Week 13 +14 — Business class for 45 minutes!

I highly recommend champagne for breakfast.

Not every day of course, but when there’s a suitable opportunity it should be seized with great enthusiasm.

Like on a morning when one happens to be flying to Paris. And especially when, for the first time in one’s life, one is taking to the skies as the proud holder of a British Airways Business Class Ticket! Hurrah! Due to the fortunate circumstance of my fella doing the booking and a lack of Frequent Flyer point availability for Cattle Class, he decided it was Business Class or nothing. Oh well, what’s a girl to do?

Of course the best bit of Business Class is you get to go to ‘The Lounge’ before the flight, with all its bells, whistles and free alcohol. Including champagne. And I don’t care what time it is in the morning, if there’s a free flute (or two) of the sparkly stuff on offer, I’m going to take it. It would be rude not to. At 7.00am.

And boy, what a happy little buzz that leaves you with (a glass of champagne first thing in the morning is worth three in the evening I say) as you glide through the airport, take advantage of early boarding and then the flight attendant takes your coat and hangs it up on a proper hanger, and you settle into your nice comfy seat with leg room and realise this is how the rich people live. It even makes reading the Daily Mail almost bearable; a mission I set myself whenever I fly BA and can pick up a free copy (I refuse to ever actually pay for it). I generally struggle to get past page four of this vehicle of fear and intolerance that apparently nearly 4 million Britons like to ingest daily, but I feel it’s important to educate myself from time to time on what said readers actually like to call news. With champagne I almost managed to get to page eight!

Of course, the downside of flying Business Class from London to Paris is that you are only in the air for about 45 minutes. Still, they manage to squeeze in breakfast which you eat with a real knife and fork, and you get to pat your delicate lips with a linen napkin after supping your tea from a Royal Doulton teacup. Now that’s the life!

And it did make me think about this whole ‘living abundantly’ thing.

If you’ve not heard of it, the idea is that you attract more abundance into your life when you live as if you are already wealthy. You order expensive food at restaurants, have regular massages and wear designer haircuts as if to the manor born and money will come to you. It’s a very appealing notion of course, but as a lifetime miser who has kept a spreadsheet of everything she’s ever spent since 2001 (and used paper notebooks before that) it’s one I find very challenging!

After my deep and involved study of The Shortest Business Class Flight Known To Man, I’d have to agree you do feel different when you sit at the front of the plane. If you were to do it regularly, would it make you feel braver in your decision making, more confident in your business activities, ready to head off to space on the first commercial flight Richard Branson offers? I don’t know. It’s certainly possible. I do know I certainly don’t feel like that after a Ryanair flight!

And I do know that as I’ve gradually attempted to become less frugal in my old age, my bank account appears to have handled it with stoic determination. Amazingly, it does not run dry just because I allow myself a pedicure a couple of times a year. Perhaps I need to loosen the purse strings a little more and see what happens.

So, it is with this general air of abundance in mind that I muse on one of my favourite topics since leaving the corporate world — the inability of traditional business to cope with the new world of work; you know the one where employees are treated as adults, where what you do is more important than how long you spend doing it, where there is transparency of salary, where there is a greater purpose than keeping the shareholders happy, and where you are allowed to bring your dog to work.

I compare that with the annual email that traditional companies have been sending their employees since 2008. You know the one, you’ve probably received it yourself.

It goes something like this.

“Times are tough. Our industry is struggling and we all have to pull together and work harder so that we can stay in the game. Because times are tough. We really do value you, but you know times are tough, so don’t expect any new resources, in fact we’re going to take away your circa 2005 computers and replace them with typewriters to save electricity, because times are tough. And actually the budget has been cut by 10 percent, because, you guessed it, times are tough and our customers don’t seem to want our stuff any more at the price we give it to them, so we have to do more of it and we have to make it cost less. Because times are tough. And it would help if you worked harder and did more unpaid overtime, and stayed glued to your Blackberrys while reading your kids their bedtime story. That would really help. Because times are tough.”

Of course, this is rarely accompanied with an announcement from the CEO (who is probably a man called John according to this article) that he is going to take a pay cut roughly equivalent to that of the department slashing, but hey, that’s the world we live in. Pulling together doesn’t quite go that far.

Other than prepping you for yet another year without a pay rise, what message does this kind of email send?

One of scarcity, not abundance.

Are companies digging their own graves with these messages of doom?
Is it a self-fulfilling prophecy?
What does The Universe think when a company feels so badly about itself it blames its failing business model on the staff who are just doing what they signed up to do (or most likely doing much more than what they signed up to do), rather than the actual decision-makers at the top?
What impact do such messages have on staff morale and vision, when year after year, they hear that they are not doing ‘enough’?

If you believe that wealth is created by behaving like someone with wealth, then it’s fairly obvious this is a road to ruin.

What if a company said something like this this instead:

“We’re not going to bother you guys with news on whether the company is keeping the shareholders happy or not, because actually that’s our job and not yours. Your job is just to keep doing the fabulous stuff you are doing and if you have any great ideas of things you’d like to explore that will benefit all of us then we’d love to hear about that as well. Because you guys on the ground are really good at what you do, and if you reckon we should do something differently, you are probably right, and we’d be fools not to listen to you and benefit from your knowledge and experience. Without you and the effort you put in, we wouldn’t have a company at all, and we really love you for it. You guys are fab, and you do a great job. You will continue to have everything you need to do your jobs well, and you will be rewarded, because you are the best and we know our customers will pay for that.”

That’s Business Class style business. That’s abundance thinking. That’s a company which refuses to degrade its product to keep the shareholders keen. I don’t know. I’ve never run a company. But I reckon you’d get a lot more bang for your buck with that attitude. Abundance rocks!

Celebrating Abundance…

So, with that in mind, I’m going to take some of my own medicine. Time for ‘Abundance Therapy’. I challenge the corporate world to do the same!

Each week, I’m going to do something that I consider a luxury. Something that costs money! Something where I once would have said: ‘Oh no, no need to spend money on that. I could save the dosh and do something else with it, in about 50 years, when I’m in an old people’s home and probably won’t have any money, and find I desperately need a few quid to bribe some teenager to buy me a couple of bottles of gin to see me through the next few days. That’s the kind of thing I could use THAT money for.’

No, no, no. As I partake in my act of luxury, I am NOT going to have a panic attack and think of how I could have invested that £35 pound pedicure in an investment trust. Oh no, the commentary that will be running through my head will be: ‘Of course I can afford to do this. I will always be able to make whatever money I need to pay for such fripperies. I live a life of abundance. Money just comes bucketing down on me as and when I need it — plenty for that old investment trust.’

That should do it.

I’ll probably start small. 
I’m unlikely to buy a private jet. 
But I might consider a first-class train ticket to Southend now that I’m into this upper-class travel thing.

Just once a week, I’m sure I can manage that. Maybe I should just make it once a month so it doesn’t cost so much. No!!. Be strong Butcher!. You can afford once a week…

Troubleshooting…

  • You think you are not worth it? You know, you tell yourself your just not that kind of a person. That’s for the Kardashians of this world, not for you. You’re just one of the plebs. That world of luxury was never meant for you. STOP!! That’s why the Kardashians are the Kardashians. Whatever you think of them, they do not politely stand aside and let others through when the golden tickets are being handed out, they get in there and make sure the Universe knows that they deserve the good life, just like anyone else. And so should you. Even if it’s just in a small way.
  • You think it’s a pointless exercise? You might be right. I don’t know. But there’s only one way to find out. Small steps of abundance. Little stepping stones of luxury you can walk on with your tippy toes. Why NOT try it? And at least your toes will look good.
  • You really can’t afford it? I remember times when I didn’t have enough money to get to the end of the month. And that’s very real. I get that. Just try a tiny luxury. Really tiny. That’s probably what I’ll be doing to start with. I don’t think it really matters what it is, it’s just important that you do it, so that you tell your head something different from that message of scarcity you have been giving it for so long. Buy a £5 power lipstick and watch as your world doesn’t fall apart. Buy yourself a coffee from Monmouths rather than Greggs, just once a week. Tell yourself you CAN afford it. You are perfectly capable of earning the money you need. I mean, there are really stupid people who live lives of abundance, why shouldn’t you do the same, what with your biting wit and razer-sharp brain!
  • You think this talk of abundance is a load of rubbish? Maybe. But how come there are people who seem to be able to make money over and over again, even if they lose it in between? Some people have the kind of brains where they expect good stuff to happen. And it does. It’s a miracle. and like I said, it’s worth a try.
  • You are not a big fan of money? You don’t have to be a fan of money. You can just be a fan of abundance, whatever that means to you. Does it mean having enough faith in your veggie garden that you can give away lots of your potatoes, confident that there will always be plenty more for you? That sounds like abundance to me. Have trouble giving away love? Try it, you might be surprised how much comes back your way…

Good things that happened this fortnight…

There have been SO MANY good things happening of late that I was far too busy having fun to write this blog. So that’s why you are getting two weeks at once…

  • A weekend in the ever-delightful Kent coast toy-town of Whitstable with a group of friends who know how to enjoy country walks in the rain and share witty repartee over copious bottles of red wine. There may also have been some 80s music.
Walking — Image by Suzi Butcher
  • The above-mentioned trip to Paris. It may have been cold on the streets, but it was warm in the bistros where five euro cocktails were a winner as I caught up with a friend I had not seen for 15 years and got to know her fabulous family.
  • This little find in Paris. I could have spent hours here as people played on the plinths.
Le Palais Royal, Paris — Image by Suzi Butcher
  • A visit to Shakespeare and Company bookshop in Paris — every travel/book blogger’s dream…and there were cherry blossoms outside!
Outside Shakespeare and Company Bookshop, Paris — Image by Steve Ager
  • These chairs in Paris. Designed for conversation. I like cities that take their public furniture seriously.
Conversation Chairs at Le Palais Royal, Paris — Image by Suzi Butcher
  • Wandering Wednesday along the Regent’s Canal in London. As an added bonus I stumbled across the Word on the Water book barge.
Word on the Water book barge, Regent’s Canal, London — Image by Suzi Butcher
  • Some encouraging words from a client who said I’d “written the best report he’d ever been presented with”. Positive feedback goes a long, long way in making you feel you can do stuff.
  • A long overdue catch-up with my Start-Up Tribe. It’s very easy to wander off the Start-Up path when real life gets in the way, and these guys just keep your stomach a-fluttering with excitement and opportunity. We will all get there in our own time, but this lot, they are my rock and my champions. Thanks guys.

Just some of the highlights. There have been many more moments to treasure…here’s to abundance…

Suzi


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FOR HANDY REFERENCE: 2016 habits glued to the Jenga Tower so far:
The post that started it all — For the first time that I can remember, I’m not waiting for something…
Week 1 — Get up early, ignore social media/email/news-infused mobile phone with special dopamine enhancing features and head straight to old-fashioned pen and paper for writing of Daily Intentions and identification of day’s Peace Mission
Week 2 — The keeping of the ‘DONE!’ list, predominantly made up of achieved Peace Missions.
Week 3 — Breaking the day down to a magic formula 
Week 4 — Getting a glass of water down you first thing in the morning!
Week 5 — Learning to code in my bid to become a ‘Woma n in Tech’
Week 6 — Gratitude Dude — filling in my 10 year gratitude journal
Week 7 — A reluctant introduction of exercise to my day (stretching)
Week 8 — Wandering Wednesdays! Making the most of the world around you.
Week 9 — Reading up on mindfulness — but no plan yet!
Week 10 — More exercise, because, well, you just have to…
Week 11 — Taking stock of your day with Evening Reckonings
Week 12 — Quarterly Reflection — How am I doing so far?