My 5 Most Powerful Daily Habits

5 Daily Habits for SuccessWe 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 more…]

Your Momentary Retreat (Momentary Retreats)

When you are a business owner it’s all go-go-go. Yet if you learn to take a momentary retreat in your day and throughout your week you will realize 4 benefits that seem elusive otherwise.

It might seem counter intuitive to take a break right in the middle of your busy day, but it is exactly what you need to realize 4 critical “P’s”. Join me in this video on the road in Tofino, BC as I walk you through how one moment of retreat can bring you more perspective, playfulness, presence, and peace of mind and what that means for you and your business in terms of creativity, innovation, fun, and satisfaction.

Enjoy the view (and my hat!)

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…]

Silence Speaks Loudly

Silence Speaks LoudlyWhat do you hear in the silence?

Do you ever give yourself permission to be silent so you can listen?

Or, are you terrified of what you might find there?

I recently had the blessing of going away for several days with a small group of women from my meditation community. During that time away to relax, rejuvenate, and go within, there were plenty of opportunities to be silent. In addition to gathering in circle for meditation some of us observed silence for an entire day as well.

When I tell people this, their immediate reaction is:

I could NEVER do that!

They get visibly uncomfortable and start going on about how they could never, ever be in silence for an entire day.

So I ask – why?  They dance around the answer for a while…throwing out excuses like “I’d go nuts” and “What would I DO?” but at the end of the day what they mean is…

I’m afraid of what I’ll discover if I am alone with myself (my thoughts, my feelings) in silence.

Bottom line: this is the source of the discomfort.  And, I understand.  The first time I ever did an extended period of silence was when I did my first weekend at a powerful retreat.  This was more than ten years ago and I was definitely NOT the personal growth/spiritual retreat type (it was my first).  I was terrified but willing.

You know what? I didn’t die.  That’s right… I may have felt awkward, uncomfortable, and more than ready to break the silence at the end, but no lives were lost.  I experienced the world and myself in a different way.  When you aren’t babbling on about something, you truly can and do observe others and yourself differently.  I’ve personally found that there is so much that gets said in the course of a normal day that doesn’t add to the conversation.  It is just noise to fill the space.  In this ongoing noise is where we lose touch with our intuition and ourselves.  After all you can’t hear the whispers when there’s all that cacophony going on.

Consciously observed silence breaks that pattern.

Now, hear me clearly: just because you’ve decided to observe silence on the outside (what is spoken) doesn’t mean your mind is suddenly clear and ripple free like a lake in summer.  Oh no, no, no. Quite the opposite.  [Read more…]

Are You a Seeker?

A few weeks ago I had the immense blessing of spending a long weekend at Omega Institute to be a participant in the workshop “A Seeker’s Guide”.  The workshop was led by Elizabeth Lesser whose books The Seeker’s Guide:Making Your Life a Spiritual Adventure and Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow have made a tremendous impact on me.  What made this workshop particularly special was its timing for me.  I chose to attend fairly last minute as a gift to myself following the difficult and painful events with my Mom’s illness and death just a few weeks prior.  While the workshop spoke to me earlier in the year when I received the workshop catalog, it resonated even more strongly with me now. I saw it as a way for me to immerse myself in this deeply spiritual yet practical work and be in a very nourishing environment for a few days far away from all the external details of running a business and dealing with these immense changes in my life and simply BE.

Co-leading the workshop with Elizabeth were David Wilcox and Nance Pettit.  The musical medicine that David brought to the experience was a very visceral way to tap into the depth of the work.  From a simply musician and music lover point of view I have enjoyed David’s music in the past; this time, though it held a key to opening some of the floodgates of emotion that were pent up from all that had happened over the last few months.  Nance brought her own expertise about the body to the mix and not only held such a strong space for us all but guided us often and gently to reconnect in with the body.

The workshop followed the flow of the book “The Seeker’s Guide: Making Your Life a Spiritual Adventure” and I’d highly recommend reading this book for insight, comfort, practical advice, and warmth that is truly a gift.  I might add that in person Elizabeth is equally gifted as a powerful leader who is so easy to connect with and truly believes we are all walking this path and is quick to share her own experiences.  In the book and workshop she breaks down the spiritual journey into four landscapes:

The Landscape of the Mind – this is the realm that focuses on our ability to bring presence to our moments and ease anxiety and stress by harnessing the power of our minds. We focused a lot on the practice of meditation and the games our minds play during this part of the workshop.

The Landscape of the Heart – truly connecting with our hearts so we can be fully alive.  Being fully open to our hearts means being willing to be broken open by the sorrows and grief that finds us and use it as a catalyst in our lives.  How we deal with grief, loss, and pain will determine whether we shut down or open up to ourselves, our lives, and others.  Needless to say the exercises in this part of the workshop hit a very raw spot inside of me but I welcomed it all in… [Read more…]

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority

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