International Day of Happiness

Are you happy? Most of us say we are, but are we? Is it hard to know just how happy we are in our busy lives?

This month Zoe Thompson of Phoenix Life Coaching has allowed me to steal her blog from the 20th of March which was International Day of Happiness.

Zoe will hopefully be featuring in another blog later in the year about goal setting, I have a few guests lined up for that one where we will be looking at Financial, emotional and physical goal setting.

“If you don’t know where you want to be how do you know what path to follow.”  –  Ben Mason about 5 minutes ago.

Hope you enjoy the thoughts on happiness below.

 

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International Day of Happiness – Advancing the global happiness movement

Did you know that the 20th of March is International Day of Happiness?   A day to ‘inspire, mobilise and advance the global happiness movement’

Why that day? To coincide with the March equinox, the moment when the plane of the earths equator passes through the centre of the suns disk.   More commonly known as the beginning of spring. (The U.K. appears to have received the memo late this year!).

Where are you on the happiness scale? If you were to mark out of 10 (10 being high) what would you score yourself today?

Does today represent a typical day for you?

How often do you reflect and consider how happy you are and what you can do differently to increase your level of happiness?

There is only one person responsible for your happiness and that is you.

Others can influence it, but only for as long as you let them.  They are certainly not responsible for it, that lies with you.

Being conscious of your own level of happiness daily is so important, yet so many people just go from day to day without giving it a second thought.   When was the last time you gave it a moment of thought?

Is there such a thing as being too happy?  I don’t think so!  I think we all have some space to be a little happier.

So how do we make this happen?

  1. Be busy with things you are passionate about. Say ‘yes’ to things that will challenge and excite you.  Say no to things that are not in alignment with your ethics, morals and values.
  2. Happiness comes from within don’t rely on external factors.
  3. Exercise and eat well. Don’t neglect this.  It will impact your physical and mental wellbeing
  4. Sleep & rest is important, don’t take it for granted it will impact your mental and physical wellbeing.
  5. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable and step outside of your comfort zone
  6. Strive for progress. Work on your personal growth and if you don’t set personal goals make sure you are actively seeking opportunities.
  7. Don’t be a victim of storytelling. If you are bringing the past into the present be aware of how you are doing this.  Remember and focus on the positive elements and leave the negative behind.
  8. Make a ‘Bucket list’ of things you want to do.
  9. Don’t wait to be happy. Don’t wait for a reason, don’t wait for a person or a holiday or a new job or any of these external factors.  Be happy now!
  10. Be present. Enjoy the moments of life.  Put down your phone, switch off those notifications, remember it with your minds eye rather than watch your most important moments through a phone screen.
  11. Express Gratitude every morning for the things in life you are grateful for. Show your appreciation to others.  Don’t keep either quiet or to yourself.
  12. Find the positive in every situation, there is always a positive, even if the positive is that you have learnt something.
  13. Spend time with people who are different and not like you. Take time to get to know people who have a different upbringing, belief, culture, way of thinking.
  14. Help others, give back to your community and those around you. You will get as much back from this as you give, if not more.
  15. Be conscious of your emotions and behaviours. Are they of use to you? Do you need to let them go?

 

If you would like more advice and support on how to start thriving in life and being truly happy then why not join me at one of the Phoenix Wellbeing Webinars.

Alternatively, please email me on Zoe@phoenixlifecoach.co.uk to book in a no obligation free clarity call with me to discuss how Phoenix can support you.

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I’d like to thank Zoe for the blog, Zoe is really well thought of and I’d have no problems in recommending her services.

In the crazy world we live in with so much to think about and so much going on around us we could all benefit from just stopping for a moment and doing some simple introspection.

As always If you would like to find out more about Life Insurance, Critical Illness cover, Income Protection or would like to understand your situation please feel free to give me a call or drop me an email.

Best wishes,

 

Ben Mason

0117 979 0118 – 07702 577 452

Ben@futuresprotected.co.uk

www.futuresprotected.co.uk

Futures Protected Ltd and Pink Home Loans are not responsible for the content of any third-party website.

83% of you have already given up on improving yourself – Don’t!

So its the 1st of Feb and according to various media sources 83% of people have already failed on their new years resolution. The top two reasons given 1) “Struggled to find time” and 2) “I didn’t really know what I was doing”.

I asked a friend of mine who is a personal trainer to see if he could provide some help for those interested in giving a healthier lifestyle another shot. I gave him two instructions, make it easy to fit in and easy to follow. I think if you read the below you will agree Rob (of RL Fitness) has delivered just that.

Hopefully you will enjoy the below and find it easy to work into your day…over to Rob.

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Let me introduce myself I’m Robert Leat from RL fitness, I work with a lot of busy professionals and business owners. I help them find ways to fit exercise into their busy schedule.

One of the ways I do this is by giving them short but intense workouts they can do anywhere with no equipment.

Ben has asked me to put together a short 10 minute workout that his blog readers could do first thing in the morning and requires no equipment. Although the workout is only 10 minutes long as it uses a HIIT approach (alternating a period of high intensity with a period of rest/ low intensity)

It’s incredibly effective as it helps to speed up your metabolism which means you will burn more calories.

This workout is also a great way to wake your body up first thing in the morning, I suggest doing it pre breakfast and shower.

This workout is made up of 10 exercises, 20 seconds work then 10 seconds rest, repeat for 2 rounds.  No equipment is required, and you only need a small amount of floor space. Use a HIIT workout timing app to keep track of the timings. If you are unsure of what any of the exercises look like or how to perform them, please just click on the exercise name for  a tutorial.

Safety disclaimer – please consult with a doctor before undertaking exercise to make sure that it is safe for you to do so. If you feel any extreme pain or discomfort during or after the workouts please seek medical guidance.

 

Exercise Work Rest
Squats 20 secs 10 secs
Lunges 20 secs 10 secs
Mountain climbers 20 secs 10 secs
Push ups (go onto knees if unable to do full push up) 20 secs 10 secs
Crunches 20 secs 10 secs
Bench dips (use chair or edge of sofa/ bed) 20 secs 10 secs
Plank up downs 20 secs 10 secs
Pike push up 20 secs 10 secs
Bicycle crunch 20 secs 10 secs
Flutter kicks 20 secs 10 secs

 

Finishing off your day

Something else that is very important when it comes to health is sleep, for an adult it’s recommended that we should be getting between 7-8 hours of sleep a day. But often many of us don’t manage to get enough sleep. A lack of sleep leaves you feeling exhausted and reaching for endless amounts of coffee.

But did you know lack of sleep can also lead to weight gain? A lack of sleep can affect the hormones which are responsible for controlling our appetite, lack of sleep makes you feel hungrier and less satisfied by food so you eat more and subsequently this leads to weight gain.

So what can you do to finish off your day and get more sleep?

  1. Stop using technology before bed

The blue light on technology can make it difficult for you to fall asleep, it’s also very easy to get distracted by social media. So stop using phones, computers and tablets etc before bed.

  1. Meditate for 10 minutes before bed.

Something I do on a regular basis is meditating before I go to sleep. I find this helps me to unwind and feel more relaxed. A great app I recommend for meditation is headspace.

I also suggest checking out the honest guys youtube channel as they have a ton of meditation videos.

  1. Make sure your room is the right temperature

Make sure your room isn’t too hot or too cold as this could make it difficult for you to sleep, as you feel uncomfortable.

  1. Make sure it’s dark in your room

Invest in blackout blinds or curtains with blackout lining to keep street light and daylight out of your room, which could keep you awake.

 

I hope the 10 minute workout for you to start your day will be something you can fit to your schedule, the difference it can make will shock you. Combining the workout with the tips to help you finish off your day  will have you moving towards your physical goals in no time.  For more content like this check out my blog.

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In summary I’d like to thank Rob for taking the time to provide this for my readers. Hopefully it will help some of you that have lost your way on those once determined resolutions.

If you have any questions for Rob please feel free to visit his website RL Fitness

It is also worth mentioning that Rob is offering a free 30 minute Personal Training session to all my readers, to redeem this please contact Rob and quote FuturesProtected30 and he will book you in.

 

As always If you would like to find out more about Life Insurance, Critical Illness cover, Income Protection or would like to understand your situation please feel free to give me a call or drop me an email.

Best wishes,

 

Ben Mason

0117 979 0118 – 07702 577 452

Ben@futuresprotected.co.uk

www.futuresprotected.co.uk

Futures Protected Ltd and Pink Home Loans are not responsible for the content of any third-party website.

 

World Health Heroes – Your personal wellbeing team.

I can’t believe it is December and already the last blog of the year. This December blog is all about an organisation called the World Health Heroes.

The World Health Heroes is an organisation focused on improving the, physical, emotional and mental health of those that need it. Whether it be through their huge date base of “Heroes” across the UK offering every therapy and activity from acupuncture through to yoga or the amazing seminars and retreats they run with talks and therapy experiences.

Below is the interview with their founder Owen Morgan. Hope you enjoy it.

 

Q – We will start with a very open question. Tell us an over view about World Health Heroes and about yourself?

The World Health Heroes is a community of health and wellbeing experts across the UK. We are working together to bring our services and treatments to those most in need who can’t afford them. Doing this via our forthcoming foundation in which we use 50% of the profit we make as a company to pay on behalf of these clients. 

I suffered for years with depression and anxiety and felt so isolated as I had no money and my only option was medication that was free. This is a huge problem within the UK and better access to complementary health therapies is vital for the wellbeing of so many.

Q – When we met one of the things I found so different is your keenness to look at therapies, events, awareness and sharing of knowledge and group it together. Can you tell my readers about why delivering in these different ways is important?

The most important thing we can do as a group is raise awareness and educate the world on what fantastic options there are for the improved wellbeing. We want to help people make the right choice for them and offer them a variety of treatments. Our events and video channel allow us to share our knowledge and skills. Every client is different and as a combined force we can find them the best option for them.  

Q – I believe my readers will particularly interested in your plans to help provide complementary therapies to people who might not be able to afford it and with a NHS that doesn’t always have scope for provision for all. 

It is vital we with have a system that provides access to complementary health for free to those who are unemployed through illness, on extremely low income or part of support groups for those chronic conditions. We have long-term visions to work alongside the NHS and local GP’s to complement their great work.  

Q – The media can sometimes be reluctant to embrace a different way of working but they have been kind and keen to know more about what you are doing. Why do you think that is?

In the modern day mental and physical health is much more recognised and we are talking a lot more about it. This allows it to become much more mainstream and open up the door to the variety of support available. This is a perfect time to have a service such as ours. Working with the media will boost and raise awareness of the power of complementary health and we can reach so many people in need. 

Q – If people are reading this and want to find out more can you break down what is available to them and how to find out what is happening in their area. Maybe outline a few things happening in November and December.

On December 16th in Bath we have our Annual Christmas Conference that will celebrate where we have been and where we are going in 2018. A chance to find out a whole lot more about the company. Tickets are available here 

Across 2018 we will have retreat days and our motivational conferences and tickets can be found here when the are put on sale https://www.worldhealthheroesuk.com/event/world-health-heroes-annual-christmas-conference-2017/

Our next events are..

A Retreat day in Swansea on January 21st

A Motivational Conference in London on February 3rd 

A Retreat day in Saltford, near Bristol on March 3rd 

Potential Patients/Users

Members of the public interested in Complementary Health and those with low income 

Potential Heroes

Therapists, practitioners and wellbeing experts across all modalities of complementary health. 

Potential Partners

HR expert, Business coaches, Social media experts, accounts, website builders, designers and so much more 

 

I hope you enjoyed the article and will visit their website to find out more. They are doing some great things and providing some amazing services. If you would like to know more please visit their website or get in touch with Owen Morgan by email worldhealthheroes@gmail.com

As always If you would like to find out more about Life Insurance, Critical Illness cover, Income Protection or would like to understand your situation please feel free to give me a call or drop me an email.

Next months blog will aim to help us get back on track and will feature personal trainer Robert Leat of Robert Leat Fitness and some tips to start off the year.

Best wishes and have an amazing Christmas.

 

Ben Mason

0117 979 0118 – 07702 577 452

Ben@futuresprotected.co.uk

www.futuresprotected.co.uk

Futures Protected Ltd and Pink Home Loans are not responsible for the content of any third-party website.

YENA – Are these the business leaders of tomorrow?

Who better to help young entrepreneurs than… a young entrepreneur, Ash Phillips!

Each month I like to put out a fresh blog and for those that have been reading them for the last 13 months will know the topics have been quite varied (previous blog list) with some amazing contributors sharing their projects, stories or insights.

Initially this month though I was simply going to re-distribute last November’s as it is so important, relevant and critical to saving lives of men. However, I thought why not put out two blogs?

So, you lucky things get two this month.

Once I decided on doing a second blog I knew exactly what I wanted the blog to be; something new, uplifting and not related to health and wellbeing. So, I contacted Ash Phillips a young entrepreneur who I have recently started working with and asked him if he wanted to share the story of what his company is and what they are doing.

I met Ash Philips at a networking event a few months ago, loved the sound of what he is doing and got involved a week later.

Below is are a few words from YENA about themselves and their founder.

 

Starting & growing a business is, arguably, one of most rewarding things someone can set out to do. However, it can easily be one of the hardest things to achieve. The incredibly steep learning curve, large outlay of cash, lonely nights working away on something that, statistically, is more likely to fail than to work.

YENA is an organisation that sets out to make this whole journey easier, more affordable, more enjoyable and, overall, more likely to succeed.

For four years it’s existed as a community of what it dubs ‘Future Leaders’, enabling the next generation of entrepreneurially minded individuals – usually business owners, but sometimes ambitious professionals too – to connect with one another across 10 event locations in the UK.

Since Dec 2016 though, it’s membership has been given access to brokered deals on tech, business systems/solutions. Reduced rates on professional services, with access to exclusive member sounding boards, networking and educational events, warm ‘human powered’ introductions and more, for just £15 per month (+ vat).

YENA’s aim is that this small subscription gives someone everything they need to start & grow a business, shortening the learning curve, making the journey less lonely and, overall, making it more likely to succeed by being involved in both access to services and solutions and a likeminded community.

Through the time of it’s conception, to it’s new developments YENA’s founder Ash Phillips has been leading the way in connecting people across sectors, mentoring those who are often underserviced by other ‘tech only’ or other niched incubators who are connecting with businesses who are only raising funding.

YENA has an ethos that looks to develop and help those who are members and their founder Ash was recently awarded TechSPARK’s Mentor of the Year. Alongside this award the provision by Ash of a TEDx talk and then placement on last years Maserati100 list, alongside entrepreneurs such as Richard Reed (Innocent Smoothies), Stelios Haji-Ioannou (Easy Group) and previous winners such as Peter Jones & Richard Branson, have given credence to the work YENA are doing across the UK – something unforeseeable when running the first meetup in 2013 and YENA wasn’t even imagined as a business, just as a simple local meetup group for likeminds.

In 2018, new developments will see YENA move to act as a virtual accelerator and membership community that helps people start & grow remarkable businesses all over the world. It’s addition of exclusive video content with experts on all manner of subjects and refreshing approach to online-chat powered ‘digital mentoring’, will allow them to help people grow businesses, wherever they are, regardless of their circumstances, without application and fear of being rejected.

 

Ash Phillips – explaining some of the common challenges faced by young business men and women.

 

Some of you will have read the above and parts of it won’t resonate with you, possibly because you work in a traditional style job or workplace and are not in the start up space, others will have read it and see a dynamic new style company building and growing while helping others. The world of business is changing, much in the same way the high street has changed in the last decade.

It was important for me to have Ash contribute for a few reasons but there is one that I am sure he won’t know until he reads this himself. I hear many derisory comments about millennials and have at times (despite just being one) made them myself. However, having spent time with Ash, met some of his colleagues and worked with a few of the companies who are YENA members these “millennials” could not be further from the stereotype banded around.

These people do not expect anything, there is absolutely no feeling of entitlement. They are nose to the stone workers, trying to carve out a company and build something for their future. Some are looking to solve a problem that most of us don’t even know exists yet, some are taking a service and making it fit a digital age, others are looking at the way young people buy a product and service and making it accessible in a whole different way. I can say with total confidence many of the members of YENA will be the business leaders of tomorrow, these people are clear on what they want to do and my goodness they are going to try and get it done.

To close off, I enrolled Future’s Protected with YENA as a member and you can see from the above why I am proud to be a part. I will be helping to develop the next generation of future leaders. Maybe more importantly I will be helping with one of the most overlooked parts of running a business, the importance of protecting its people, which without them, it wouldn’t be able to run. Future’s Protected are looking forward to working closely with YENA to help educate and ensure that more next-gen entrepreneurs understand the importance of being covered in any instance and ensuring that more businesses are able to succeed even when the unexpected happens.

If you want to be involved with YENA or find out more about what they do please contact Ash via email at ash@yena.co.uk alternatively please take a look at YENA website.

If you would like to find out more about business protection and what I am doing for members of YENA or if you or anyone you know has any questions about Life Insurance, Critical Illness cover or would like to understand how I can possibly help their situation please feel free to give me a call or drop me an email.

Best wishes and try to enjoy what is left of November before the UK goes “Full Christmas”,

 

Ben Mason

0117 979 0118 – 07702 577 452

Ben@futuresprotected.co.uk

www.futuresprotected.co.uk

Futures Protected Ltd and Pink Home Loans are not responsible for the content of any third-party website.

Talking anxiety, it really does help.

Regular readers of my blog might have realised that I don’t often “talk shop”. In fact, only three of my blogs have been about different types of Life, Critical Illness, or Income Protection insurance.

So, I decided for October that I was going to do a blog that related to Futures Protected and what I do, I’d even started to write it while away in the New Forest. BUT  I went and met another interesting person with an equally interesting story to tell. I felt this story needed to be shared and that the sooner the better.

I first met Nick Elston at a business breakfast and he was a jolly chap, big old smile crashing through some facial hair and a nifty waistcoat, we didn’t talk much as we were the other sides of the room but we exchanged pleasantries. A week later I met him again and we spoke a little and I was struck by what a gregarious, fun guy he was, and he is.

But life has not always been that easy for him, the third time I met him I had the pleasure of being at an event where he was giving a talk about how he has overcome much of the anxiety that had held him back for 30 years.

Below is a reflection on the whirlwind few weeks Nick had, some of his thoughts on discussing anxiety and how he hopes to help people.

‘A Showman’s Life: How I stepped up to talk about Mental Health’  –  Nick Elston

So – there I was… May 2014

Trembling…

Emotional…

Scared…and about to bare my soul in front of 32 people at a networking meeting.

After 30 plus years of battling with Anxiety, GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) & OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and despite the taboo nature of mental health I had decided to take a stand & step up to speak about my story.

What followed for me were 20 very long, mildly sweaty, painfully uncomfortable minutes of me delivering my story. The experience for me was far worse than the audience who stood up and applauded me. I then fielded a multitude of questions, I’d struck a chord!

Afterwards, I felt a little better. Only a little, so I made a decision. ‘I’m going to do it again!’

So, I did, then again and again and within a week I’d decided to take my story on a speaking tour of the UK, I toured the various breakfast, lunches and evening meetings of the business network I belong to, 4N.

A few weeks later, I didn’t just feel a little better like after my first talk, I felt a lot better. I was now back in Bristol and somewhere on that journey through confronting and discussing my issues my OCD & GAD were gone. I was still left with something, ‘just’ my regular Anxiety – but I was no longer afraid, I knew I could do this – I felt powerful, strong & in control for the first time ever!

Fast forward to present day and I have since spoken at hundreds of events – and now speak to thousands of people and run professional workshops on Anxiety, Mental Health, Confidence & Resilience.

But it all started with that initial choice to ‘step up’ & speak.

My journey has been an empowering and surreal one, I went from hiding my mental health challenges from even my closest people, to speaking about them publicly even to the point that last week I was discussing what walk on music I’d be using for a national speaking event.

Why are we afraid to be honest & open?

When Ben and I spoke about me writing this we discussed some previous Futures Protected blogs, I was very happy to hear that one he published is about a charity working with young men to help them discuss their problems, their worries and to help them open up. This is great to hear as I believe being open is the key starting point to getting towards dealing with your mental health issues.

Many people have this perception that people might reject us, make a judgement, or simply avoid us. I too felt like this but I found the more I spoke the more people were queuing up to help me and offer support.

And the few who didn’t?  Well I don’t need those people in my life anyway.

So, I encourage you, if you have overcome a challenge, if you have lived through a painful experience and survived then ‘step up’ and tell your story. Maybe even deciding to stand up and tell your story could be the first step in helping conquer your anxiety.

If you can help just one person, if you can positively impact just one life then it’s all worth it. My very worst challenge – 34 years of a life with Anxiety – is now providing me my most exciting future!

To those who might be reading this and not ready to take such a large step please allow me to offer you the following thoughts.

Surround yourself with people who will inspire you to thrive, support you when you fall & won’t judge you for being your true, authentic self. Try the next time someone asks you how you are to be honest with them, tell them how you are feeling you never know where it will lead.

And remember, if they reject you – it’s best you find out now rather than later!

And as for the title ‘A Showman’s Life’…

Firstly, I am a huge Country Music fan and ‘A Showman’s Life’ is an amazing track by the legendary George Strait! (Check it out!)

Secondly, the lyrics to this song are so powerful, they resonated with me.

The song describes the life of a superstar singer, who to the outside world has it all. Despite whatever is going on in their life they are expected to step in to the spotlight and put on a performance, regardless of the pain they may be suffering.

This song it was what inspired me to start this journey, I hope over the coming years I can help others start their journey too.

Yours,

Nick Elston

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The story above from Nick doesn’t really do him justice as it is unfair to contain Nick’s story to short format print, but I hope if you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety or any mental health issues that reading the above might help in some way.

Nick asked me to include his email so that if you have any questions, would like to know more or perhaps book him to speak at your event, school, club, organisation etc then you can do.

http://www.nickelston.com/

nick@talkinganxiety.co.uk

Next month I will hopefully write something about my industry but I dare say I will find something far more inspiring to write about. BUT in the meantime, if you or anyone you know has any questions about Life Insurance, Critical Illness cover or would like to understand their current policies and situation more please feel free to give me a call or drop me an email.

Best wishes and have a lovely October,

 

Ben Mason

0117 979 0118 – 07702 577 452

Ben@futuresprotected.co.uk

www.futuresprotected.co.uk

Futures Protected Ltd and Pink Home Loans are not responsible for the content of any third-party website.

Helping people – Sikhi Alpha – A charity destined to make a difference

Hi all,

Hopefully you have had a great summer and despite the UK weather managed to get out an enjoy it. The rain did pause for one day in mid-August just long enough for me to make an idiot of myself. Some of you might have seen the awful fund-raising video where I attempted to do “kick ups” using a cricket bat and ball (my lack of football skills preclude me from the more traditional method). This video was for a good cause though; to raise awareness and funds for a new charity, Sikhi Alpha.

The charity has been founded by a friend of mine. We first met back in 2005 when playing table football both continuing to do so for the last 12 year and have remained good friends. I often get asked to be involved with or donate to charities but like all of you I have limited time and money. Since setting up Futures Protected I have decided to try to do more for a few charities rather than just little bit for a lot of different ones. This will hopefully be a more effective use of my time and resources.

As a result, Futures Protected will be supporting two charities in 2017 and 2018. Below are the four reasons why Sikhi Alpha will be one of those charities.

– The charity is trying to help people help themselves and bring about long-term change, development and improvements. They are not simply throwing money at problems.

– They are running a series of campaigns so you are able to see if one in particular catches your imagination, and you can donate to just that fund.

– 100% of the funds raised go to the people that need it. The operational costs of the charity are funded by the board and founder.

– They are not about political posturing or point scoring. It is about helping people and is without self-interest; it is genuine altruism.

Below is an interview with the founder. Please make a donation if you can. If you are not in a position to help financially, you can help by spreading the word and supporting them on social media.

Interview 21/8/2017 Jujhar Singh and Ben Mason

Q – It is probably best that we start with a fairly open question. Can you tell us about your aim at ‘Sikhi Alpha’ and what you are hoping to achieve?

Sikhi Alpha focuses on one core theme: Inclusivity. Our mission is to end inequality and inequity worldwide by empowering people in local communities to raise themselves up. This starts by providing basic human survival needs, including safety and education, in a prejudice-free way. We believe that when such needs are met, individuals can instead focus on fulfilling their potential and bringing further innovation to the world. By sharing resources more appropriately, we can reduce structural and economic disparities. By removing exclusivity, we can initiate change and end generational cycles of persistent discrimination.

 

Q – There are an awful lot of charities asking for money these days but one thing that drew me to your work is that you are trying to help people help themselves, it is not just about handouts and money. Could you expand on that?

We feel it is important to empower individuals so that a positive change in their lives can be made sustainable. We look beyond money to analyse what is creating the disparity and how we can address it. In one case, a lack of adequate education or even free education robs millions of people their future. In another case, many communities live without protection, unnecessarily living troubled lives. Whether it is gender inequality or humanitarian emergencies, we differentiate our work by creating long-lasting changes. We also work hard, not to duplicate efforts already being made, however we do not shy away from supporting other organizations by using our global network and expertise as an advantage.

 

Q – The backpacks for schools is your first project/cause. Can you tell us a little more about that and perhaps shed some light on future projects?

Our Backpacks for School campaign is designed specifically for children from families with low income who simply cannot afford required school supplies. We know such an impediment can affect a person’s life, so we aim to motivate and inspire about the gift of learning and ensure life-changing education for thousands of school children. Being prepared for the classroom can influence learning beyond school grounds, and we know this can expose many others to know and think differently, from family to friends to many others in local communities.

Regarding future projects, we are currently working with four themes;

  • Fairness – tackling gender inequality (legal equality, and reducing harmful practices such as discrimination and sex trafficking).
  • Education – backpacks for school
  • Safety – supporting women and child who have suffered from domestic violence
  • Humanitarian Action – employing more aid workers and purchasing basic needs inventory for places such as Yemen, Central African Republic, Syrian refugees, Sudan, Somalia

 

Q – On your website it is mentioned a couple of times that every penny or dime raised goes to the projects, how important was that for you and how have you managed to achieve this?

Administrative and operating costs are often a necessity in running charitable work as volunteering can only go so far. However, we have been blessed by our board and private sponsors who front all of these costs, so that 100% of all donations flow through towards our causes. Giving one’s hard earned savings to others can be a difficult choice, so we feel it is important to use every penny to drive more impact.

 

Q – Lastly and most importantly now my readers all know more, how can people get involved in both fundraising, increasing awareness and future projects?

All of our global volunteers have been involved in charitable work in the past, but many felt they needed a platform to leverage more expertise and insight from others. This is one reason why we exist, however the level of our success still relies on them and the public. It is important to remember that anyone can make a difference for our mission, whether it is seeking donations, raising awareness or devising strategic initiatives. Following and sharing our pages only takes a few seconds, and we can use these important channels to provide updates on our research, current campaigns, and future ones. We can also use it to engage with people globally, efficiently reaching out to individuals and non-profit organisations.

You can find Sikhi Alpha’s social media links here… Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

If you would like to get involved or find out more then please visit the website or contact them through their social media and the team at Sikhi Alpha will gladly welcome you.

Lastly if I could ask you a favour, could you please share this blog with two friends? If all my readers did that it would be amazing.

 

Take care,

 

Ben Mason

Director – Futures Protected

0117 979 0118

Ben@futuresprotected.co.uk

 

Futures Protected Ltd and Pink Home Loans are not responsible for the content of any third-party website.

One solution for three significant problems lurking in your company’s blind spot.

As the director or owner of a business, there are concerns faced every day, week, month and year that are typical to many businesses. These include; managing employees, dealing with suppliers, cash flow management, increasing profits, client retention and servicing, winning business etc… the list goes on.

It is understood that most of these concerns can cause significant issues if they are not addressed. As they are standard business areas, they are on the radar for most companies so they are being addressed regularly, planned for, and hopefully mitigated.

However, planning for a problem that is not yet seen or understood is much harder. As boxers say, “It is the punch you don’t see coming that hurts you the most.”

Below is a fairly standard business scenario and the three problems in the blind spot that can cause a significant financial problem.

 

Typical Scenario

Today a business is operating in such a way that the directors and owners are relatively happy, they are sure the turnover is going to be within a few percent of ‘x’ and that as a result profits should be close to ‘y’. All this means that the business plan is working and the company is going in the right direction. At this point a company could be looking to grow, diversify, cement market share or simply breathe easy after a tough couple of years.

Now fast forward two weeks. One of the key people in that business has cancer (1 in 2 of us will*) and they are going to be away from the company for 12 months to have treatment, to rest and to recover. Others in the company will want them to take the time needed to recover but now the picture and situation in the company has changed and the owners and directors are faced with three potentially serious problems.

 

Problem 1 – Significant drop in turnover

It’s the nature of being a key person to the business they often hold a key function such as sales, client management, innovation, product design etc. People in those functions are working on new ideas, offering an existing service, or hold strong personal relationships with clients, some or all of which stays with that person who is no longer able to work.

Solution 1 – Key Person Turnover Cover

A business protection insurance policy is taken out to cover the potential turnover that could be lost by losing that key person/s. The policy is designed to pay out on death or critical illness.

 

Problem 2 – Paying for the same job twice

When a key person is unable to work, there is the obligation to pay them some, most or all of their salary while they are off. Add this to the cost of their replacement and potential recruitment fees and a company could be looking at paying out two salaries plus recruitment costs of 15-20%.

Solution 2 – Key Person Replacement Cover

By working out the two potential salaries (plus recruitment costs if applicable) a policy is put in place to cover these overheads in the event of losing a key person to death or critical illness.

 

Problem 3 – Borrowed money needs repaying and personal guarantees

Directors loans usually require prompt payment should they pass away, causing an added headache to a business at a difficult time.  Add to this that many commercial loans and overdrafts have a recall or reduction facility built in should key members of a business be lost due to illness or death.  Any loans or overdrafts that have a directors personal guarantee now puts the families in financial danger.

Solution 3 – Key Person Loan Cover

By looking at the financial products used by the company, any loan agreements, and any directors loan agreements, it is possible to calculate what cover is needed and structure these to reduce in line with repayment of loans/debts.

 

A report surveyed business owners and directors and asked how they could cope with the loss of a key person. The results found 55% of businesses would be unable to continue trading without significant financial assistance and 77% of businesses said profitability would be seriously impacted along with the long-term survival of the company.**

If you were asked that question on how you or your business would cope with the sudden loss of a key person (temporary or permanent), what would your thoughts be?

To find out more about Key Person cover please take a look at Business Protection Overview

If you would like to discuss your companies situation, look at the risk above and workout if you require any Key Person cover, please feel free to contact our Director and head of Business Protection Ben Mason.

 

0117 979 0118 – 07702 577 452

Ben@futuresprotected.co.uk

 

*http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/risk/lifetime-risk

**Scottish Widows Business Protection Report Sept-2013

Futures Protected Ltd and Pink Home Loans are not responsible for the content of any third-party website.

What more could a 40 year old lady ask for? – A true story!

Mid June I was lucky enough to see a social media post from a lady named Maxine who was re-tweeted by the Multiple Sclerosis Society, they were thanking Maxine and her husband David for their fund-raising efforts. I exchanged a few messages with Maxine and she agreed to write a blog for me about her story.

Maxine is so incredibly upbeat, appreciative of all she has in life and not letting her illness get her down.

I really hope you enjoy Maxine’s story below, she is a person that has dealt with her illness with the type of stoicism that makes me ashamed when I moan about having “my bad shoulder”.

 

It’s funny how life turns out isn’t it?

Early in 2004 I got double vision. This was completely out of the blue and although I had loads of scans and tests the doctors concluded that it was just one of those things. My vision returned after a month or so and life returned to normal. Very soon after this I found out I was pregnant.

Fast forward 11 years to the end of 2015. I have an absolutely amazing 10-year-old, a partner I adore and a job I love. Overall life is amazing. However I have lost the feeling in my hands, have ‘funny bone’ arms (a permanent sense of hitting my funny bone all over my arms), a really tight feeling in my chest and ‘diet coke’ legs (feels like there is fizzy diet coke in the veins in my legs). And despite not being a big drinker, on certain days I walk and talk as though I have had one too many G&Ts.

This again prompted lots of scans and tests and concluded with the doctor ringing me on Christmas Eve 2015 to tell me that “it looks like you have MS”.

It took until April 2016 to get a firm diagnosis and I remember very clearly the day that the doctor told me. I went to work as usual, walked to my hospital appointment from work and was told I had MS. I then walked the 20 minute walk back to work rationalising it in my brain, sat at my desk, emailed my bosses to let them know and got on with the jobs of the day. It was all very matter of fact.

The honest reality of it all was that I was actually relieved in many ways. The diagnosis meant that whatever was going on with my body meant that it finally had a label and I could start living my life again.

In the time it took to get the official word I had done what many people would do and consulted Dr Google. It all started to make sense. I had had MS for years but life had got in the way of even thinking about it. For years I had had pins and needles when I looked down and tiredness that was staggeringly overwhelming but had just put it all down to having a small child to look after and getting on with day to day life. Everybody gets tired don’t they?

Now we’re in 2017 and I have officially had MS for just over a year. My life is still amazing.

My daughter Ella continues to be a source of pride and amazement to me. She’s doing very well at school, she’s polite and she writes this blog about nature https://daisynature.wordpress.com/ Read that and tell me what’s not to be proud of.

My partner David is brilliant. He makes me laugh on a daily basis. He gets out of bed every day during the week at 5:15 to go to work to make sure we have everything we need. At the end of 2016 he decided he wanted to do something to raise money for the MS Society and after training very hard for 6 months, on 10 June this year he cycled from one side of England to the other in one day raising a whopping £2,700 in the process! I have definitely found my Prince Charming.

And my work. What can I say about work? I love it. On Monday to Friday between the hours of 9 and 3 you will find me working at UNW LLP, a firm of accountants in Newcastle. I honestly could not ask for a better place to work. My bosses and the team I work with have been brilliant about the whole thing. What I especially like is that everybody knows about the MS and nobody pussy foots around it. In fact it’s treated in a light hearted way and that’s just the way I want it to be.

One of the things that has been a real game changer and allowed me to reduce my hours without affecting our financial position came from a conversation after I was diagnosed. My best friend from university said “my colleagues’ sister in law got diagnosed with MS and she got her mortgage paid off”.

This got me thinking. So I checked our policy and Multiple Sclerosis was covered under the Critical Illness terms. We submitted the claim and to cut a long story short – our mortgage has been paid off.

Like you, I am just an ordinary person living an extraordinary life. Never think that these things don’t happen to people like you. Because they do.

What does the future hold for me and my family? I don’t know and quite frankly I don’t care. All I know is that today we’ve been to Durham and had an afternoon in rowing boats on the river. There is a roast dinner currently being prepared by David and Ella whilst I sit here and type this. What more could a 40 year old lady ask for?

 

I’d like to thank Maxine for taking the time to write this and sharing her story. I hear stories every week about people and some awful things that happen to them but Maxine is one of those people who has almost embraced her illness and just continued to live her life, such an inspiration.

In the blog Maxine mentioned that she and David had a critical illness policy that paid off their mortgage. If you would like to know more about this type of insurance, how it works and how it could be shaped to fit your circumstances please give me a call or drop me an email and I will be happy to help.

 

Best wishes,

 

Ben Mason
Ben@futuresprotected.co.uk
+44(0)117 979 0118
www.futuresprotected.co.uk

Futures Protected Ltd and Pink Home Loans are not responsible for the content of any third-party website.

Terrorism; What I can do? What type are you?

I had intended to write my June blog about Jeff Stellings’ March for Men (a large fund raising event for Prostate Cancer starting on 2nd of June and finishing on 16th) and couple it with Cervical Screening awareness week (starts June 12th) but like many people, the recent atrocities in Manchester shifted my attention. Fast forward a few days and as I was finishing my edit we were finding out about another attack in London.

Like many of you, I am on social media and with so many outlets I find it the quick way to keep up to date and in touch with people. Reading about events like the attack in Manchester and now the attack in London can feel frightening and bewildering. We are often filled with anger, and a feeling of powerlessness.

While I, like everyone, hopes that our government, political parties and authorities are working together to stop these attacks from happening my attention was grabbed by two tweets that showed after the initial shock has subsided, there are practical and crucial things that we can do to help those victims directly affected. Below are those two tweets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So – I’ve never given blood. Why that is the case? I honestly don’t know. I’m not afraid of needles, I’m not too busy to do it. I just suppose I’ve never really thought about it apart from when a TV advert comes on.

Of all the people I asked, not one has given blood, nor did they have a reason not to. In fact when I thought about it I could only name one person; my good friend James. He gives regularly, and when I asked why he does it, he said that he is ‘just doing my bit’ and even though he jokes further about his reasons and says “I’m saving lives mate,”  and despite the joke, it is the truth, he really is.

So what next? Well I visited the Official Blood Donation website to find out more and how I could get involved. There are some restrictions in place, but the majority of us are able to donate blood.

I’m now registered on the site and will be donating at the end of July.

There is plenty of information out there and World Blood Donor Day is held in June. It is a day where various global organisations come together to thank existing donors, encourage new ones, and share the importance of donating blood.

Below is a true story kindly shared via a friend, the lady concerned has asked to remain anonymous so for this I will simply call her Ms S.

“Arriving at the hospital knowing I was going to have a baby was the certain thing for me. Little did I know the most amazing thing in the world can turn into major surgery with a lot of risks. After an amazing 51 hours I was rushed in due to complications and for a split second I nearly lost my life. Two days later and realising I still couldn’t leave my bed I knew something wasn’t right. I could see and hear my baby but my body was working so hard to replace the 3 units of blood I had lost that I couldn’t get to him. That night a doctor found me on the ward and didn’t feel I looked well enough for 2 days post birth. Next thing I remember was being rushed to intensive care. My thoughts of leaving my new baby behind in the world. My parents were flown down for saying their goodbyes. This is when I received my blood. 

The blood saved my life. And allowed me to go onto to have more children. The kindness of donors amazes me. And I have the rarest blood type. The thought of there not being any and not being here today is a scary thought.”

That very personal story along with those articles I read have a left a powerful message with me on the importance of what I can do. Hopefully this has made you think too and are now interested to find out more.

Finally, I want to close with some lighter news June 15th and June 16th see two of the UKs more interesting National Days. On the 15th  National Beer Day and 16th marks the beginning of National Picnic week. So what better way to reward yourself for registering to give blood than a nice cold one and a picnic in the sun.

 

 

 

Ben Mason
Ben@futuresprotected.co.uk
+44(0)117 979 0118
www.futuresprotected.co.uk

Futures Protected Ltd and Pink Home Loans are not responsible for the content of any third-party website.

Kindness, the only unbreakable code in humanity – an incredible project.

The 8th of May marks the start of Mental Health Awareness week and I feel confident in saying that over the last couple of years’ men and women have become a little more comfortable talking about mental health issues, but there is a great deal more to be done.

One sector of society though that still does not talk about their mental health, their thoughts and their feelings are young people in particular young boys. Recently I met with an incredible man Darshan Sanghrajka who is leading a project that I truly believe is taking the way we look at young men’s mental health and flipping it on its head.

Rather than me prattle on please see below for the interview I did. I hope you too will be inspired by the amazing project.

 

Q – Lets kick off with a broad one, can you tell us about your aim at ‘Being Mankind’ and what you are hoping to achieve?

We are doing something about resigning the term ‘Man Up! to history’. There is an increasing difficulty for young men today to speak about their problems, worries and concerns. This often leads to the boys not having a healthy relationship with themselves or other people.

Our schools program and book is addressing this by sharing stories rather than trying to give prescriptive advice. Often many of the children who suffer are ones that do not do well in a traditional class room setting. We have found life stories from inspirational people told both in schools and through our book has had a much higher engagement.

We have published a beautiful hardback book called Being ManKind Volume 1 – the foreword is written by Anthony Joshua and it is full of honest stories from diverse role models, that show the beauty of humanity, individuality, and kindness. The purchasing of this book helps extend our reach and further promote our schools program.

When you pledge for a book, we donate one to a school and help inspire boys to grow into kind and confident humans, who understand themselves and are empathetic to others.

 

Q – There is an awful lot of pressure from the media these days, how has this contributed to difficulties faced by children today?

The role models that the media puts forward, don’t reflect everyday life and so are hard to identify with. The media tends to paint a picture where success is achieved overnight and still creates an unfair pressure to be perfect. Young people are faced with so many of these messages, that they’re struggling to navigate their path. We need diverse and positive role models, that shine as beacons that inspire young people.

 

Q – I believe my readers will particularly interested in your work in schools can you tell me a little more about it?

By using real-life stories from positive male role models, the workshop plans which accompany each donated copy of Being ManKind Volume 1, ignite conversations that open minds and help build empathy.

The plans, for 9-11 years and 11+ years, are perfectly suited for schools (PSHE or registration period), youth organisations and older groups (e.g. prison, PRUs), raising topics from mental health to sexuality in a creative, engaging and unique way. The common thread throughout the series is to inspire open, honest and individual thinkers, who understand themselves and are empathetic to others. When asked about what messages they had learned, one Year 6 student summed it up perfectly “To be proud of who you are and to be an excellent role model to others”.
Q – “A better relationship with themselves and others” is a sentence you come back to. Can you shed some light on how the stories in the book help with this?

The stories in the book are so diverse, covering all sorts of topics, from people of all backgrounds. Each story helps to highlight that we’re all different, and there is something special about that. If we’re confident in who we are, then we can be ourselves to others too. And if we can do that, then we can start to respect others and actively make an effort to understand them.

Can you imagine how powerful a message that is for a young person? We would have people opening up and talking about their mental health, asking for advice about things, forming better relationships with people unlke them. The list goes on.

 

Q – Have you any advice for parents that want to help their children but don’t know what to do?

Depends on the situation, to be honest but if you are talking about nurturing children, then the best thing is to create experiences. When children have new experiences, they learn a bit more about themselves and others. They understand more, they’re more curious and they find their path.

 

Q – How can people get involved in both fundraising and the schools program?

We’re now scaling our reach through a Kickstarter campaign.

We have just 4 days left in the campaign, so I’m hoping you’ll love this so much, you’ll get behind this right away (Kickstarter is an all or nothing crowdfunding platform, so if we don’t hit our goal, then they don’t debit any pledgers’ cards and we don’t see a penny raised so far).We really want to be in every school in the country and we want to make sure it’s free to the school and the young people. By buying a book, you’re helping us do that.

 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1914102455/being-mankind

Thank so much for this interview and helping spread our message.
Darhsan

 

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I hope you have enjoyed the interview and will take a look at the BeingManKind website to find out more. If you do want to get involved or have any questions please feel free to contact Darhsan

07738 00 48 20 and darshan@superbeinglabs.org

 

My closing thoughts on this are brief, in my November Blog I wrote about how important it is that we talk about our health concerns and worries, I showed how doing so positively affects cure and survival rates for various illness. Mental Health is no different, if you have any concerns or wish to know more the official Mental Health Awareness site has some great information and please don’t feel worried to speak to someone.

 

All the best,

 

Ben Mason
Ben@futuresprotected.co.uk
+44(0)117 979 0118
www.futuresprotected.co.uk

Futures Protected Ltd and Pink Home Loans are not responsible for the content of any third-party website.