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How Your Work Is Received Is Not Up To You

How Your Work Is Received Is Not Up To You

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection”

~ Mark Twain

In early 2021, I ran my first ever paid for online workshop. For the longest time, I had in one way or another been talking or thinking about offering online classes. However, until that point, I’d never sold a group class or workshop online.

But I had actually taught online a heap.

For the launch of my (now retired) Female Business Academy (FBA) back in 2017, I taught several free online workshops. Once the FBA was up and running, I taught several online classes to the members. I’ve also taught a lot of online classes to the 2020 and 2021 Conscious Business Mastermind (CBM) cohorts AND I taught free classes to huge audiences as part of the Embodiment Conference twice last year.

It’s safe to say that I have taught online regularly and I’m more than comfortable doing it.

YET…

For some reason, I’ve had huge resistance to offering regular, paid for online classes and workshops to my wider audience. Which I’ll admit baffled me for a while. Having been in business for myself in one way or another for close to a decade, I don’t usually have a problem with resistance. I felt sure that I had successfully fought and slayed the fear of failure and being more visible dragons long ago but, here I have been not wanting to offer a paid for online workshop.

I have one way to deal with resistance. I call it front-loading the fear. I take one big step to announce to the world that I am going to do the very thing I’m feeling resistance towards and then, motivated by the pressure to keep to my word, I take action. Which is exactly what I did, on the spur of the moment I decided to announce a free online class that very Friday.

I set everything up and promoted it across my social media channels and initially felt relief as people started signing up, which quickly turned to mild panic as the number rose to 40 people. It’s funny, I thought my biggest fear was that no one would show up, but it turns out that my biggest fear was a load of people turning up. Allow me to explain.

I have two core offerings, my 1:1 coaching and my Conscious Business Mastermind. For both of these, I don’t take anyone on I haven’t coached or spoken to at length first. Meaning, I get to choose who I work with. For a recovering control freak, this was more important to me than I realised. My fear of online workshops, it turns out, is that I have zero control over who turns up or how many people turn up.

Despite having a stonking headache about a half hour before the class and the fact that it was last thing on a Friday (by which time I usually pretty spent), I felt like it went okay. Because the main purpose in running the class was to practice my registration process, gain some confidence and get feedback, I told attendees at the end of the 90 minutes that should they wish to receive the recording and resource guide, they would need to complete the feedback form.

A link to the form went out 10 minutes after the call ended and I waited nervously for the first completed form to land. I didn’t have long to wait. I let out a huge sigh of relief as I read words like “It went beyond my expectations…You are a breath of fresh air.” and “not a single word was out of place.”, then the second form came in and it was just as positive.

Okay, I told myself, it looks like people liked it. When the third form came in, I had already concluded that the class had gone well, so when I read that this respondent found my delivery monotonous and that they felt they had learned nothing new in the class, I felt a wave of shame flood my body. The feeling was visceral. Another 20 forms came in over the next hour or so and they were all positive. All the other forms I received were positive, some extremely so.

YET,

Because of this one form, it took me several hours to shake off the feeling that I had seriously messed up.

Thankfully that feeling didn’t last long and with a bit of time, I was mostly just deeply grateful for the comments I received on all of the forms. In fact the one form that expressed disappointment in the class is the one form that I feel set me free.

As great as it is to get nice feedback, when the feedback we get is in the main positive, we’re much more likely to get complacent about our work and/or live in fear of the bad review, the unhappy customer or client. When the worst case happens and someone lets you know that they didn’t get much out of your offering, whilst it stings initially, with a little time and perspective, it’s actually quite liberating.

Even though I’ve always known on an intellectual level that we can’t please everybody, all of the time, I think as humans we deep down secretly try to. So when someone lets you know that what you created fell short for them, it actually bursts a bubble. A bubble in which you tell yourself that everything you put out into the world has to be perfect. Because here’s the thing.

How your work is received is not up to you.

When one person can say “It was one of the most value packed workshops I’ve been to (paid or free).” and another can say they “didn’t learn anything new.” then there is no clearer message to me that how my work is received is out of my hands and what a relief it is to let that go.

I probably don’t have to tell you why I am sharing this but just in case there is any doubt, I will.

I see amazing, smart, conscious business owners play small ALL the time, in an attempt to avoid “failing”, getting criticized or being disliked and I get it, we’re hardwired to avoid rejection. Hundreds and thousands of years ago rejection by our fellow humans would have meant death, but this isn’t the case anymore.

The truth is that failure is an inevitable and extremely important part of growth.

Had I allowed my resistance to win, I might have had a more pleasant Friday night, but I wouldn’t have given myself this opportunity to grow. That one piece of less than positive feedback helped me to look more closely at all of the feedback I received and really dig deep for any and all improvements I can make for next time.

Because of all of the feedback, my future classes will be better. Rather than resting on my laurels, I’m motivated to do even better next time — not from a striving perfectionist place but from a place of curiosity about how to make continuous improvements to my work and my offerings. Trust me when I say that coming from a place of curiosity feels infinitely better than coming from a place of perfectionism.

So how about you? What have you been putting off launching to the world?

I know there’s something because we all have something! If you feel called to share it with me, comment below, and if you feel like trying my tactic of front-loading the fear, head over to my free Facebook Group right now and announce the launch of your thing to the world!

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How To Tap Into A Consistent Flow Of Inspiration

How To Tap Into A Consistent Flow Of Inspiration

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
~ Pablo Picasso

 

Now, if you know anything at all about me, you’ll know that I believe that consistent content creation is a wonderful way to grow your business.

As a Business Coach then, it’s no surprise that I advocate content creation as a strategy for business growth, to most of the people I coach. Without hesitation, the most common response I get is something along the lines of, “oh yeah but I can’t write on demand” or “I can only write when inspiration strikes.”

In this blog post I’m going to demonstrate why waiting for inspiration to strike before you begin a creative endeavour is the result of flawed thinking and what to do instead.

Let’s cut straight to the chase.

Inspiration is most likely to show up if and when we get our butts in our chair and get down to work.

Whether it’s creating a masterpiece or just churning out your latest blog post, taking steps to begin is our best guarantee of the muse showing up to guide us.

I’ve known this to be true in my own life. It’s how I was able to write 30 blog posts in 30 days back in 2018 – you can trust me when I tell you that I didn’t feel inspired to write my daily blog post on most of those days but I completed the challenge anyhow.

It’s also how I write brand new content pretty much every week even on the days when I’m not sure what the hell I’m going to write about. So many people ask me how I manage to create content so consistently, while at the same time telling me that they simply wouldn’t be able to do it.

My answer is simple. I have scheduled time in my diary every week to sit down and create content and I show up and do it even when I don’t feel like it. Some weeks, I have to drag the words out of me, some days they flow with ease but the one thing that is guaranteed, the more consistently I show up to create content, the more consistently my inspiration flows.

Many of our world’s greatest creators have argued the point that in order to create, rather than wait for inspiration to strike, we must show up and sit down to do the work and the rest will follow.

Steven Pressfield, author of Turning Pro and The War of Art says:

“…she (the artist, the writer) doesn’t wait for inspiration, she acts in the anticipation of its apparition.”

What I love about this quote is that it implies a level of trust. When I talk about consistent content creation, many people share with me that they are worried they will run out of ideas and things to say. Allow me to take a moment now to tell you now that this is impossible. To fear running out of ideas is to imply that inspiration is a finite resources.

Inspiration is, for sure, a mysterious thing. If we don’t get intimate with our muse, it can be forgivable to think that she might flake out on us, that there might be times when she will leave us hanging. But if you’ve ever leaned deep into your relationship with inspiration (aka your muse), you’ll know that if you play your part (butt in chair) she has indeed always got your back.

Novelist Isabel Allende was famously quoted as saying:

“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.”

Liz Gilbert also speaks to this idea in her wonderful book, Big Magic when she writes:

“It’s a relationship, it’s a conversation, and all [the muse] wants is to be treated with respect and dignity — and it will return ten thousand times over.”

You don’t need to be a novelist or a famous artist to develop a relationship with your muse. You don’t need to be working on a masterpiece for her to show up, but you do have to be working on something.

In researching inspiration, I came across two definitions:

  1. The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative.
  2. A divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation.

I thought it interesting that one definition talks of process and another of divinity. I like this. I’m somewhat of a process person, I like the idea that I can follow a process that will churn out a healthy dollop of inspiration at the end of it, but an even bigger part of me likes the idea that inspiration comes from a place we cannot see, from something far bigger than us. That way, it’s not on me to come up with the ideas for my creations, I can tap into an infinite source of divine guidance whenever I show willing and, when necessary, a touch of patience.

I’m not saying that there aren’t hard days, when it feels like inspiration has packed her bags and left for good, but I’ve been writing and creating content for too many years now to fall for that one.

So the next time you tell yourself you can’t be creative unless inspiration strikes, just know that she’s watching you and waiting for you to make the first move.

Trucking Through The Downswings

Trucking Through The Downswings

“I believe there’s a natural ebb and flow to our weeks and months. Sometimes we’re up, everything comes easy and we have an abundance of energy. And sometimes it’s a huge struggle to even work one hour per day.”

~ Niall Doherty

This piece is titled after a blog post I read and loved many years ago, written by the legendary Niall Doherty. I loved this piece because, at the time I first read it (circa 2011), it so well put into words a phenomena I was well-accustomed to but hadn’t realised that we all face.

What I’m referring to is the unavoidable fact that there are times in our life, during which we feel completely motivated and full of energy and there are times (sometimes for no apparent reason) that we’re simply not. In fact, even more so, we feel positively de-motived and seriously lacking in energy.

This state of affairs, if not managed appropriately, can be seriously damaging for the solopreneur. Rarely do we have someone available to pick up the slack when we’re off our game so our business inevitably suffers. Also, if we repeatedly fail to handle these periods properly, we can become disillusioned and depressed about our ability to run a successful business.

We all know how important consistency is to our success, right? So how do we maintain consistency of output when our energy and motivation levels fluctuate so regularly?

And let’s get real here, when we’re talking about the downswing, it’s not just the natural ebb and flow of our energy that we need to consider, it’s all the other things life throws at us along the way, such as illness, emotional upheaval, holidays, distractions and general life stuff. Given how much life throws at us in the course of our daily lives, it’s no wonder that our “flow” is, more often than not, reduced to a trickle rather than a steady gush.

So, what are we to do with this?

I wish there was a simple fix but unfortunately there isn’t. The reason for this is two-fold:

a) downswings (or rough patches) are a natural part of life and therefore cannot be eliminated entirely and
b) the way to better handle a downswing is extremely nuanced. There is, unfortunately, no one-size fits all approach.

By nuanced I mean that there are times when the response to your downswing is to get tough and display some serious discipline and at others it’s to give yourself a break and allow yourself to recover and regroup plus a plethora of responses somewhere in-between.

The problem I see most people face is that they are either consistently hard on themselves and are therefore on a fast track to burnout, or they consistently let themselves off the hook and as a result, never really make ground with their businesses.

I have a few suggestions to help you better manage this:

1. Raise your awareness

Raising your awareness of your emotional, mental and physical state is absolutely key for navigating the highs and lows of life. One way I love to do this is a practice called morning pages, where, first thing, before doing anything else, I free write 750 words, no editing, no purpose, just writing whatever is present in the moment, this can really help you to better understand what’s going on for you. When we know what’s going on and have an awareness of how we’re truly feeling, then we’re better equipped to choose an appropriate course of action.

2. Get honest with yourself

With your awareness raised, you’re far better placed to choose an appropriate response to whatever is going on for you. Feeling tired because you stayed up late and binge-watched Netflix episodes? Then suck it up and get back on track, because giving into the temptation to lie in is a slippery slope. Feeling run-down because you’ve been sick, whilst working too many hours on your business and caring for a family member? Then consider giving yourself a break and/or some nurturing self-care. If you have taken the time to truly understand what’s going on for you, and follow that with being really honest with yourself about what you need then the appropriate course of action will become clear.

3. Make the most of the upswings

Knowing that a downswing can strike at any moment, it’s crucial to make the most of those times when we’re on fire and feeling like we can accomplish anything. Feeling in the flow with your writing? Why not batch create a few blog posts so that you have something in reserve for the weeks you’re really not feeling it? Feeling lit up by creating graphics in Canva? don’t stop at the ones you need for this week, batch create enough to cover you in less productive times. Taking into account the fact that your upswing will inevitably transition into it’s well-known counterpart, allows you to make the most of your periods of increased creativity to put in place things that can cover you during the low.

And if all else fails, use your downswing as inspiration for your business. The idea for this post for example came during  the middle of one of my own personal downswings and rather than pull out my hair trying to figure out what to share, I looked at what I was experiencing and chose to share this: my best advice for dealing with this very situation.

This is important for several reasons. First of all because it gets my mind thinking about what I personally need to do (or not do) in order to feel better and secondly it’s important for my audience to know that I too struggle with periods of low energy and a lack of productivity. If all I did was present to you my best self, that would suck because it might have you believe that what you feel when your motivation levels are on the floor isn’t normal and is somehow a failing on your part.

Rest assured it’s not. We all struggle. We all have downswings and there is a way to succeed in spite of them.

Seven Ways to Start Leaning into ease

Seven Ways to Start Leaning into ease

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
~ Anne Lamott

 

One of my words of the year for 2021 is E A S E. (The other in case you are wondering is Health). The more we get into this year, the more I’m realising that in order to feel truly healthy (rested and nourished in mind, body and soul), the easier my life needs to feel, so leaning into ease is taking top priority for now. 

Why is ease so important for me (and potentially you)? Well personally I have a habit of making things harder than they need to be. What I’m realising is that somewhere along the line, I picked up the idea that in order for the things I do to be valuable or to have meaning they must require hard work.

It’s no surprise that these are linked in my mind. We live in a world that highly values productivity (output) and hard work so it makes sense that the idea I could do work I love, have a positive impact on others, make a decent living AND for it to be easy can at times feel like a pipe dream. Perhaps you can relate? 

Here’s the thing though. I absolutely know that it’s possible to have money, impact and ease because I’ve seen evidence of it in my own life and work. I can also see quite clearly how I get in the way of said ease. For me, it’s over-working – pure and simple. It’s staying at my desk, looking at the screen when instead I should be taking a break. It’s buying into the idea that working harder (instead of smarter) will help me to achieve more, which leads to nothing more than a treadmill type of existence. 

When I examine where this comes from, I think of my old 9-5 life, where presenteeism was a real thing, where it sometimes felt like the best way to demonstrate one’s value was to be “at your desk” – coming in early, staying late, working through lunch – all of which I did and more! Now as my own boss, I’ve come to see how I’ve continued this unhelpful pattern and the negative impact it has on real and sustainable productivity (and life!).

With all of this in mind, I’ve been looking at a combination of practical and mindset changes I can make to get back to a feeling of ease and calm with my work and as a result I’ve been making some changes around here. 

Commiting to ease

As simple as it sounds committing to having life be easier has been a game changer for me lately. In making the commitment, I’m not only taking practical and strategic steps (more on those below) to make this happen but I’m also signalling to my brain that I believe ease is possible even within my demanding schedule (busy full-time business + two small children + yearlong new home refurbishment project!).  

What that has looked like in practice is asking myself on a moment by moment basis, how can this be easier? This question can bring about the simplest changes to bring in more ease, which add up pretty quickly to a calmer and easier way of being. 

Carving out Focus time

My working days are very full, I have a full 1:1 coaching roster and group mastermind, which means I do lots of video calls on a daily basis. Because of this all of the non client facing work (content creation. marketing, product + service creation, business admin etc) I need to do has to get done between calls. Until recently I simply blocked these times out as “work” slots and they could be anything from 1 hour to 3 hours long.

I’ve long known about the power of time blocking but because of how scheduled my days already are, I had been resisting scheduling even more in my calendar. The negative effect of this is that oftentimes I have long periods of time at my desk without clear boundaries around what I am working on and when I can take breaks. Cue reduced focus and increased fatigue.

Lately, I’ve rejoined Focusmate – a tool that allows you to schedule 50 minute accountability sessions with another person to work on a specific task. These really help me to stay on task for a full 50 minutes after which I allow myself a break. Deeply focusing on one task for 50 minutes is far more effective for me than allowing myself 3 unstructured hours in which I aim to “get stuff done”. 

Making breaks sacred

The flip side to scheduling structured focus time is to also schedule clear opportunities for breaks. But if you’re anything like me, breaks often feel like the hardest thing on the schedule to stick to. As Cal Newport says in Deep Work (one of my all-time favourite books):

“Ironically, jobs are actually easier to enjoy than free time, because like flow activities they have built-in goals, feedback rules, and challenges, all of which encourage one to become involved in one’s work, to concentrate and lose oneself in it. Free time, on the other hand, is unstructured, and requires much greater effort to be shaped into something that can be enjoyed.”

Something that has really helped me with this lately is reading. I’ve always been an avid reader but over the last few years since children came into play, reading has become somewhat of a luxury. 

In honour of ease and to support my commitment to taking breaks, I’ve started reading novels again and use my breaks to read for 15 minutes in between sessions or focused work slots. This is working for me on several levels, I now have an incentive to stop working and step away from my desk, I get to do something I love that I had previously struggled to find the time for and because I am reading books that I really enjoy, I get so engrossed that I am able to completely disconnect from my work during my break.

This is very much a win-win as it allows me to take a meaningful break and return to my work feeling rested and re-energised. 

Taking time off

Similar to taking breaks but different. My default for years has been to take time off from my work on an adhoc basis as and only when it feels absolutely necessary. This year, right at the off-set, I booked off all of the school, national and regional holidays. More importantly, I’m committed to being completely OFF work during those times. Recently was a great example.

Here in Spain, Thursday and Friday were holidays and school was closed, rather than do what I would usually do – i.e. juggle work and childcare with my partner and members of his family – instead I took both days off completely. Aside from liking a few posts on Facebook, I did no work whatsoever and it was blissful. Nearly all four days were spent either reading, relaxing in the sun on our piece of land or playing with my boys. 

Have I come back to an overflowing inbox? Sure! Has it taken me awhile to get back into the swing of things this week? Sure! Do I feel 10 times more rested than I did last week? Absolutely 🙂 

Repeating what works

Or put another way, don’t reinvent the wheel. Something I have been putting into place over the last few years is repurposing things I have already created. The temptation for me (and other business owners I’ve talked to) is to always feel like you need to create something new. I see this a lot and I recognise it from my earlier days in business.

What often happens is that we plough a ton of energy into creating something pretty darn good and we publish it, run it, roll it out once and then, without so much as a backward glance, move on to the next thing. What a way to make things harder for ourselves. 

As a fairly prolific creator, repurposing has become my new business besty. I’ll share a very recent and live example. I love creating and running free challenges and over the years I’ve created many. This year in honour of ease, I’m repurposing all of the challenges I’ve previously created. We recently completed my free 14-day content challenge and whereas last year it was an all-consuming event as I created all of the graphics, prompts and emails from scratch and to a deadline, this year all I’ve needed to do was make a few tweaks, schedule the emails and prompts and I was good to go. It’s amazing how good it feels to repeat something versus creating it from scratch. 

As I lean into ease I aim to do this whenever possible. 

Asking for help

As a recovering perfectionist/control freak, asking for help doesn’t come easily for me. Truth be told, I’m much more inclined to tell myself that I know best than to admit that I might not in fact know it all! This year I’m all about asking for help where needed. I’ve hired an assistant who is helping me execute my content plan (he does all of the repurposing for me!), I’ve joined a business mastermind so that I can get the business support I need (yes even business coaches can benefit from business coaching!) and I recently responded to three offers for complimentary coaching sessions on the topics of conscious parentingmindset coaching on letting things be easier and another on practical self care. All of these women are incredible coaches who I highly recommend checking out. 

It feels like such a gift to be on the receiving end of coaching rather than the one delivering it. I’ve had several coaches over the years but it’s been the longest while since I’ve had anyone supporting me. The insights and shifts I’ve already seen as a result of some of these sessions has been life-changing. 

Keep coming back 

Like all new habits, coming back to ease is a practice and to stay consistent with it, I need to remind myself regularly to do so. Of course, as is usually the way, the Universe has pointed me towards some resources to help with this. Annoyingly, I don’t recall who I got these questions from – I’m fairly certain I found them as I was scrolling through Instagram and now have them typed up, printed out and pinned to the wall above my computer screen: 

1. How can I let this be easy? 
2. Is there someone else who can help me with this?
3. What’s the simplest way to get this done?

Seeing and asking myself these questions on a daily basis really helps to make leaning into ease a daily practice.

And there you have it, 7 things I’ve been doing in my life and business lately to honour my word of the year. 

5 Essential Qualities Every Business Owner Should Cultivate

5 Essential Qualities Every Business Owner Should Cultivate

“Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.”

~ Napoleon Hill

Being successful in business is not simply about having the right strategy and tools to hand. If it were then way more people would be finding huge success both swiftly and easily, because here’s the thing. The way to build a successful business, is all out there on the internet for free. Sure you might have to sift through a load of crap advice, but you could find a good teacher or coach and steadily implement what they share with you and you would be laughing all the way to the bank.

But this isn’t how it works, is it?

It doesn’t work like this because we’re human. And as humans we love to get in our own way. We have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be and if we’re consistent about anything, it’s allowing our self-imposed limitations (fear, doubt, lack of self-belief and so on) to hold us back at every turn. As I contemplated this recently, I realised that there are several qualities we would do well to better cultivate, in order to increase our chances of success.

In this post, I share five of these qualities with you.

1. Passion

If you want to build your own business simply because you like the idea of making a lot of money working in your pyjamas and think that doing so sounds easier than going to work 9-5 for someone else then you’re headed for huge disappointment.

To truly succeed in business and feel happy and fulfilled as you work towards that, you have to have passion for what you do and why you are doing it. Otherwise, when things get tough (which they inevitably do), you won’t have anything to hold on to. When I see new business owners flitting from niche to niche, trying as hard as they can to pick something that will stick, I can’t help feeling that they’re already facing an uphill battle.

Having a burning passion for what you do is the difference between having the wind behind you as you climb the mountain verses blowing hard in your face. That’s why it’s so important to look deep into your soul when it comes to building your business and figure out what really matters to you and how you can uniquely contribute to the betterment of this world.

2. Courage 

Being an entrepreneur requires you to leap into the unknown, time and time again. To create and put your work out there on a regular basis, with limited, or often no, knowledge of how it will be received. There is no doubt about it that for many people this requires courage.

If you’re lucky enough to not care if what you put out into the world fails or succeed, then you’re seriously ahead of the game! Personally, I have got to a point in my life and business where I care little about other people’s reactions (as a result no doubt of cultivating the qualities I share here) but for most people, this is a work in progress. When we can create with true abandon, that’s when we become truly resilient.

Until that time, you will have to call on your courage to see you through. The good news is that being courageous doesn’t mean being fearless, you can feel terrified and still move forward.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

~ Nelson Mandela

3. Curiosity 

This is a quality I often see overlooked but one that I believe is crucial in business. We live in a time where the answer to every question is pretty much at our fingertips. With tools like Google and Youtube, we can, with a smart phone or computer, literally find out how to do anything online. Yet often I meet people who seem completely stumped trying to figure things out, things they could easily uncover with a little bit of curiosity. What I see most often is people making assumptions about why something hasn’t or isn’t working. Many assume something won’t work before they’ve even tried.

It’s hugely important to be curious about what is and isn’t working in business. I’m a huge believer in not taking what seems like a failure to heart but instead to look at the variables and ask ourselves, what could be done differently that might, in the future, lead to a different outcome.  Being relentless about asking questions like:

Could I refine my product or service so it’s a better fit for my ideal clients? 

Is there something about the way I’m talking about this product or service that’s confusing to my audience? 

Have I shared information about this product or service widely enough and with enough of the right people? 

What else could I change about what I’m doing to get more sales? 

I often talk to my clients about the importance of becoming like a scientist when it comes to their business.

4. Perseverance 

Something I’ve noticed about the people who succeed, is that they have, at least to some extent, a belief that if they keep at it, eventually, come hell or high water, they will make it. That’s definitely been true for me. Even when all signs have pointed to the opposite, I have never allowed myself to believe that I can’t achieve what I’ve set out for myself.

One of my favourite lessons from Napoleon Hill’s famous book, Think and Grow Rich is “Three Feet from Gold.” If you don’t know the story about perseverance and what happens when you give up too soon, you can read it here.

Allow me to tell you a personal story that sheds more light on this. Years ago, I was sharing with a boyfriend the fact that I wanted to write and publish a book one day. He laughed and said “Don’t you think millions of people have that exact same dream?” without batting an eyelid, I replied, “Yes of course but what do you think is the key difference between those who achieve the dream and those who don’t? The former don’t care how many other people have the same dream, they keep going while the majority of other people give up (or never even start)!”

He wasn’t convinced, but I have a knowing in my heart that this is true and in case you’re wondering the book is written, it just needs some serious work before I get to the publish part but you know, babies and business have been keeping me a touch busy lately.

5. Resilience 

For me resilience comes as a natural result of all of these other qualities combined. When we are truly passionate about what we’re doing, feel deeply rooted in our why and courageously and determinedly head in that direction, adjusting course with curiosity, as and when needed, then we become resilient. It’s inevitable. The changing winds of approval and popularity no longer have a hold on us. We no longer feel beaten down and demotivated when things don’t go as expected or planned, we simply pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, consider and question what we could have done differently and we try again.

And even if that doesn’t work, when we feel we’ve tried every possible iteration of a course of action or strategy to little effect, we simply pivot and we try another approach.

We don’t question ourselves and our abilities, we don’t get down on ourselves and look for reasons why this will never work. Instead we hone and refine our skills and our strategy and we continue. Ever confident that our goal can and will be realised.

This is resilience and given the nature of building, growing and running your own business, believe me you need it.

I hope that reading this list helps and inspires you. These are all qualities that we can work on and cultivate. None of them are beyond you.

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Doing The “Edge Work” in Your Business

Doing The “Edge Work” in Your Business

“He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

In this post I talk about the importance of being courageous in your business and share a few ideas on how you might lean into your edge with your work.

Like all good messages from the Universe, a few things have happened in my business recently that have led me to realise that I’ve been playing it safe in my business (and life) lately and helped me to see how that isn’t serving my personal or professional growth.

The first was a coaching session I had with one of my clients which resulted in her taking on a personal “10 Courageous Acts Challenge” in July. I felt inspired to join her and wrote out my own list of courageous acts to be completed in July.

As is often the way, my intention to be more courageous, was immediately met by an opportunity to be so. My favourite business mentor, George Kao, asked me if he could interview me for his Facebook business page and Youtube channel. Of course I said yes and you can watch the recording of it here. Even though I’ve been interviewed before and have, myself, interviewed many people, I definitely noticed the nerves before this one, which felt good once I reminded myself that “Fear is excitement without breath” (Robert Heller)

The third thing was reading a blog post by another client of mine, in which she talks about the importance of edge work and says this:“Edge work is some of the hardest work you will have to do. It’ll require you to go right the edge of your comfort zone. It’ll push you beyond that comfy place in incremental little baby steps and in big, bold, powerful moves, time and time and time again.”

As a coach, I’ve always been about the edge work. I’ve known for the longest time that the best experience we can have of being alive comes when we’re prepared to venture beyond the edges of our comfort zone.

Building and growing a business is a pursuit rife with opportunities for edge work and our willingness to be courageous is instrumental in our business success. If you want to truly succeed in business, you have to be willing to face your fears, take risks and step into the unknown. Failure to do so will undoubtedly impact your ability to grow a business that is not only impactful but also sustainable over the long term.

So what kind of fears am I talking about? Allow me to share a couple that I see come up on a regular basis.

  • Being visible online.
  • Reaching out and 1:1 making connections.
  • Marketing your products and services widely and consistently.
  • Being honest and direct with clients.
  • Setting and maintaining boundaries.

When we avoid facing our fears in business the net result tends to be that we keep ourselves and our work hidden, which obviously impacts our reach and our bottom line and means that we enjoy working in our business far less (I mean who genuinely feels good when they’re in hiding!?)

I’d love you to consider where in your business you are playing it safe and how you might lean into your edge there. Where are you yearning to do more of but stop yourself short because of fear. Perhaps it’s one of the below.

  • Reaching out to people you admire in your field and asking them if you can interview them.
  • Making yourself more visible online by using Facebook Live, Instagram stories, videos or podcasting.
  • Setting up 1:1 calls with ideal clients from within your audience.
  • Truly sharing your opinion and point of view in your content and marketing, regardless of the fact that it may turn some people off.
  • Getting on stage and speaking about the incredible work you do in the world.
  • Moving beyond 1:1 and into group work.

There are so many other things I could list here but the truth is your edge is personal to you. What you might find challenging someone else wouldn’t so the real key is to tune in to where you know, deep in your heart, you need to go with your work to take it to the next level.

If fear of what people might think is what stops you, the quote below is for you. I also recommend Brené Brown’s wonderful book Daring Greatly.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt

If you know fear is holding you back in business, feel free to be brave and reach out to me and share what you’re dealing with. I promise to do what I can to help. I also know several life coaches who specifically support business owners with this sort of stuff and would be happy to share their details with you.  

If you want to connect with other conscious business owners, feel free to join my free Facebook group by hitting the button below.