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By paulag | December 11, 2013
I often hear prospects and clients say they will be more confident and ready to move forward in their business and get a better handle on their schedule once things are more certain. The problem with this Catch 22 is that there is no such thing as business as usual. Certainty doesn’t exist in the way we yearn for it to. So if you’re waiting for it to arrive, you will be waiting a very long time.
It is human nature to want to feel in control holding a map laid out before us with guarantees. Mileposts that tell us exactly where we need to go next to achieve what we want. Warm blankets of security waiting for us at every turn so we know everything will be ok.
Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. If there is one thing I’ve learned in my years of being a business owner is that uncertainty is the norm, not the exception. Learning how to navigate the waters is more important than having any map or heeding definitive advice of what you “should” do.
When I work with my clients this is what I help them do. I always say my biggest hope and commitment is to help them learn how to think differently, relate more fully to the experience at hand, and to navigate the inherent uncertainty with confidence.
In the last 6+ years I have had to navigate my life and growing business through:
- Transition from corporate job to being my own boss full-time.
- Not knowing where to go or what to do to find clients while wondering how I was going to pay the mortgage each month.
- The illness and subsequent death of my Mom.
- Starting my business right at the turn of the recession of 2008.
- Several reinventions of my services, offerings, and desired ideal client.
- Illness and death of two beloved pets.
- Some minor health speed bumps of my own.
- Introduction of 3 crazy kittens to the household.
- Relationship challenges.
- Unemployed partner.
- and now upcoming heart surgery and recuperation for my Dad.
Those are just the big ones… I have my fair share of the other, more everyday kind too, all while being the main breadwinner of the house.
I am not unique. I am just like you. A life complete with challenges and celebrations big and small.
I’ve learned a thing or two about how to navigate the uncertainty that I know can help you feel more certain in the midst of it all while not feeling so alone. I want to share those with you. Read the rest of this entry »
By Paula G | November 10, 2013
There you have it – one of life’s little universal truths. The other day as I was in a rush to eat dinner and head off to a networking meeting, I made a salad and really wanted a hard boiled egg on it. So, I put 2 eggs in water on the stove and proceeded to make the rest of the salad, set the table, and get my stuff together to leave for the meeting. It seemed like eons had passed so I whisked the egg out of the pot and started to peel it under cold water.
Well, the egg obviously had other ideas because it wouldn’t peel right – you know the situation where you start peeling and all the egg white rips off with it. Then I attempted to throw it in the egg slicer at which time it gushed all over. So much for the goal of hard boiled. So, I trashed that egg and put the remaining egg back on the burner.
Pacing around the kitchen waiting for the damn egg to finish cooking got me thinking about how we often try to fit reality into what we think should be versus rooting our expectations in what really is realistic. No matter how much of a hurry I was in, there was no rushing this egg or willing it to become hard boiled in 5 minutes versus the usual 10+ minutes it actually takes.
I find the busier I get, the more I want to make things happen on my time frame. I want to make that 30 minute commute in 20 minutes (all while still doing it at a leisurely pace) when I’m running late. I want technical support to reply in an hour and not the 24 hour response window they promise. I want to pay for something with the $20 I budgeted versus the $50 it actually cost.
The problem with slipping into this kind of thinking is that it is a setup for disappointment, failure, and stress. When we regularly expect more (from ourselves and others) than what is realistic, we get frazzled, feel more stressed out, and end up in a lousy mood. It is a lose/lose situation. Not to mention we don’t perform as well because we start feeling desperate about achieving the results we think we should be experiencing.
Inner Awareness Step:
- What do you notice going on inside your mind and body when you find yourself wanting to rush?
- Where in your life and business do you expect the impossible?
Practical Action Step:
- Review your plans, projections, and expectations. Ask yourself truthfully – are these realistic given what I know to be true?
- List 3-5 situations off the top of your head where you regularly try to fit reality into what you think it should be rather than what it really is? Choose to let go of your agenda and get into the flow of what is actually happening.
photo credit: Chris Mower via photopin cc
Topics: Productivity & Self-Care | 2 Comments »
By paulag | October 30, 2013
Use the power and wisdom of the seasons to harness the power of flow in your business. As summer turns to autumn, a time of transition and change is upon us. Join me from the cockpit of my kayak as I offer you an invitation to reflect on what season your business is in and how you can use the wisdom right in front of you to take the right actions rather than resist change.
By paulag | October 15, 2013
First you have to understand. I hate art projects. While I love looking at and admiring art, when someone says we are going to be doing art, my blood runs cold.
I panic and look for an escape route. Maybe I could run screaming from the room! Maybe I could go get a root canal!
This terror comes from a long stream of shame-filled art experiences in school and other venues. Not to mention while I slowly own the fact that I am creative, I am realistic and know that drawing something in a literal sense, is not a gift I possess.
This is why the mere mention of an art jam during the opening of my first Wealthy Thought Leader Gold Retreat made my stress level rise as I searched for a way to run for the hills.
I am so glad I did not trigger the escape hatch and I’m going to tell you why.
Visceral Learning is the Process
First of all, you cannot open the door to a tender space unless it is safe. All the credit for making the art jam a safe place where epiphanies could emerge goes to Daniella Rubinovitz for her incredible process and presence and Andrea J Lee and her amazing team for the vision and environment to make it happen.
When the process started I found myself in a familiar place feeling stressed and tentative about doing something that has nothing but bad and shameful memories attached to it. Also familiar was my full-on commitment to show up fully and surrender knowing that I am safe in the hands of someone I trust deeply.
That’s a pretty emotionally vulnerable place to be.
With specific direction from Daniella on what to paint and the restrictions of using only two colors and white at any given time, I was off and running.
At first I felt self-conscious but that quickly melted away as I was able to sink into the emotion of what was put forth in the directions and magic started to occur. Since this is definitely not my natural way of operating (refer back to the root canal references if you missed that part!), I did have to think my way into experimentation. Exploring my way around using all parts of my hands – front, back, fingernails, long side strokes. Asking myself, “Did I try my non dominant hand? Oh, I didn’t let’s try that and see what happens.” And so forth. Once I got going I was able to not only feel into the process but feel into what it has truly been like in my business the last 6 years. The light moments, the dark moments, the struggles, the pain points, the celebrations, and more.
I was reminded once again of the power of learning experientially in ways that push me way outside of my comfort zone. I’ve had some many examples of this from working with Debbie Ford to climbing trees, to the wisdom of horses just to name a few. Yet each time I experience a new way to access parts of me that typically stay hidden, I am renewed. I break through with a giant leap forward. Read the rest of this entry »
By paulag | October 2, 2013
We all have habits, some good, some bad. Or shall I say, some that move us forward toward an inspiring future and others that keep us stuck in the past. Habits are where the intersection between life and business becomes even more blurry than usual (and those of you that read me regularly know I have a pretty expanded concept of how life and business intersect). This is why I wanted to share my most powerful daily habits with you.
At first glance you might look at this list and think – What does this have to do with growing your business? My answer is everything. Because you are at the core of your business. The hub. The engine. Without you the business doesn’t go forward (particularly if you are self-employed or in a small partnership). As my earliest personal transformation mentor Debbie Ford would teach us – it’s all about the microcosm of the macrocosm. Meaning what affects one part affects the whole. The tiniest thing is a reflection of the largest thing. A bit metaphysical? Yes. Applicable to your business. Without a doubt.
So here are the most important things I do every day that make me more productive, happier, and a better business owner and human being.
Begin with Gratitude
Every morning before my feet hit the floor, I give gratitude for the day. Regardless of my mood upon waking, I say a prayer of thanks. No matter what is going on in my life or business, today is precious. Being alive, breathing, healthy, with others I love, and in a business of my choosing is a gift. Even when I want to go all crankypants before I’ve even dismantled the snooze alarm, I remember what it was like when my mother was dying two years ago. A humbling and very present reminder of the gift that is today. This attitude informs my day and my business dealings.
Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Daily meditation is one of my integrity anchors that I started in 2003 and faithfully commit to. There is the occasional day that gets missed, but usually another form of meditation takes its place that day (like a very long kayak trip on a quiet lake for instance). This has brought a quality of presence and mindfulness to my life and business that I never dreamed was possible. It directly impacts my clients as well. Whether the intentions behind your practice are spiritual, health related, or strictly business performance related, it works. Avoid burnout, increase creativity, cultivate better relationships, and be a more spectacular leader… that’s an ROI that even the skeptics can get behind. Read the rest of this entry »
By paulag | September 18, 2013
If there’s one thing that will get you in a pickle faster than anything, it is over-explaining. Have you ever made a choice and then felt like you had to defend or justify your decision? If you have a pulse and you’re still drawing breath, I would go out on a limb and say that you have (I certainly have!).
Let’s say that someone asks you to attend an event and you have another commitment. Can you decline the invitation gracefully saying “Thank you so much for the invitation but I won’t be able to make it.”? Or, do you feel you have to explain the entire back story around why you can’t make it and secretly pray that your reason is justified or acceptable to the person on the receiving end?
I see this painful cycle of torture play itself out with many of the clients I work with especially when they start to set stronger boundaries and make more powerful choices around how they invest their time and energies. They yearn for more ideal clients, more free time, and dedicated space to work “on” their bigger business goals. But then…
- The people-pleaser in them comes out.
- They feel like their reason for making a choice has to be “valid enough”.
- They seek approval or acceptance from the other person.
This internal tug-of-war gets even worse when the other person is a prospect or client. The mind commotion starts with: What if they don’t like me? What if they take their business elsewhere?
I can really understand this struggle from the inside. I used to feel like I had to over-explain everything. I felt someone else had to be OK with my choices for my choices (and me) to be OK. Read the rest of this entry »
Topics: Intuition & Decisions | No Comments »
By paulag | September 16, 2013
Goals are important to have in business. You need ones that are a real, authentic fit for you. They keep you pointed in the right direction. BUT, if you don’t tap into flow you may just miss the most important things.
In this video from the Delaware River, I offer you another installment in my series of tapping into the power of flow in your business. While upstream, if I were only focused on one goal (getting downstream), I would’ve missed amazing herons, frogs, eagles, and more. You need to stop, look around, and relax on your journey toward reaching your goals. Otherwise, as Ferris Bueller said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
By paulag | September 4, 2013
Have you ever needed to make a decision and then just when you thought you knew what you wanted to do, doubted yourself? In the “I want to do x,y,z…well, I don’t know maybe I shouldn’t? What if it’s the wrong choice? Maybe I don’t deserve it?” sort of way.
C’mon… tell me you haven’t ever done this, I dare you!
Almost everyone has felt this way at some time or another, but the question is – how familiar is this routine for you?
- Do you make it a habit to second-guess all your decisions?
- Do you doubt yourself from the get-go whenever an opportunity or challenge presents itself?
- Do you adopt inaction/keeper of the status quo as your mode of operation because you don’t want to risk taking action or speaking up because you might not do the “right” thing?
If this rings a bell, it is costing you in many ways. You may “think” it is insignificant, but in reality it costs you confidence and money. That’s right, it literally costs you money. Here’s why…
I used to spend hours, days and months, even years locked in analysis paralysis. I could sit in a cup of self-doubt for what seemed like forever. For several years there I made it my full time job. Here’s a sneak peek from one of those times early in my career. My boss would give me a new, more challenging assignment. While I knew I was intelligent and could figure anything out given time and resources, I would almost immediately launch into a panic. I would doubt my abilities, beat myself up because I wasn’t an instant expert at something I had never done before, and literally think “who am I to think I can be any good at this?” Everywhere I looked all I could see where obstacles and more opportunities to second-guess myself.
So you can see where this was not the best way to go about achieving something, right? You can see how this behavior kept me from stepping up to do new things and expand my responsibilities into a higher paying position, right? Read the rest of this entry »