Rest & Relaxation for Business Owners – Luxury or Lifeblood?

Rest & Relaxation is Lifeblood not Luxury for Small Business OwnersRest & Relaxation (R&R) is not just a luxury for the well-to-do. It is essential to our well-being and is truly not optional.  It is the lifeblood that keeps us sharp mentally and physically while giving our creative juices time to rejuvenate.

When I say R&R, what picture or words come to mind?  Do you see R&R only as being a lavish vacation or available only to the “ladies who lunch”?  Do you hear some authority figure yelling at you that you’re lazy, unproductive, and will never amount to anything?  Do you simply see your to-do list growing if you even contemplate “relaxing”?

You wouldn’t think of running your car nonstop without preventative maintenance, turning it off at night, or stopping for fuel.  If you did, it’d break down and simply stop functioning.  So, what makes you think your body and mind should be any different and be expected to trudge on constantly? [Read more…]

Painting as a Doorway Inside Your Business

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 more…]

The Power of Flow [Video]

Do you find yourself struggling or in a state of flow?

Are you working really hard to swim against the current or partnering with the true nature of things to work with more ease and experience better results?

Join me as I offer you a lesson in using flow up close and personal.

Using the river as teacher I will invite you into some thought-provoking contemplation and practical action to get your life and business moving in the direction you want it to.

(takes less than 2 minutes of your time!)

The Focused Intensity -Rest Cycle of Peak Performance

Do you think that in order to succeed and be productive that you have to keep pushing and plugging away?

Do you think that if you just work harder, try harder, and force yourself to focus that you’ll figure it all out?

If you do, you are likely falling trap to the myth of pushing through challenges with the hope that the answer you seek is on the other side.

I used to feel like I had to go at it like a person possessed.  Whether it was working in my business, riding my bike, or back in the days that I studied guitar, I always had to do things 110% all the time.  After all, we want to give our best effort and do what it takes, right?

The problem with this approach is it only leaves you injured/ill, burned out, and frustrated (even if you reach some external goal you were shooting for). Lucky for me I got to be injured, burned out, frustrated, and end up hating the very things I wanted to love.

What is truly needed to perform at your very best is a cycle of intensity and focused work followed by intentional rest.

Rest for Peak PerformanceLet’s take my kittens for example, a living example of peak performance. They can play, leap, chase, and practically fly through the air with intensity and focus that I could only dream of.  They run until their mouths hang open panting for air with a thoroughly satisfied look on their face.  Then they rest.  Full-on, unabashed, and absolute slumber.  Their limbs are Gumby-like and they are out cold.

The contrast between effort and rest is what enables them to get up and do it all over again in an effortless display of feline prowess.

The same cycle of focused intensity combined with rest can be found in elite performers of all kind: athletes, musicians, dancers, and business leaders.  It is what makes someone a peak performer.

So if you are looking to be that peak performer in your own life, you need to consciously create this yin and yang for yourself.  You simply can’t just “suck it up” for “as long as it takes”.

Here’s how you can cultivate this for yourself.

First, the inner awareness:

The mindset shift is perhaps the biggest obstacle in all of this.  High achievers feel like they need to be “doing something” at all times which can lead to over-efforting as well as being spread too thin attempting to do and focus on too many things at once.  Remember: even my kittens are only successful when they focus on one thing at a time.  The minute they try to watch both the bird and the toy, they capture neither.

Give yourself permission to see rest, play, and stillness as honoring your commitment to being your best and reaching your goal. [Read more…]

5 Tools to Cultivate Mindfulness in Your Business

Mindfulness in BusinessClients consistently tell me that I have a grounding presence in their lives.  The stability, mindfulness, and caring that I exhibit helps them nourish those same qualities within themselves as they go about starting or growing their business.  I attribute this part of my presence to my mindfulness practices.

While I certainly don’t always exhibit calm and equanimity in my life – I am just a regular human being same as everyone else, I have found that my ability to tap into these qualities is activated and deepened by my own commitment to a practice of mindfulness, both formal and “on-the-go”.

So, what is mindfulness? One of my favorite definitions comes from a brochure for the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society:

“Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment. We feel more alive. We also gain immediate access to our own powerful inner resources for insight, transformation, and healing.”

This act of being fully awake has a direct impact on the quality of our experience as business owners and our ability to be successful. It’s not just “soft, touchy-feely stuff”. Long before mindfulness became something we talked about, management guru Peter Drucker saw the connection between mindfulness and business. In his 1968 book The Age of Discontinuity he said: “Trained perception and disciplined emotion are as pertinent to the ability to earn a livelihood as they are to the mature human personality.”

Our minds, attention, intuition, and well-being are truly our most important assets when it comes to being a business owner. It is at the core of every moment, every decision, and frankly every dime earned.

Mindfulness is a practice born of ancient wisdom that has become the “new” secret to success.  In Mindful (April 2013), Jeremy Hunter writes

“It seems to us now that beyond cloud computers and brilliant smartphones, the secret to productivity lies within and between us. It’s about a calmer, more open and undistracted mind, greater self-awareness, and an enhanced capacity for self-transformation – not to mention disciplined passions and stronger human relationships.”

I know my own personal ongoing practice of cultivating mindfulness has changed my life and my business for the better. You don’t have to retreat to a mountaintop to do this.  That is why I want to share with you my personal top 5 tools that are easy-to-use, don’t require much time, and can be used wherever you go (because there you are!). [Read more…]

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority

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