Author: Maria Mouskou

Have you ever accomplished a goal only to feel disappointed? Have you found yourself setting goals and creating detailed plans without taking action?

Yep, been there done that.

Hi this is Maria, a former goal junkie. And for me, first came the realisation that striving & accomplishing goals didn’t bring me much joy. But I didn’t know another way so I kept going at it…

Then my inner self started rebelling “what’s the point of accomplishing another goal if it won’t make me happy? Let’s just procrastinate instead.”

But of course I hadn’t realised what was going on, so instead of tending to the problem (dear self why are you rebelling?), I kept trying to find ways to motivate myself (you can do this, you can do this), including hiring a business coach to give me a kick in the butt (which I didn’t need and…oh dear that backfired big time), conditioning myself (just visualise your success like athletes do), writing my goals every day (1,2,3), keeping saying to myself “no excuses, no excuses,” doing vision boards (cut, glue, set), and just pushing, striving & doing, doing, doing.

And then CRASH, meltdown, depression…because I was treating the surface problem not the deep rooted one.  

The problem is not having goals per se, because goals can help us cultivate and grow what’s important to us. The problem lies in the kind of goals we set, which we often borrow from other people or internalise from society telling us what we should be doing.

We deprive ourselves the knowing that comes from deep inside, creating a gap between who we are and who we should become.

But what if we looked inside instead of outside?

What if we moved from pushing & striving to be who we “should” be to allowing who we are to flourish? 

Imagine the peace and contentment this approach could bring to our lives.

So what if you stopped trying to change yourself?

and instead…

  • You gave yourself permission to be who you are.
  • You focused on deeply understanding your personality, values & strengths.
  • You accomplished goals that mattered, and were meaningful to you; not to anyone else, but you.

I think that’s worth it.

What do you think?


P.S. Would you like to bring more of the real you to your business?
Then check out my Personal Branding Clarity Session.


It was very interesting to see branding depicted as warfare at a recent workshop. The message was that branding is something you constantly need to fight for and that brands need to fight for their value.

Very 1990s, I must say.

And exactly the opposite to what we believe & teach at Confidence Inside Out.

We believe there is no war you need to fight. There is no enemy…yes, there is NO COMPETITION.

Gasp, really? yes really.

Because you are not Coca-Cola. You are you.

As a solopreneur or a small business, your company is you. And no one else on earth is the same as you. No one has the exact same combination of strengths and unique qualities as you.

And your job is not to fight for your brand value. Your job is to allow your uniqueness to shine through your work.

When you allow the real you, the true-unique-one-of-a-kind YOU to shine through your business by building an authentic personal brand, there’s no competition.

You don’t wake up trying to figure out who to fight today.

You wake up and share with the world who you are.

Yes there are others that might offer similar services or products. But even if they offer the exact service/product you’re offering, a replica, copy-paste kind of thing, guess what?

Clients don’t buy that thing. They buy YOU. Because you are a small business. You are the face & soul of your company.

Coca-Cola has to manufacture that face & soul and then spend millions to push it down people’s throats and convince them to like it.

But you are lucky, because you are not coca-cola.

You’re real.

You have a soul.

And you don’t need to push. You don’t need to fight.

You only need to share your brilliance.






In today’s world of instant gratification, we might get discouraged when we don’t see immediate success. But we need to remember that moving slowly is ok as long as we keep going!

We’ve come to expect instant success, because that’s all we hear about in the media {and see in perfectly polished social media accounts}. It’s always the stories of overnight success that seem to pop up. Unfortunately we rarely hear the “after 10 years of laborious work” or “after consistent action day in and day out” stories.

Take Eat Pray Love {book and movie} for example. What do we know about Elizabeth Gilbert’s success story? She was unhappy, hoped on a plane, visited three countries, discovered who she was, wrote a book and boom she was an instant access. Very few actually know that she was already an established writer with a few books under her belt, and she got a publishing agent to buy the rights of the future book and gave her money upfront to finance her amazing adventure. So yes Gilbert did have a huge success with this book, but she was already a travel writer for years.

I am not saying that overnight success does not happen. It can happen, but it doesn’t happen as often as we seem to think.

And I am not here to preach. In fact, I am guilty of this too. Actually, it feels like I am writing this post more for myself than anyone else! I used to have these vicious cycles that would start with working really really hard, and then I’d collapse when I didn’t see immediate results. I would get very discouraged and feel like a complete failure. And then it would take me ages until I could lift myself up again and get motivated to keep going.

For me it’s a habit engrained from my school days when I used to study really hard at the last minute, cramming it all in, having all-nighters to write that paper or to study for the finals and actually doing pretty well for a few days work. So once I realised this, I decided I had to change it. And when I came across this quote it was such a revelation. I needed to switch from being a sprinter to being a marathon runner.

Don’t get me wrong, I still catch myself saying {mostly while scrolling through Instagram} “why am I still not there?” with “there” being whatever I am working at the moment. But now {most of the times} I have a quick wake up call, turn Instagram off and get back to work.

So what I am trying to say is this: don’t get discouraged.  Don’t give up. Keep going and you will get there. Just keep going.

“It does not matter how slow you go as long as you don’t stop.” Confucius


Have you ever heard that the most important meal of the day is breakfast because it gives you a good start for the day? Well breakfast is not the only good habit to have in the morning. In fact, having a morning ritual that positively sets you up for the day will make a huge difference in your life.

While I was still in full time employment I kept thinking how I’d want my life to be outside the 9-5 (or rather 10-7) days. And when I took the plunge to set up my own business I was very very clear how I wanted my days to start: A run in the morning, breakfast, paper, coffee & blog writing. And I started doing this and it felt great. And then I lost it (maybe you found it?). I lost it, because I read a book (the 4-hour work week) that said reading the newspaper was a waste of time. If anything major happens you are going to hear it from others anyway. Then I heard from another “marketing guru” that she doesn’t listen to the news because of all the negativity affects her energetic field.

So I stopped my newspaper subscription (money wasn’t flowing in anyway, so I thought it’d save me some cash too). I went on a news -diet. And the result was worse than I expected. Not only it messed up my whole morning routine, threw it all in the air, I dried out of any creative ideas. There was no morning stimulation for my brain, so then next thing to go was my blog writing.

Little by little my morning routine was just ruined. I tried using my ipad to check up on things while having my breakfast, but for me there is nothing like the real thing: touching the paper and getting your fingers all dirty, and flipping the pages and smelling that paper smell.

I am happy to say the paper is back. Delivered to my door fresh, smelling & begged to be read.

And looking back at how I decided to just cut that morning ritual out of my life I’m thinking, “what the heck was I thinking???” When I picture myself getting up in the morning, opening the door and seeing the paper right there waiting for me, offering me the world at my doorstep I get this amazing joyful feeling. Add a brew of morning coffee & eggs & I am in heaven! It sets me up with an amazing feeling for the rest of the day. My mind starts working, I get ideas about writing, I feel connected to the world and I am ready to start my day with a smile on my face.

So be careful what advice you take on. I love reading the news and living in this world. I want to know what’s going on around me as  citizen of the UK and the world. I want to be involved. This is who I am. I should have trusted myself instead of the gurus.

In what ways have you listened to the gurus and not yourself?


Oh I remember the days when I used to write on my CV that I was a great multitasker. And go to interview after interview and say it again and again. Multitasking was the thing at the time.

Especially in the world of advertising and marketing I found myself in. You really had to constantly answer phone calls and emails and requests coming at you at all times while trying to concentrate on writing an important report or come up with a client strategy.

And {I thought} I was good at it…until I wasn’t. I reached a point when I found it extremely difficult to work that way. So if I had some serious thinking to do I used to put my earphones on —even if i wasn’t listening to anything — put up a “do not disturb” sign and keep my head down.

Guess what? people still interrupted me. “Maria I see you have your do not disturb sign on, but can I ask you a quick question?” Nooooooooooooooooooooo.

And people thought I was weird. Rigid. Not one for the team etc etc.

But all I knew was that multitasking was just not working for me.

And guess what? Science backs me up.

Research now shows that multitasking (or actually constant task switching as the scientists call it) lowers your IQ and hinders your performance.

A study at the University of London found that when we multitask our IQ drops by 15 points. And researchers at Stanford University showed that multitaskers performed worse than those concentrating on just one task at a time. This is because the brain has a harder time switching from one task to another.

Although we think that multitasking is efficient, it’s actually the opposite. Not only it takes us longer to complete each task, but we also perform worse when we’re constantly switching between tasks.

So let’s stop multitasking and let’s start mono-tasking. 



PS How about you? Do you consider yourself a great multitasker? Have you tried to do less task-switching?

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