Are you missing opportunities because of your plan

“Until you cross the bridge of your insecurities, you can’t begin to explore your possibilities.” Tim Fargo

are you seeing new possibiliitesA friend asked me six weeks ago if I’d like to accompany her to a small village in Malawi. Going to Africa wasn’t on my list of things to do this year. Volunteering for two weeks in a small village in the southern part of the country wasn’t even on my goals list for the next five years. But I said yes anyway. I don’t believe I’m “off track”, I think I’m exploring possibilities and taking opportunities when they arise.

My family are as excited as I am about my trip, and while I could have said I couldn’t go because it’s term time, they know as well as I do that they’ll make things work for them in a different way with Mum away. I won’t even start to think about what the house and garden will be like when I get home in two weeks time! 😉

A lot of my clients have felt like they’ve been walking through treacle the last couple of months. Yet, in the Business Cheerleading Club action spotlight coaching session last night, two members found that they’re at a similar stage of refining their goals. Both have had new clients this year and have been working consistently towards their goals. It’s only now though, half way through the year, that they’re getting really clear on what they want to achieve for the rest of their year and in their business as it grows.

Has your vision changed? Or just the route to achieve it?

I liken business and life to a certain extent, to a journey. You know where you’re aiming for, but there’s many different paths to get to that one point. If your journeys are anything like mine, once you get to the top of one hill, you see another summit further along. My boys would call that a stretch target from their school achievement goals.

I’ve realised that I needed a shift in focus in my business to achieve my bold vision. Some conversations I’ve had with people recently have found that being open about this shift has been uncomfortable for them. What about you? Do you feel that being honest that you need to take a different path to reach your goal is scary? I do. But it doesn’t make it impossible. The shift helps the new path become clearer and instead of seeming to fight with the overgrown twisty path, I’ve found that with clarity the shift has opened up new possibilities and opportunities.

Part of my shift is that I’m no longer focusing on sending weekly business tips to one of my email lists. Have those people wandered off? Not yet – although this email to them may cause a raft of unsubscribes! What I’ve found is the broader focus of my work is allowing those I work with the opportunity to think openly about their possibilities and not be limited by weekly tips to follow.

I will continue to share interviews with experts, but not at the expense of developing new projects with schools to help young people become more resilient by listening to themselves. I will continue to grow the Bra Lady network as more women struggle to find the right bras for them and need help. I will continue to support small businesses and social enterprises through my Passion is not Enough book series and workbook, and the Business Cheerleading Club.

Does it feel much different to you? No, I didn’t think so. For me, this shift has been more about the long term vision coming into focus, and opening my eyes to new possibilities. Some may say there’s been a mindset shift. I don’t think that term sums it up correctly for me though. I prefer the fact that I’ve truly listened to myself and believe in my own abilities to achieve my vision. There’s so many ways I can achieve it, I just happen to have noticed a few more which will allow me to help more people than I thought possible a few months ago.

Business Summer School


One of the possibilities I’ve been working on is an online Summer School for Business. Summer can be a time when attention is taken away from the business due to school holidays, when customers are less consistent and staff take time off.

I’ve always found the summer to be a great time of year to re-focus, review and re-plan the rest of year. We always need to be flexible and open to what’s going on in our industry or in the economy. The state of flux in the UK with the Brexit conversation is continuing to stop some business owners make decisions. However, I believe that not doing something is actually not taking control of your business to create what you want for you.

The Business Summer School will be an 8 week online programme using what clients love best – one to one sessions, short tutorials, group learning and group action learning. You set the agenda to work on your business opportunities and all learners will spend time focusing on their business.

There’s no expert workshops June, July and August so I can focus my attention on those who’re ready to grow their business. Any participant who wants a previous expert workshop will get this as part of their support package.

For just under £50 a week financial investment, and an hour a week minimum time investment, what better way to get yourself ready for the possibilities which are just over the crest of the hill. You may want to get started thinking about the opportunities for your business using the free Passion into Profit workshop series – 9 days of short tutorials to help you look at your business with fresh eyes.

This focused approach isn’t for everyone, and if you’re not sure what would work best for the stage you’re at, book an Explore Call with me.

 

“I’m so pleased I took the opportunity to invest in ME, because if I hadn’t, I would still be in a job I knew was wrong for me and would undoubtedly have made me ill by now. ” Karen Peddie Holistics

Shifting focus is only natural

There’s a lot of change going on at the moment all around me. Other people are shifting focus in their lives or businesses. People are standing up for what they believe in.

There may well be “something in the air” with planets aligning, but in some ways that’s not the important point. Allbe in control even if it means a shift in focus change is natural. Our world has seasons, and yes the moon cycles do affect us. So why do we spend so long trying not to shift focus off the plan we created at the start of the year, just because that’s what we said we were going to do?

Life moves on with or without us

Some of my clients struggle to plan, and we seem to talk about their diary as a recurring item when we meet. I always, I hope, allow them the space to work out what’s important to them, and that’s where the focus of time would be in their diaries. There’s some fixed things, and i always encourage clients to eat and sleep and exercise which all take time. They may not be fixed times each day, but you need to make time each day to make it happen.

I have some people I work with who love freedom and don’t want to be boxed in with a fixed agenda. Yet they know that they’re wasting time going round in circles with their thoughts, and not always getting things done they’d like.

Sound familiar?

So what happens when you make plans and then you realise that you need to shift the focus as you no longer enjoy that thing, or your customers would love you to focus on something else?

I wrote an article about organisational listening which explored how it’s so easy not to listen to what’s going on around you. Organisations are made up of individuals. What if all the individuals in an organisation realised they needed to shift their focus slightly. Would businesses be more productive? More efficient? Would people live happier more fulfilling lives?

Just like our High Streets have changed over time, and we all use more technology now than we ever dreamed about when we were younger, so our lives shift and move with time. We can’t always affect what happens in our life. We can though take control of our own life and what we want to do with our skills and talents.

My friend and book coach Dale Darley talks about using writing a book as a pivot for your business. I’ve realised that I need to shift my focus, not just pivot to tweak what I’m doing.

As a multi-business owner, Mum of two teenage boys, wife, friend, volunteer and all those other roles I have, life is always a juggle. It’s fun and I love what I do. Yet, having published my first book, Passion is not Enough and starting writing the promised follow up book, I felt something wasn’t quite right.

I’ve been developing a social enterprise Listen2Me, which will be delivering training, workshops and supporting the development of listening services and schemes in schools, and I know I want to spend more time doing that. Which means that something else has to give way to make time for this tweak in my schedule.

I kept thinking was it that I needed to change my target audience? No, again I love working with micro and small businesses and charities through Business Cheerleading Club, and that’s where the book is focused. I know that some of these will become our larger companies or enterprises in the future.

So, I want to keep doing what I’m doing, but I also want to spend more time on developing something new. Mmm. The math just doesn’t add up! And there was something which wasn’t quite feeling right either. Do you get that sometimes? A feeling that something needs to change, but you’re not sure what?

Listen to everything you’re telling yourself

If you’re noticing that something isn’t quite right listen to it. You know yourself better than anyone, even if you don’t always listen well or believe what you’re hearing. The nuggets of truth your sub conscious mind shares with your conscious mind is all part of you. If you’re not listening to it then something is likely to be slightly out of balance.

I was working with one of my coaches, Deborah Marie Isis, this week, and it became clear that some of the stories I’ve been ignoring were trying harder and harder to make their voices heard. When I allowed myself to believe they were my voices I realised that I didn’t need to pivot as Dale had talked about but shift my focus into a new area of work with a new group of people.

Now I’ve made that decision and created some plans, I feel back in balance. I’m not letting anyone down with this new focus. In fact, I’ll be working with more people which was always what I wanted to do.

Going back to the diary situation, if you’re flexible with your time and focused on your vision and end results, everything else will fall into place. Don’t believe me? Book some time for yourself to just listen to what’s going on in your mind. Spend time writing things down to get things out of your head, or share with your coach. Ask them to help you really listen clearly. Then work out your next steps together.

Whether you’re due a pivot or a shift, what will happen if you don’t do it? I imagine it will be uncomfortable and you’ll be thinking “I wonder if”. So stop wondering, start listening and then shift your focus. And don’t tell me that it’s not the right time. It’s always the right time to listen to yourself and act on what you hear.

If you’d like help with this, book a complimentary Explore Call and let’s see if we’re a good fit to work together.

When is it a good time?

I’ve had a few conversations with friends and clients these past few weeks about “when is it a good time” to do something, tell someone about a decision, or make a life change.

No-one likes change. We’re human. It’s how we’re made.when is the right time

And then there’s the mind monkeys, or gremlins, whatever you call those voices you hear in your head. They talk to you all the time prompting more self doubt than you had in the first place. We all have them. They’re normal for humans too. We can learn to control them, so we start to hear them less and less.

If you find yourself saying:

  • When that happens I’ll do…
  • If only I could…
  • I need to wait until…

then you’ll understand that “when is a good time” is a common question to ask oneself.

Working out when is a good time

There may not be an answer to this. If a friend asks you when they should do something, what do you say to them? When a close friend asked me this the other week, my response was, “is there ever a good time?”. She thought about it, and agreed that there wasn’t. So we then talked about what was “right”.

Now right for her may not be right for me or you. I suggested she listened to herself, and when she felt it was the right time it would be good too.

By listening to yourself and working out what’s right for you, is the only way you can work out when a good time is for you. [Are good and right the same things? Maybe that’s a conversation for another day. I’ll continue to use both here as I’ve found people use them interchangeably. So that’s what I’ll do too.]

If you continue to ask others for their advice, you’re not owning your own choices. I know they’re hard and you want someone else to take responsibility. However, it’s hard because you know you want to change something and it feels like you’re ready. You’re just waiting for the right time to do it.

I was forced to make a big change

When I was growing my first business, I knew I was getting close to making the decision to leave my salaried position to grow my business further. Then I was made redundant and the change was made for me. I was fortunate that I had no control over this in one way, as it made me step up and continue to grow the business with a new focus.

You’ll hear some coaches talk about thinking about each day being the day before you die – what would you want to achieve today? What would you do if you knew this was last day that you could do that thing? Would you still stall and not do it? Or would you take the opportunity to just do it?

If I was to tell you now that if you don’t do it today you never will, how would that make you feel? That you have to make a change? Or it’s not worth it?

Life changes whether we like it or not

It is a fact of life that life changes. We have no choice. There are the seasons we live through. Natures life cycles of birth, growth and death. We accept that spring follows winter. We accept that death is a part of life.

Yet we often struggle to do something which only takes a few seconds to do. Yes, telling someone about a decision you’ve made only takes a few seconds, even though it’s taken hours, maybe months to think about it. Farrar Storr’s book, The Discomfort Zone brings this to life. If you’re living in discomfort because you can’t find “the right time” to tell someone about a change you’d like to make, how much are you stopping yourself from moving forward in your life?

Most change makes us feel uncomfortable. You may well feel that the change is outside your comfort zone so you don’t want to take that step. Yet you know that magic happens when you take that step. It’s all so confusing.

All of this is going round and round your head. You’re stopping yourself going anywhere with all this self-talk.

Keep it simple

Whilst the change/s you want to make may be complex, if you can keep your steps simple, you can make the change happen more easily.

Know what you want to achieve

If you know what you want to achieve, you’ll find the small steps to make changes easier. If you’re still confused about what you want, talk it through with a friend or coach and get it clear first.

Stick to your values

Be yourself. Your core values are just that. If the change you want to make is to support your values then you’ll know that it’s the right thing to do.

Ensure you’re staying safe

Whether you’re making a life change or changing careers, staying safe will be important to the timing. I include your mental health as well as your physical health here.

Creating the change at the right time

When a friend asked me to go to Malawi with her to a village in the south of the country, I felt too that it may not be the right time. However, I couldn’t find any reason why I shouldn’t go with her. It’s a fantastic opportunity to live in a village for two weeks and contribute some skills. I’m leaving my family, who are very able to look after themselves, and my business, to go off exploring. Is that a bad thing? For me it’s not. I’m excited and delighted my friend asked me. I’ve had three weeks to think about it and two more to prepare everything I need.

What questions do you ask yourself to work out when is it a good time for you? If you need help working something out, book a complimentary Explore call or work with me.

Are you listening to your business?

” Change is part of our existence. How you respond to change is what creates the impact. ”
Tracey-Jane Hughes

are you listening to your business and yourself

Pin to your business growth board https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/244320348522160650

How often and how clearly, do you listen to yourself? Do you always take notice? For instance, if you’re body is tired, do you go to bed earlier that night? If you need a break from work, do you get up, stretch and grab a glass of water? These are simple things that we need to respond to to change our state, how we’re feeling, and create an impact on our body.

What about your work life? If you run your own business, do you notice what’s going on in your business and in your industry? Are you listening to your customers – whether it’s feedback or lower sales? Do you investigate each aspect of your business regularly?

In the 15 years I’ve been in business there’s been massive change in technology, buying habits, the shape of the high street, media coverage. And of course, social media has changed how news and ideas travel, and what people see regularly. We may not like the changes that happen in our society, but they affect the environment in which we live and work, so at the very least we need to notice them. And ideally, notice what effect those changes are having on our own life and business.

Are you listening to your business as well as yourself?

If you don’t spend time noticing and listening to yourself or your business, you won’t make changes. Maybe there’s some tweaks you can make to your product or service, or exercise plan or nutrition that will make an impact on the results you want to achieve.

I’ve noticed that some business owners I work with are frightened of change. In fact, I was the same at one time, so I do understand. When you’ve got a plan, you feel you need to complete the plan otherwise you’ve failed. None of us like to fail do we? How about you think about making changes to the plan in response to what you’re hearing and noticing? What if you listened to yourself and realised that you don’t actually like doing that part of the work you do. Could someone else do it instead and benefit the growth of each individual and the business? As humans we’re very good at hiding things deep inside. We put things in a box and hide it in another box, and often throw away the key thinking we’ll be safe now. But you haven’t changed anything have you? You’ve just hidden something hoping it will go away.

These past few months for me have been about change. It’s been brought about from completing my book, “Passion is not Enough – Explore your passion and grow your business or social enterprise“, which is available this week. I’ve listened even harder and changed the shape of my businesses, and my focus, to do what I really want to do – Inspire others to listen to themselves to take the action to move forward so that they can inspire others.

I won’t lie, it was hard at first, as I had all these plans for the year ahead. I felt I was letting people down by not completing them. But then I realised I’d be letting myself down if I didn’t listen to myself, and letting others down if I stuck with things which weren’t quite right for me. It’s not easy. But I can say now, in launch week that it’s totally worth it.

So my focus has shifted slightly, and I’m delighted to be offering a series of short workshops and Q&A to help people turn Passion into Profit. If you’d like access to these, or join a session live, please join us here (you need to confirm you want this information sending to you). By the end of the two weeks there’ll be 8 short workshops, plus Q&A with attendees on different topics relating to growing your business. There’s a conversation channel too for continuing to learn together, and support you to listen and explore any changes that you want to try in your life and business.

Book launch 17th May 2019

I invite you to my online book launch on 17th May, 1pm. I’ll be holding this on Facebook, and I’d love to celebrate this day with you. You can pre-order the book here, and I’d be delighted to send you a copy from the office, for yourself or a friend who’s currently exploring setting up a business or social enterprise. The feedback from a wide variety of readers has been that it’s helped individuals explore all sorts of aspects of their life and work.

Wherever you are on your journey, on your plan for the year, or your life plan, I encourage you to take time to listen. Really listen to yourself and notice what you’d like to change. The 90 day Passion into Profit programme (which will be slightly longer than that due to a short trip to Africa for me – more of that another time), is a small group programme to help you to do just that – listen more, and maybe listen differently to yourself and your business. We’re starting 3rd June. If you’d like to know more, message me and we’ll book a call to see if this is right for you. (Still got some technology fixes to do, like my online diary!)

“It’s really good to feel guided and supported and Tracey-Jane seems to have a limitless supply of encouragement” Lora

Your life your work your way

It’s been a fascinating few months for me. I feel like I’ve been hiding away, working on a few projects, and now suddenly I’m at the end of the tunnel where I can see the wonderful view. Ever felt like that yourself?

Your life, your work, your way

This is one of my personal mantras. I share this idea with those I work with, as well as friends and family. I’ve your life your work your wayshared it for a while. But it’s only these last few months that I’ve really understood what this means to me.

I’ve been writing a book. I now know this will be my first book, but I didn’t know that when I started it. I started out wanting to share my business story, so that others could learn from the mistakes learning points I’ve made in my 15 years of running my own businesses.

What I’ve learnt through this process, with the support of an amazing [book] coach Dale Darley, is that writing a book can really help you process everything in a new way. It’s a different way of thinking. I thought I’d done all my thinking, sorting and processing over the past 2 years, and had got my business models clear. I thought I knew what I wanted to focus on and what my skills were.

Writing the book has fine tuned my life, my work in the right way for me.

I may well have been hiding writing these past couple of months, but I’ve also been thinking and going on my own explorations with my own businesses and life.

Writing Passion is not Enough – Explore your passion and grow your business or social enterprise has helped me explore my own passions, and work out more clearly what my personal visions are for sharing them with others. I had to stop what I was previously doing to create time and space for this exploration.

I may have let some people down by this. If it’s affected you, I apologise. I know I haven’t taken opportunities which were available to me. It wasn’t the right time, and it was right that I let them pass by.

New way of working and living

At the end of this tunnel I’ve walked through is a new way of living and working for me. I’m clearer what I want, and how I want to achieve it. I know I’m a better listener, coach, mother, wife, friend, sister, volunteer, business owner, author, speaker, woman because of the time I’ve spent working through each step of this process.

The book is being launched 17th May, and I’m very excited about it 🙂 I’ve worked hard, but not in the way that most people imagine. There’s been a lot of soul searching. Daily journaling to get clear. I’ve used my team of coaches who have been so supportive and encouraging through these past few months. My online cheerleaders in the many groups I’m involved in and acquaintances who I’ve never met, but have encouraged and inspired. And my own Business Cheerleading Club members have been amazing. Thank you.

I’m clearer now about how all my interests and passions fit together. I’m focused on supporting others. I’ve created a new 90 day programme to help enterprise owners turn passion into profit. I’ve started my social enterprise Listen2Me.

And all because I listened to myself. Allowed myself the time to explore what was right for me.

I’d love to help you find your way too. I’m in the process of updating the ways I can help you, to make it easy for you to find a slot in my diary (some technological changes are needed). I suggest you book an Explore call for starters, and let’s see what’s best for you right now.