promoting it. Instead of risking money on new programming it is seen as more beneficial to resurrect old programmes where there is a proven audience for it.

Cheap content

Because the content maybe cheap, channels are now no longer worried about making it stretch over weeks and months, now they can schedule it in ways so that you can binge watch like you can on streaming services. Also with series link features on satellite and cable providers’ people can store it up and watch it completely like their favourite streaming service.

I think personally it is a little too late from the TV channels to try and be a bit like your favourite streaming services. I think they traditional channels should be trying to be different and innovate. TV channels will never be able to completely replicate what the likes of Netflix can do, so why even bother. If I were them I would be trying to do something different to offer an alternative.

It seems that the likes of Netflix are now trying to invest even more in original programming and having more success in that market. This is only going to lead to more and more talent and companies being taken that way so if traditional TV want to keep relevant they have to up their game.

Life without Satellite or Cable TV

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This month our contract with Sky a UK satellite TV provider comes to an end. We have now decided to cancel and although I am a huge TV fan, I am excited for life after Satellite TV.

Before the broadband and On Demand explosion the only way to watch a lot of good TV seemed to be through Satellite and Cable, but sadly for those in that business those days are over. I think Satellite and Cable TV is no longer a must have and that it is a convenience purchase more than anything now.

Lots of options

We live in a world now where there are so many boxes and sticks you can plug in to your TV to access a range of content with no subscription required. There are also a range of TVs which have internet, streaming and On Demand built in and then there is the old fashioned way of just putting a HDMI cable in to your laptop to connect it to the TV, which works just as well for the cost of a few pounds for a cable on Amazon.

I am a subscriber to Netflix, which I can watch on the TV and not only this but I can watch a host of On Demand services from various channels as well through the TV. So although I will lose out on some programmes and content, I have enough so I won’t get bored. Then if all else fails there is always Freeview if I want to watch TV in the traditional way again, which is something I rarely do these days.

For those that are less scrupulous than I, I am sure there are many non-legal ways out there on the Internet as well to watch other content you normally have to pay to view. Not only this but most streaming platforms security is weak so allows many log-ins at the same time from one account, so friends and family can share accounts so that not everyone has to pay for it.

A bit of work

I enjoy the features Sky has like live pause, record and series link but these features aren’t enough to keep me and by doing a bit of work myself I can get round these issues. I just have to wait to watch things On Demand and make sure I watch things in a certain time period before they disappear from the On Demand service.

So my advice this week is – if you want to save money, try living without Satellite or Cable, I think you will be surprised how much TV you will continue to watch and how little you will pay.

Letter to my daughter

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Last year I became a father, which was the greatest moment in life. My wife and I were gifted with the most important job we will ever have, the chance to positively impact the life of someone who we think is so special. Our baby girl has unlimited potential, it is now our task to make sure she has the best life ever and that she is ready for anything that comes her way. We want her life to be full of possibility, opportunity, happiness and fulfillment.

Dear Lucy,

I am so proud to be your dad; nothing you could ever do would stop me from loving you, believing in you and thinking the world of you. Along with your mum I want to be your biggest fan, I want to be the one that teaches you right from wrong and that gives you the building blocks to achieve great things in life.

I want to so much for you. I want you to be dedicated and to be passionate about the things you care about and want to achieve. It is those that are dedicated and passionate that achieve great things in this world and I hope I can inspire you to be both of these things.

I want to give you the space to find your own dreams and then do anything I can to make them come true. I don’t want to live my life through you; I want to live my life with you. I can’t wait to find out about the things you are in to and enjoy doing. I will never laugh at anything you are in to or any dream you have regardless of how different or big it is.

I want you to know that you can talk to me about anything; I want you to know that I will never judge or condemn you. I will always listen and advise when I can. I won’t get angry or hurt when you don’t follow my advice as I think it is important sometimes for you to have your own opinion, to try and fail, to learn and to sometimes know more than I do.

The one hope I have for you is confidence. I want you to have confidence to be your own person, to not be led by the crowd, to have your own identity and to know who you are. I want the highest self-esteem and self worth for you. You are precious and worth more than anything else ever invented.

More than anything I want to do life with you, the ups and the downs. I want you to know you are beautiful inside and out. I want you to not let anyone bring you down and to put you off pursuing your dreams. Don’t lead the life others are leading or the life they want you to lead, keep hold of your dreams and passions – don’t give them up for anyone.

You’ve changed our world and I know you will change this world for others. I can’t wait to watch you develop in to the amazing adult I know you will be.

Love

Your Dad

A mission to love more than I am loved

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I have set myself a pretty impossible mission this year, to try and show love and act more in love to others than I am loved myself. I have a wife and child that love me so much and I am so thankful for them, they show me love that I think will be impossible to beat, however with the wider world I want to spread more love through my actions, than I have in the past.

I am doing this because I think if everyone gave more love than they received, this world would be an amazing place that never ran short of love. As a Christian I know I am loved everyday by God but I am not called to be loved by the world, I am called to show Christ like love and that is what I want to do.

Looking beyond myself

There are so many people that need love in this world that you will never run out of people to love. I want to look beyond myself and when I am out and about, to look where I can to be loving to people instead of just walking on. I want to be the one that stops.

Love can be anything from just lending an ear to someone so they can vent or helping someone you see that is struggling. A little bit of love goes along way and I think it is the best chance we have of helping change the world for the better.

The great thing about showing love is that it makes you feel brilliant as well, so not only are you helping others but you are also helping yourself. I don’t want to love others for selfless reasons but I think that it is great that everyone can get something from it.

Love is an attitude

I want loving to be my attitude. I want to be forgiving, I want to turn the other cheek as many times as it takes and never let my feelings stop me from loving on people. To create change the first thing you need to change is you, love is an attitude, it is something that needs to come from within and needs to be something that is acted out everyday.

Your love or your attitude to somebody might be the only thing that is keeping them hanging on or the only thing that brightens up their day. No one is sad for no reason so cut them some slack and instead of judging, just love on them. Regardless of what has happened everyone needs a bit of love in their life. Don’t let your feelings or opinions stop you on loving others.

 

2016 the year of living intentionally

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In our house over the last six months the big world has been ‘intentionally.’ Intentionally is the way we want to live our life and spend our time. We started at the back end of 2015 trying to live more intentionally but now for 2016 we want this to be a whole year of living intentionally.

In the last week of 2015 we thought about and wrote up our 2016 list of intentions. Our intentions aren’t like resolutions with very specific outcomes or all about self-improvement. Our intentions are a guide to how we want to live our life and put up there so we don’t forget what we want out of life. All of our intentions are things we can control and aren’t reliant on anyone or anything else.

Purpose

To us living intentionally is about doing things with purpose and when we are doing things, making sure that we have the reasons for why we are doing something etched firmly in our minds. This is even more important to us now with a baby to look after. Her development and growth is so important to us that we want to make sure that everything we do is helping her and that time isn’t wasted.

We don’t want to live life without a plan any more. We want to have targets and reach them. My wife and I have always been big fans of plans. We would take joy in planning the schedule and timetable for weekends and holidays but this is something bigger and different. Our plans now aren’t about minutes and hours; they are about life and are applicable to everyday of the year. We don’t want to be better some days of the year; we want to be better everyday of the year.

Committed

We would often find ourselves getting annoyed or frustrated when we hadn’t achieved what we wanted from a day, failed to reach a target or just felt like we had wasted time. We have always had goals and still do, but now by living intentionally they feel achievable and I know if we keep committed to this way of life we will achieve them.

Our list is filled with things to help TeamSibley as a whole and the individual members of it have better days, to grow as individuals and as a group, to help our mental and emotional wellbeing and most importantly things to make life fun. I am a true believer that if you make life fun, life becomes easier and although living intentionally requires thought and work, it will make life more fun, so it will be so much easier. With our way of life all our energy will be invested in moving forward and we will have to invest less in the emotional strain of when things aren’t going the way we wanted them to.

I hope others will take on the challenge this year of living their life intentionally, as I truly believe that it will change our lives for the better.