The winter solstice carries very strong symbolism. Traditionally this is a time of going within and getting ready to delve into the depths of your soul - to step within to work out who you are and where you are going and to celebrate creativity, intuition and self-care.
The universe is sending me a message today – 3 times this morning to be exact!
And that message is simply…slow down.
I have been waiting for a few things to happen and the waiting is certainly testing my patience. Yet, there is absolutely nothing I can do except wait.
So here’s the thing…when you give yourself the time in your day to slow down, stop and bring your attention within, you meet with an inner peace and hear the whispers of answers you are searching for. Your intuition guides you to the next step and you realise that you don’t need to know anything beyond the moment you are in. Besides, your intuition can only ever guide you from the here and now.
However, this doesn’t mean to take no action.
But it does mean that it’s better to focus on just one step at a time, one thing at a time – because realistically that’s all you can do anyway.
And what I’ve also found by slowing down is the contrast. When you rush, you miss the moment you are in because you are forever anticipating your arrival in the next moment. And this is when your ego takes over and you are overwhelmed by the chaos of your thoughts. And that's never a good thing!
I have lost count of how many times over the past few months that I contemplated writing about creating space, stepping back and letting go. It has definitely been a recurring theme for me and very much in line with my word (and philosophy) for the year.
After just over 6 months of navigating this journey with all of its twists and turns, I have learned so much and am on the way to understanding what the process of letting go really entails. Like most things, it’s one thing to talk it - it’s another to actually do it. And it’s another thing again to let go and move through the surrendering process with an open heart.
If we were having a sit down in one of my favourite cafes in nature and sharing a pot of green tea I’d say something like “Wow, what a 6 months that has been! Let me tell you what I’ve been doing and what I’ve learned.” And of course I’d want to know all about what’s been going on for you too!
A lot has been happening – at times quite challenging and at times somewhat easier.
Everywhere I look I keep getting messages about letting go, shedding, paring back, de-engineering, keeping things simple and un-complicating things. The overall theme of the messages has been clear – this is my year to take care of any unfinished business, to clean house and to make room for new things. It’s time to let it all go and make way for the new – and yet the original, the authentic – me.
This was what I called what I was about to embark upon in 2015. It involved letting go of many things:
- Trying to control everything
- Living in the past and worrying about the future
- Physical “stuff” crowding me out of my house
- Ineffective programming and limiting beliefs – including lots of fears
- A false sense of identity created by my ego and the various “roles” I have had
- Old emotional scars
- Spiritual baggage
- Unresolved issues
The biggest challenges
The overall process of surrender has possibly been one of the hardest lessons. It has meant letting go of control. Letting go of order. Letting go of everything I thought was right. Learning to be comfortable with vulnerability. Letting go of specifying what, needing to know how and determining when. Releasing attachments to “what was” in order to allow “what can be” to reveal itself. Letting go and trusting.
Being truly present has been a new skill to learn along the way. Moving from The Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) to something far more empowering – The Joy Of Missing Out (JOMO). Getting the balance right between being, doing and having.
“We often over-complicate our lives wanting what’s over the next hill instead of feeling grateful for what we already have and loving the present moment for its ultimate reality. We look for complicated solutions whilst distrusting simplicity. We live in a culture that is often dismissive of ancient wisdom while not listening enough to our bodies or our instincts. We rarely take time to look and listen deeply to see that all creation vibrates with life and is eternally connected and communicating in its own way.”
And another key challenge for me has been learning to be comfortable that each step reveals the next. And perhaps more importantly, being at peace that the next step may only be visible at the conclusion of the current step. Thus the whole journey may not be evident.
“So how’s that been working?”
This was one of the questions that got me started on the journey I’ve described above, so it’s worth asking again.
Firstly I have had some significant physical changes. Before I started I was burnt out and feeling very unhealthy - stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted. I was more overweight than I cared to admit and definitely feeling my age.
My son (a personal trainer and boxer) introduced me to an amazing nutritional cleansing system – a key part of my overall multi-level cleanse. And I’ve even started exercising too!
Since Christmas I have not only donated 24 kg back to the Universe, I also have my mojo back! I’m totally revitalised with bags of energy, sleeping better, feeling and looking younger.
This has put me back into a position where I can seriously contemplate and set some goals for the next 40 years. Specifically, I want to help a million+ people to live a life they truly love – healthy, wealthy, joyful, looking good & feeling great.
I have certainly been focussing on my true highest values, my “big rocks” – and in the process, feeling truly rewarded and fulfilled. And at the end of the day, isn’t that all that anyone wants i.e. to live a life you truly love? It has also helped me to develop a much deeper connection with Source, to live more authentically, with presence and clarity.
In my business much has changed as I have been letting go of the old to make way for the new. This has involved changing some unwieldy processes, dumping poorly utilised technology and focussed on developing and maintaining belly-to-belly relationships.
Some things haven’t changed. For example, I have still been:
- Helping clients to get focussed and get their businesses working more for them as Higher Purpose Businesses;
- Writing blogs and articles for various publications including WNA and Working Women.
And others have. For example, I have started a new business in partnership with my son and also commenced writing a book in collaboration with an old contact that serendipity brought us back together.
So what are the key lessons?
I’ll write about this in another blog in due course, but for now here is a snapshot of some of the major lessons I have learned thus far.
1) The Butterfly Effect is real. In other words a very small change in initial conditions creates a significantly different outcome. So starting somewhere, no matter how small the change, is what counts. And if you are unsure about where to start, start with the path of least resistance.
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." ~ John Muir
2) Your work in letting go is simply to place your trust and faith in what you cannot yet see. The most important thing you must do is take whatever one step (even the tiniest one) that presents itself in that moment. As you take that step the next one will appear. It’s like driving on a country road at night – you can only see just ahead of you what is in the headlights of the car and you trust that the road will be revealed as you keep driving.
3) Letting go is part of your spiritual evolution. Fear will only arise through this process if you hold attachments or needs around certain people or circumstances. But when you release the attachments you are guided to reconnect with the power that lies within you.
4) If your life is so full and “busy” with what you think your plans should be, it doesn’t leave room for any guidance from what is in your heart, from Source or from the Universe. There needs to be space and stillness for you to hear, feel and receive the very subtle signs of what is truly right for you – not what your mind thinks is right for you.
It’s not about understanding or making sense of what is unfolding. The answer lies in your ability to become present, get still and tune in to your body to feel the inherent wisdom held within your sensations, feelings and energy. Your body has a wisdom you probably cannot yet appreciate.
5) If you are not making room for what is right for your heart and soul, the Universe will manifest circumstances to ensure that you are. And these particular signals from the Universe are not normally so subtle.
6) Any time you are letting go, you are just making room for something even more magnificent to flow into your life. So you should get excited about what is coming rather than mourning the loss of what was. Your life is upgrading!
It’s March already – that’s 17% of the year nearly gone! Can someone please tell me exactly where has it gone?
I’m sure you’ve heard that most New Year’s resolutions don’t survive beyond the end of February – if they even make it that far!
And if you did happen to map out the “perfect” year and schedule all the activities that will lead to your big annual goals, how are you going with finding the time and energy to do it all?
And if perhaps you’re not doing too well along that path, are you beating yourself up for it? The pressure to map out the perfect year can actually lead to greater anxiety.
I’m a huge advocate in planning and goal setting - but can you do too much of it? I’m coming to the conclusion that you can actually overdo it.
So many of the goals we set are goals around having or doing things. You might be reflecting on the first 2 months of the year and saying to yourself, “I certainly got a lot done, but what’s it all for?
It’s around about this time that you might also start asking yourself “What’s my higher calling?”, “What am I supposed to be doing with my life?” and “How do I stop spinning my wheels and get serious about my purpose for being on this planet?”
The more relevant question is actually “Who am I meant to BE?”
Or you might already feel you have found your answers and no longer have to worry about the burning “What’s my purpose?” question. But here’s the irony…when our purpose is external to ourselves, if we tie our purpose or meaning to our vocation, goal or an activity, we could be setting ourselves up for a fall somewhere down the line.
This doesn’t negate your burning passion, your inspired mission, your job, your business, your family, your community contribution, etc. Those things are powerful, worthwhile and essential - but are they your purpose?
Let me explain…
I’m certainly not saying that you shouldn’t feed the starving, house the homeless, rescue those at risk, protect the environment, empower women, educate the ignorant or any other worthwhile activity that adds worth and value to our global community.
What I do mean is that you don’t need to connect your personal self-worth (or self-acceptance, self-love etc.) with those activities. It’s because your self-worth has nothing to do with your skills, vocation or achievements and everything to do with how you treat yourself. Your purpose may be very different than what you’ve been taught to believe by societal programming and inherited paradigms.
If your work isn’t appreciated, if your efforts are overlooked or criticised, if you don’t get the client, if people don’t value what you do, if you give and don’t get thanked in return, if someone “un-friends” you on social media – well, that’s what sometimes happens. And if you’ve tied your worth to any of those things then you will only feel deflated, depleted or depressed.
But if you have connected your purpose within, it’s a whole different story. For example, it could be that your purpose is to be kind to yourself and to love yourself unconditionally, thus elevating your energy and positively impacting on the world around you. Or it could be to take impeccable care of yourself so that you have the energy to serve others.
Or perhaps it’s to heal yourself and then becoming a mentor and role model for others to do the same.
Your purpose is only partly about what you do. It’s mostly about discovering who you truly are at your deepest levels, and to nurture and love yourself in the process. It’s about learning that just being your authentic self is enough.
There are plenty of brilliant people who may have a lot to offer but who are messed up inside and unable to be really effective at their chosen cause. Imagine what they could accomplish if they knew that no matter how important their mission, their inner purpose matters even more?
By all means cherish your work, your hobbies and your passions. You love them and they are important.
But when you do your planning (or re-planning) and set your goals, whatever time of the year it may be, it pays to be a bit softer and kinder towards yourself. Start with focusing on the things that make you feel good, peaceful, happy, inspired, abundant and loved. And maybe – just maybe – go a bit slower as well.
From my soul to yours,
Hands up if you’ve got any challenges or problems right now…
It’s way too easy (and perfectly understandable) to lose perspective by becoming lost in your own world. And when that happens you fail to see either the big picture or the small picture.
The small picture is microscopic – the world that is smaller than us as human beings. There are just over 7 billion humans on the planet – quite a lot I think. However, recent studies suggest that there are between 200 million and 1.2 billion insects for every human on earth. This would mean there are between 1,400,000,000,000,000,000 and 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, or 1.4 – 10 quintillion of the little critters!
But that number pales into insignificance when you consider other (smaller) living things such as phytoplankton or viruses.
And then we can start considering even smaller things like molecules. And the even smaller atomic particles and sub-atomic particles.
The other side of the scale is all the things bigger than ourselves. How big are you (physically) compared to the suburb you live in? Or your city? Your country? The world?
I couldn’t go on along this line without deferring to the Galaxy Song from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. If you know the tune, sing along as you read the words…
The Galaxy Song (excerpt)
Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour
That’s orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it’s reckoned
A sun that is the source of all our power
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour
Of the galaxy we call the ‘Milky Way’
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars
It’s a hundred thousand light years side to side
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick
But out by us, it’s just three thousand light years wide
We’re thirty thousand light years from galactic central point
We go ‘round every two hundred million years
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe
When you are in the middle of an issue such as when you are running late for an important meeting because the kids have been mucking around, or the traffic is at a standstill due to an accident, or your client was going to do one thing and instead did another, or perhaps you have a flu (man flu or real :-) ) – these problems can become, or seem to become, all encompassing for us – perhaps because we think we are the centre of the universe.
Of course in some respects you are the centre of your own universe, yet in other respects you’re not. One thing for sure though, we are all simply a strand in the tapestry of life – which is pretty enormous.
Human beings are both finite creatures and infinite creatures. We are infinite through our energy, our influence, our souls, the matter we are made of that may change form but can’t be destroyed. We are finite in as much as we live four score and how ever many years (say an average age of 80) which is just 29,200 days / 42,048,000 minutes / 504,576,000 breaths / 2,522,880,000 heartbeats.
At times like this I like to remember we are standing on a planet which is spinning round a star which is just one of a billion, trillion suns in a Universe that’s ninety billion light years side to side!
Stay present and keep breathing…
Seth Godin wrote a recent blog with this title that really got me thinking.
The essence of what he said is that the only truly authentic version of you is a newborn infant. After that, due to a series of cultural overlays, choices and strategies from you and others about what it takes to succeed in this (your) world, everything you portray to the world is all invented.
Godin is usually right on the money with his observations, but I think this time he has it wrong.
Authenticity lies in your Soul, your Essence, your Seed, your Spirit, your Higher Self - whatever you want to call it. And despite the multiple layers placed upon it by time, environment, upbringing, culture, education, family circumstances etc., it is still there.
Your task is to access it. In fact, that is a key part of the journey you are on called “life”.
In other words, it’s about firstly uncovering that kernel of who you are and what you are here for, and then living a life that supports that Higher Purpose. It’s about uncovering that precious seed that resides in your innermost garden and nurturing it so that it flourishes. It’s about discovering your Soul Goals and bringing those into your everyday life. It’s about aligning your passion, purpose and prowess in that special way that is beneficial for everyone.
Often that can involve a Higher Purpose Business, but that isn’t essential. However, living a Higher Purpose Life is.
On reflection some of the questions that might come up for you could include:
- Am I living the life I really, really want - versus the life I am “expected” to lead?
- Am I living my true purpose?
- Do I feel the way I want to feel?
- Is that enough?
- Is there really anything else?
- Who is it really that is asking these questions?
There are many ways to seek out the answers to these questions - and some of them can take a lifetime. That’s OK by the way, but wouldn’t it be much easier to be able to uncover your answers in an instant of enlightenment?
That’s why the amazing Joanne Antoun & I have combined to bring you an evening of transformation to help you do exactly that. We’ve called it Transform Your Life & Your Business - and that is the promise – that no matter what your circumstances are right now, in just over 3½ hours we will guide you to:
- Uncover your soul goals and clarify your purpose
- Reclaim and step into your personal power
- Feel peace, joy, happiness and contentment right now
- Understand how you can manifest your heart’s desires
- Start the process of creating a life you love
Here are all the details and the links to reserve a seat:
Dates & Location:
Tuesday 2nd September at St Josephs Spirituality Centre, 64 MacKillop Drive, Baulkham Hills
Wednesday 3rd September at York Street Conference Centre, 99 York Street, Sydney
Time: Doors open 6.30pm for a 7.00pm sharp start, Finish 10.45pm
Investment: Just $67
Tuesday 2nd September http://bit.ly/1pE23Ye
Wednesday 3rd September http://bit.ly/1BslgBh
John Lennon said, “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance … Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
I do hope you can join us for what will be a magic experience.
And if you can’t, have fun exploring anyway :)
I’m sure you’ve heard about the fear of missing out or FOMO. It’s where we over consume, overcommit, or generally overdo something because we can’t bear thinking we might miss out on something. It’s like going to a buffet where you appear to have unlimited choice of food. How much do you put on your plate? Do you go back again…and again…until you physically can’t eat any more? Or do you select the things that you think you’d particularly like or want – and in quantities that will satiate you (but no more)?
The over-consumption inherent in FOMO has also been driven by the “conspicuous consumption” seen for many decades now – typified in “keeping up with the Joneses” and the need to have the “latest and greatest” gadgets.
However, it does all seem to be catching up in a push to slow the pace of life, get off the treadmill and just simplify the way we live. This new trend is called JOMO – The Joy of Missing Out. It’s all about unplugging from modern life and escaping that modern disease of overwhelm that comes from over-consumption.
JOMO appears to be a move towards more “mindful living” with more and more people actively trying to shut out distractions and focus on the moment. For example, taking a “social media holiday” is becoming more and more prevalent. This is in stark contrast to the need some people have to post every second of their life for all and sundry to see.
Although we embrace technology and all the wonderful things it can do for us, it also has a tendency to not allow us to switch off. Thus we now see many more people taking classes in meditation and mindfulness in their search for peace and to find work-life balance.
It might be a reflection of my stage of life, but I’m absolutely certain that there has also been a big energetic shift that coincided with the lead up to 2012 and now beyond.
JOMO is also related to the new push for authenticity i.e. be yourself and do the things you want to do, when you want to, with whom you want to and not worry what the rest of the world thinks. It’s about living a fulfilled life – and that is different for every single one of us. It’s about enjoying what you’re doing in the here and now and not concerned with being on social media to broadcast it. Neither would you be tracking what everybody else is doing.
Who knows, even the Millenials might catch on and not focus on full-time, real-time connectivity and instant gratification?
And here’s the bonus - as more and more people self-develop and self-actualise there has been a recognition that “off-time” is actually a good business strategy as well!
I have a very unusual clock on my wall.
It only has one hand.
That hand takes a full twelve months to rotate just once.
It’s an annual clock that tells time in seasons, marking the Equinoxes & Solstices throughout the year.
And so it’s half-past January.
The clock has a name too – it’s called The Present. I purchased it as a prototype via a Kickstarter campaign by Scott Thrift. It’s “all about time” and the idea behind the clock is to remind you to live in the present moment.
Have you ever felt like time is moving too fast? Or perhaps you have trouble being “in the moment” for longer than a few seconds?
The present is the gift we give ourselves.
I didn’t really get what was meant by “living in the present” until an embarrassingly short time ago, despite having been on a self-development journey for some 50-odd years. But now I do, I can’t think of any other way to live.
Sure, we need to learn from the past, but we can’t dwell or live there. And of course we need to plan for the future, but we can’t live there either. We can’t change the past, nor can we pre-determine the future. The only place we can truly live is in the present.
It’s all about mindset.
And that’s why Soul Goals are so critical as a guide for how to live your life. There’s a bit more to it than this, but we can learn from our past where our passions and purpose lie, do a full sensory visualisation of their fulfilment in the future, and then live today exactly as if they were already happening.
If you want to know more about Soul Goals you can download The Quickfire Guide To Creating Soul Goals here with my compliments.
So what do I do on a daily basis to remind myself about living in the present?
At the beginning of this year I started a Happiness Jar. Every morning for the last 6 months, part of my ritual to start the day is to ask what it was that gave me the most joy on the previous day. I write that on a piece of paper, fold it up and place it in my Happiness Jar. At some point in time, maybe at the end of the year or perhaps if I’m feeling a bit blue, I’ll dip into the jar and remind myself of some of the daily pieces of joy that have been present in my life. Interestingly, just seeing the jar filling up makes me happy by itself. In fact I was particularly chuffed when I had to buy a bigger jar because the original one was overflowing!
I also start every day by reminding myself of the answers I have worked out to the questions
Who am I?
Why am I here? &
How do I want to feel today?
These answers help me focus on behaving in alignment with my Soul Goals throughout the day, which means of course that I’m living in the present in alignment with how I have envisioned my future and as taught to me by my past.
So when I look at my clock on the wall and notice that it is half-past January, I am full of gratitude for the experience of having spent the last 6 months being as present as I can.
I’ve found that most people enjoy my hugs and I enjoy giving them. It’s easy when I’m hugging my wife or my dog – I keep going till they squirm out of it! However, how long is the “right” length hug for friends, children and acquaintances?
The average length of a hug between two people is approximately 3 seconds. That’s OK – and certainly better than no hug at all - however hardly in the “When will this stop and how do I get away?!?” category.
But here’s the thing…if you can manage to extend a sincere hug for 20 seconds it has an amazing therapeutic effect on the body and mind due to the release of the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin has many benefits in our physical and mental health. Amongst other effects, it is calming and
helps you to relax and feel safe.
Perhaps you remember seeing a video in 2006 of a man who gave away free hugs? I especially remember it because he did it in the Pitt Street Mall in Sydney and it created great controversy. It was called the Free Hugs Campaign and at first it was actually banned by officials until popular protest changed that.
The person behind it all was Juan Mann and his sole mission was to reach out and hug a stranger to put a smile on their face. What we witnessed was the true spirit of humanity as people came together in what can only be described as something awe inspiring and the effects of the Free Hugs Campaign are now felt around the globe. The video has had over 75 ½ million views! (See it and read more about it at http://www.freehugscampaign.org/)
And what better way to cement a relationship than with a hug?
You’ve possibly heard me say “It’s personal” many times when I talk about success. In fact 2 blogs ago I wrote about exactly that. The key point I’ve been making is that the only person who should define what success means to you – is you. It’s not about following someone else’s agenda or even the standards that society portrays as necessary for you to be successful (you know – the career, the car, the house, the boat, the travel, the lifestyle etc.)
In recent months this has become more and more clear to me as I do work in the areas of Passion, Purpose and Profits.
This has involved 4 key activities:
1) Continuing to coach amazing women business owners in building a Higher Purpose Business;
2) Writing the Quickfire Guide to Soul Goals, the Discovery Manual and Worksheets in collaboration with my client and friend Lauren Jobson;
3) Further development of my unique programme called Aligning Passion, Purpose and Profit; and
4) Doing my very best to live my own words.
It all revolves around uncovering, rediscovering or confirming your passion, purpose, vision and values - because that is where your genius and your magnificence lies.
So where do you find your answers?
It’s found in your truth and your authenticity – your seed DNA.
The clues are found in what you feel compelled to do, where you feel connected and where you feel joy.
And the pathway to these (your Purpose) are your Soul Goals.
With this clarity and focus of vision you can then unlock your magnificence and leverage your definition of success by building a Higher Purpose Life and/or Business around that!
"Life will only make sense; and can only produce long-term happiness, peace and joy when embraced from the perspective of the soul"
Neale Donald Walsch
The Quickfire Guide to Creating Soul Goals was created by Lauren & I because both of us are passionate about helping people to be the best possible versions of themselves and it is a given that the goals that really count are the goals from your Soul.
With over 30 years of collective experience and research distilled inside, it’s a very unique guide - simple, easy to commit to and a very powerful process.
We have decided to offer this as a gift to you because we think that it might resonate with you.
It’s not just a guide on how to create goals from your Soul, but what we hope is an introduction to something much bigger for you - a fulfilling life that revolves around your Higher Purpose.
The Quickfire Guide to Creating Soul Goals will help you to understand in no time at all…
- What is a Soul Goal
- Why they are so important
- How to create your own
Please accept this gift from our hearts to yours.
Just click here for a link to immediately download it.
It’s been raining a lot around our way recently – I mean a lot. Don’t get me wrong - I’m not complaining as we do need the precipitation after the warmest Australian Spring on record (2013) and a hot, dry and above average temperature Summer. This isn’t just my imagination either as you’ll see on the rainfall deficiency graph on the Bureau of Meteorology website.
I just find it interesting that the rain hasn’t come in gentle soaking showers. Instead we seem to end up having steamy days with ultra-high humidity which end in a biblical-like deluge for an hour or two which causes flash flooding, traffic chaos and general disruption. I’m talking 40-80mm of rain in an hour or so! Hang on – I think I’m describing Queensland weather…
My friend has told me that I’m a weather nerd – hmmm, maybe she’s right :)
It’s almost like the heavens have said “Let’s focus on this spot, right here, right now, and we’ll get a lot done in a short time.”
Isn’t that a great word? (i.e. focus) And doesn’t it have some great lessons for us as well?
Named after the Italian civil engineer and economist Vilfredo Pareto, The Pareto Distribution – more commonly known as the Pareto Principle - is a probability distribution used in the description of social, scientific, geophysical, actuarial, and many other types of observable phenomena. For example, in business 80% of the output comes from 20% of the input, 20% of the staff do 80% of the work, 20% of the sales will yield 80% of the profit, and so on. So the lesson is to focus on the 20%!
The Ancient Chinese Philosophy of Wu Xing teaches us a great deal about energy management, ease and effectiveness by simply focussing activities of similar energy together. (Blaze, Earth, Steel, Water and Wood energies correspond to people, organising, clearing, source and creative activities)
And when we group or batch work of a similar nature together, this focus allows you to build momentum and “get in the groove”, the “zone” or “flow”. For example, in a manufacturing environment it can help minimise changeovers. Or if you are preparing invoices, doing them all at the same time is an efficient way to go.
I also love that the word FOCUS is an acronym for Follow One Course Until Successful!
The principle of focus is from where my concept for Fire Hose Sessions came.
Have you ever seen a fire hose that is spraying water all over the place because it isn’t being held everything gets a bit wet but not much is achieved?
However when the fire hose is directed at one point the concentrated spray soaks the object of attention very quickly.
Well that’s what a Fire Hose Session is all about. I help you hold the hose and concentrate attention on your burning issue of the moment - making a very real difference in an incredibly short period of time. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more.
Meanwhile, back to my rain radar :)
If you’ve ever fully lost your voice or perhaps had a cold that has severely restricted your vocal use, you’ll know just how frustrating it is to function in your everyday life when you can’t make a sound. We use our voices to communicate with each other, to laugh, cry, sing and even scream. There isn’t really much you do in your daily life that doesn’t involve the use of your voice in some way shape or form. And all of this comes from a tiny organ about the size of a stamp.
I have been accused in the past of being paranoid about keeping my distance from people with obviously contagious ailments that could affect my voice. It’s true – I even carry a spare face mask in the “emergency kit” in my bag. But this is perfectly understandable because as a presenter, facilitator, coach and singer etc., my voice is one of my main tools of the trade and a key asset. (I also carry a spare green tea teabag, multi-coloured pen, nail clippers and band-aid in case you were wondering!)
Now whilst World Voice Day is focussed on raising our awareness to the importance of having a physically healthy voice, it did also make me think about our metaphoric voice - in other words, our purpose, our mission, our destiny, our calling, our genius, our life’s work or our legacy. These are all embraced in something I have described recently as our Soul Goals.
We all have an audience - whether this is a small audience such as your family or your company, a bigger audience such as your community or your country, or an enormous audience such as the world. What determines your audience will be your Soul Goals.
Your Soul Goals are unlikely to be money or possessions. They may be things you want to do. Almost certainly they will incorporate the person you want to be. One thing is for sure though, you will be called to them – by your Heart, your Soul, your Spirit Guides, your Higher Self, your God, the Universe…
If you listen you will hear. The problem is most of us don’t listen - or we haven’t been taught how! Or can we even hear it anyway?
Your Soul’s voice starts off quite subtle with whispers and suggestions, but if you ignore it the voice has to get louder and louder. And if you ignore it altogether it may end up hitting you over the head with a piece of metaphoric 4 x 2 plank. These are the things you end up calling your biggest “life lessons”.
Often you will hear the message from your Soul but then override it with what you think you “should” do. These thoughts are generally based on someone else’s values which you have adopted for some reason or another. It might even have it’s origins in the subconscious parental programming you received when you were an infant.
Or perhaps you have allowed your Ego’s voice to be louder than your Soul’s voice? This is so easy to do in a scientific world where the power of your mind or intellect is more important than the messages from our feelings or intuition. Thankfully this is changing!
Let me give you a couple of concrete examples of this. Your Soul doesn’t wants to stop hanging out with the friend you’ve known for twenty years, but your Ego says that you just have to – and you end up resenting the person and the time. Or your intuition tells you not to do business with a certain person but your mind justifies why you should – and it turns out badly.
I have found that the secret lies in being authentic and truthful to yourself. It lies in uncovering what is the true spirit of your work. So how do you do this? The answer to that is too long for this short blog, but you could start by looking at the following questions:
What makes you come alive and reminds you of who you are?
What do you love to talk about, learn about, and/or teach others about?
What makes you feel great about yourself?
What are you doing when your heart sings?
What topic would your TED talk be on?
As JV Crum said:
“By paying attention to what is in your heart – the authentic ways you want to help others, then expressing these in your business purpose – you will not only make a powerful difference, you will create your highest profits.”
One of the inspiring things that women have brought to the world of business has been a much more overt examination of purpose and meaning. They will often start their businesses around their personal values, their families, their causes, their desired lifestyles, their passions and their natural gifts.
But many times I’ve seen women entrepreneurs forget that their business is a vehicle that allows them to make money so they can live the life they want and enjoy the work they do. It can certainly help you be your best you, but your business is not you. And by failing to draw a line between who we are and what we do, we can then have other significant challenges – especially as it’s hard to be objective about our own business.
For most men you can forget about higher purpose – its results that count! That’s the nature of the competitive business “game” that men created and enjoy playing. The commercial model is competitive – competing for customers, market share, share of wallet etc. This means win-lose at some level. Someone else – a competitor – must lose for us to win.
A “successful” business must deliver some level of financial return on investment. Whether this aligns with the business owner’s personal values and higher purpose is not that important in the male model. The argument goes “How can you fulfil a higher purpose when the business isn’t making money?”
Most conversation around the male-female difference above assumes the two are mutually exclusive. I don’t believe that.
Pursuit of the almighty dollar in isolation is soul-less. And we’ve seen the trend demanded by increasingly empowered and informed consumers for businesses with authenticity and a social conscious. There is no denying the influence that social media and the internet more generally has had on buying decisions.
And of course a business that doesn’t have a sound strategic model driving it, that doesn’t make some return, won’t be around very long.
There you go – a commercial reason for creating a Higher Purpose Business!
When I first pondered this question I thought “How can I possibly choose just one lesson from the thousands of major mistakes from which I’ve learned?” But then the answer became very clear very quickly – there is one which stands above all the others. And interestingly, it is the same lesson for both my personal and business life.
Life today is all about speed and fast action. The rate of change continues to accelerate, so we have to think, move and act faster and faster. But there are some things I have found it is much more appropriate to slow down.
The biggest mistakes I have made have been when I have not taken enough time to establish a trusting relationship before making a further “investment”. And the times I have taken the time, I have gotten it right.
Often when we meet a person for the first time we can be inspired (business) or infatuated (personal) and this can lead us to rush into an over-commitment. The ultimate result is very often a fizzle and/or no productivity.
From my experience, when I have taken the time to develop trust and loyalty before going for the “payoff” i.e. by building a substantive relationship, this has provided a very solid foundation for the future. And the productivity in the relationship follows.
Think of it like a courtship or an engagement. Sometimes it can happen in 5 minutes and sometimes it takes years. But the key lesson is that building the relationship first is the most important – whether it be with a life partner or a business partner.
People do business with each other when they like and trust each other.
A client of mine moved earlier this year from a small commercial kitchen in an industrial area to a much larger commercial kitchen with a fabulous shop front display and client meeting/display area.
So this is the first year she has had to think about a Christmas display.
She was very excited by the choices. Should she go for a 2 metre fibre-optic moving reindeer? Or a Santa that lights up and sings while gyrating his hips? Or the large inflatable snow globe with a constant flurry of snow inside? And of course how could she pass up elf hats for her team and the basketball sized baubles?
She was like a kid in a lolly shop!
And isn’t that just what we want our businesses to he like too? Don’t we also want that when a client comes in to see us - or even when we go to see them - they are thinking “Ooh I must have that…and that…and that!”
How can you design your business and sales processes to have this effect?
Ask yourself if you had a heart attack and could only work 2 hours a day and needed to make at least the same amount of profit monthly, what would you do?
If you had a second heart attack and could work only 2 hours per week what would you do then?
There are 3 principal ways you can “create” time:
1) Get someone to do it for you.
2) Still do it, but do it as efficiently as possible via technology, systems etc.
3) Don’t do it at all.
As regards getting someone to do it for you – you shouldn’t be afraid to trade money for time. There are times when it makes more sense to spend money than to do it yourself. Here are three instances:
1) When you can use your time more profitably. Does it make sense to turn down work paying $300 an hour so you can do something you could hire someone for $30 an hour to do?
2) When your cost in actual dollars may be less by outsourcing e.g. buying the equipment to print your own manuals versus having it done by a print shop that already has the equipment.
3) When hiring someone will get better results than if you do it yourself.
And as a bonus, you will probably also find that when you take away some of the tasks that make you less productive, you will enjoy your work even more.
Using technology, systems etc. to become more efficient is really a “no-brainer”. But don’t overlook the idea of not doing something at all. Remember that 80% of your results comes from 20% of the input. So some of that other 80% of input may not be worth doing at all!
The Six P’s
My first exposure to the Six P’s was when I undertook basic training in the Army. It was drilled into us that “Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Poor Performance”. (Actually I have sanitised that just a bit :).
Being a somewhat optimistic and positive thinking person, I later converted the Six P’s to be “Prior Preparation and Planning Promotes Positive Performance”.
So what’s the point of telling you about this?
Well, watch the short video above and I’ll explain…