by T-J | business, Listening, Personal Development
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. All 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.
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.
by T-J | business, Business Support, Listening, Personal Development
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.
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.
by Tracey-Jane | business, Family life, Parenting
We all get giddy with excitement sometimes don’t we, and it’s sometimes hard to contain that excitement. It’s especially hard containing excitement if we’re doing something in secret, or trying something out before telling anyone. Yes, are you with me on this?
Well, I seem to be surrounded by people at the moment who are containing their excitement about one thing or another:
- I’ve got a client who has gone underground to work on some new ideas for her business which she’s so excited about she can’t even talk about it
- My youngest son is going to do his first cyclocross event on Saturday, and said, “I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about an event in my life”
- Another client has launched their website today, KCJ Gifts, and they’ve been finding it hard to contain their excitement all week
- Some of my online friends are sharing their excitement about their upcoming activities and events
It’s all very exciting to be around 🙂
Should we ever contain excitement?
We sometimes try and stop our children getting over excited about Father Christmas coming, or their birthday party. But why do we do this? Being excited is a fabulous energy to have, and to share that with others, shares happy times more widely.
Whenever we hold something in, it takes energy too. You’ll hear people talk about ‘letting go’ of fear or anger, as by holding this negative energy in, you’re making things worse. So, if we hold our excited energy in ourselves, and don’t let it out as we feel we should be doing, we’re doing ourselves a disservice too. All that energy we should be sharing, and riding on for our life right now, we’re stopping ourselves moving forward.
Sometimes we stop others from being over excited as we may have people within our close network who are having a difficult time, and we’re concerned that the excitement will exacerbate their hardship. Why? Surely, they’ll be excited for us too? Excitement and happiness is infectious, so we’re preventing someone else from moving forward too.
I love the way that some of the training sessions I’ve been on recently have told us to dance, or sing, to get into “high energy”, and therefore high excitement, before the session, or before the task we’re supposed to be doing. It’s fab! It is energising and it brings a smile to your face. It also brings out the best in you and your work. Try it, put on your favourite dance tune and dance to it before you do your next task. And don’t even try to stop yourself from smiling! 🙂
So, whilst it’s lovely that we are concerned for others feelings, they really do want the best for you. Don’t contain your excitement. Even if you can’t share the details with others about what you’re working on, please do share your excitement with others, and see the ripple effect it has on those around you.
What are you excited about at the moment? Let’s share your happiness and excitement too 🙂
by Tracey-Jane | business, Personal Development
OK, so I’m writing this to try and explain a little bit about motivation. It’s clear to me, that I’m the type of person who needs to have little goals to work towards to get things done. I’ve known that, and understood it, but it’s becoming clearer to me as life moves on.
Well, during January, I challenged myself to write everyday on this blog. It was a challenge, but I loved it. I enjoyed pushing myself, making time for something I wanted to do, and sharing thoughts and discussions with others. So, now 13 days later, and not having written another word, I’m thinking about motivation.
I think it’s worth discussing don’t you? Motivation. What motivates me?
I may now skirt around the topic, which could be called procrastination. I have been focusing my time on other areas of my business and life these last 12 days. I’ve been learning more about LinkedIn this month, with a fantastic programme called Leads and LinkedIn. It’s taking my time, and I’m doing some writing over there which is taking my time.
But that’s just an excuse for not sharing here isn’t it?
My family motivates me. I’ve spent time this month getting swimming galas, and athletics competitions, booked. They’re in the diary, with accomodation secured where needed. We’ve all eaten well, and we’ve had clean clothes every day so far.
I’m working for a number of clients at the moment, who I’m motivated to support, complete tasks, and help them move forward. I’ve been doing marketing, creating content, setting up systems, researching, mentoring, all of which I love doing for myself and others.
But I’m still not close to My Motivation am I? What is it that’s making me get up and get on every day?
I have long term goals, which are broken down into steps I need to take to get there. I’m very motivated by them. I’m very good at picking out other people’s linkages, and helping them with their steps. I see the bigger picture easily, for myself and others.
So, why have I stopped, or not been motivated enough, to do something I love? Writing here, sharing and discussing?
That’s all it is. Writing allows me to explore options, and discuss themes with others. It allows me the freedom to research ideas, and read other people’s work. It’s nothing to do with motivation, it’s purely down to my lack of proper scheduling, to get everything done I want to.
We all do it, don’t we? We think we’ll do something, or we think we’ve created a habit, and don’t write it in our diary any more. And then a few days go by. Then a few more. “I’ll do that later”, becomes the mantra in our head. Later gets busy, or tied up with other important things.
So, this week, for me, whilst I get back on track to write more, (probably not daily, but definitely weekly), I’m going to re write my schedule and ensure I make the time to do the things I love.
Sometimes it’s not the motivation we lack, it’s just our lack of planning. Don’t beat yourself up, (I haven’t). Just get back on track with your tasks and goals. You have the motivation, you just need to be a bit cleverer about your scheduling, that’s all.
What motivates you, and are you much better than me at getting on with everything you want to do? Would love to hear from you below.
by Tracey-Jane | business, Personal Development
I had an exhilarating walk today, in the fog of the Peak District. There weren’t many other people out. That was fine. For me, it was perfect for thinking, letting my mind wander, whilst not having to think about anyone else.
I’ve not been on a walk like that for a long time. I’d like to do more, and am going to aim for one ‘good walk’ a month this year. My legs are aching now, so that’s all good!
Are you in a fog right now?
I know I’ve had times in my life when I’ve been in a total fog. Even now, with life moving forward at a great pace, there are times when I think I’m travelling through fog. You can’t see exactly where you’re going, but you know that by putting one step in front of the other, you’re going slowly to your destination.
Sometimes we don’t know what the destination is, and that can be frustrating and confusing. A real deep fog in our minds. Today taught me that actually, it doesn’t matter if we’re not totally clear where we’re headed. At least we’re headed somewhere. We can move, try different paths and see which way suits us most.
When you walk with determination, you’ll get to that place where you walk out of the fog. Everything becomes clear. There may still be different options ahead of us, but we have more clarity as to where we’re headed.
Even in thick fog, we can usually still see far enough ahead of us to see obstacles, so we don’t fall off the cliff. As long as our eyes are open, and our minds are working on the job in hand, we know we’re safe. We just need to trust our instinct to keep walking, and don’t look back. Keep going forwards, and you will reach that clarity of purpose and direction.
Today was a perfect day for me. Walking into the fog with the clear focus of having a wonderful walk and having Me-First time. I actually cleared my head, had some wonderful ideas, and thoroughly enjoyed all the aspects which the fog can teach us.
If you need help clearing your own fog, why not book a clarity session with me? It won’t take long to find your way out of the fog you’re currently in.
by Tracey-Jane | business, Family life
I’ve met quite a few people recently who are spending loads of time trying to sell things on ebay, in the hope of earning a “quick buck”. It’s one of the things we often see advised isn’t it, if you’re cashflow is a little tight – “Is there anything around your home you really don’t like, need or want? Sell it!”.
That’s all very well, but some of these people I’ve met recently are selling things for 99p. Now, I know all the theories about consistency in your approach being key to your success. But, are 100 items at 99p really going to make you the quick buck you think they will?
Cost benefit analysis of ebay
So, what I ask these people, is:
How long does it take for you to add your item to ebay?
How long does it take for you to wrap your parcel and take it to the post office?
How much is the minimum wage in the UK?
Now, I do sell some things on ebay. I’ve sold excess stock, and personal items, over the years, but I don’t think I’ve sold anything for 99p!
I may be doing it all wrong, but, with writing the ebay description, getting all the details in all the boxes, taking photos and adding them, it can take me 10-15 minutes sometimes for one item. Wrapping the parcel, again, depending what it is, can take some time. Let’s say 5 minutes for this example, and 10 minutes travel to and from the post office. Let’s assume there’s no queue, so that’s taken 30 minutes to sell this one item.
Minimum wage in the UK, at the time of writing, is £7.20 an hour. So, this item has cost me £3.60 in time, that I could have spent on something else, (potentially, I know, so don’t shout at me. I’m trying to get you to think about this).
If I’ve earnt 99p on this item and the postage cost is neutral, then you’ve got the ebay fees to consider.
So, let’s say, we’ve used our 20 free listings this month, as we were on a roll with decluttering the wardrobe. When you sell the item, ebay will take 10% of your final sale price – 99p. That’s 10p.
If you take payment via paypal, (which you have to offer, I think on ebay), paypal will take a fee off the payment sent by your buyer. This is about 5% of the overall payment (final fee, plus postage). This is a recent item I sold for £10 wtih free postage:
So, now, let’s have another look at our earnings of 99p from selling that item we wanted rid of:
|Sold item for
My time for 30 minutes
|Total income received
Now I know you may be really clever, (and much cleverer than me), to load lots of items all at once. However, the people I’ve spoken to recently have been selling one off items, which all need describing, photographing and cataloguing.
Please everyone. I’m sure you can think of more worthy things to do with your time than “selling” home items for 99p. If you’re job hunting, then why not take your items to the charity shop, and see if you can do some voluntary work there and get a reference from them?
This may seem a bit ranty, but I’m seeing lots of people not valuing their time, in all sorts of ways at the moment. This is just one example.
Please think things through before thinking that all ‘selling’ is good, and earning you an extra income. If you’re looking for another income stream, get in touch and let’s talk through some options which won’t waste your time!