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E#191 Share Your Brilliance!

This episode is about sharing your brilliance!

Today I want to talk to you about sharing your brilliance. After all, you are an amazing practitioner who wants to change the world, and therefore, you need to be able to let people know how you do this, and then, to do it well.

I am talking through the lens of a summit I’m speaking at shortly and will share some tips and insights to help you get your brilliance into the world!

In the show notes, I’m sharing a link to your FREE ticket to the Share Your Brilliance Summit, being held from May 23 – 27, 2022.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What Sharing Your Brilliance is All About
* What Gets In the Way of Your Brilliance?
* The FREE Share Your Brilliance Summit
* Three Steps to Share Your Brilliance

What is “Sharing Your Brilliance” All About?

Brilliance means splendour or magnificence. And in a business context, I think that sharing your brilliance is about bringing your greatness, your zone of genius and your special skills and talents into the world.

Why does this matter?

Because as an authentic person who is in the business of helping and supporting others, you are on this world to make a difference, to have an impact, to help others to overcome their fears, challenges and find the joy and fulfilment they deserve.

Further, if you have greatness and the power to help others, it would be an absolute travesty if you DIDN’T share your brilliance.

Everyone would be missing out on the impact of your superpowers!

What Gets in the Way of Your Brilliance?

I think you and I both know the answer – it’s the stuff between your ears. Your fear, your lack of confidence, your scattered thoughts, your impostor syndrome.

Feeling not good enough.

Not knowing where to start.

And when you say those sorts of things to yourself repeatedly, they become beliefs. This is how beliefs are formed!

Now, I know how confusing business can be – especially if you are running an online business.

You’re on the journey of building a client base and getting things right in your business. But if you have any sort of impostor syndrome or self-doubt, there are a billion people out there trying to sell you the magic solution.

With SO much noise and information out there, so many people to compare yourself with, so many shiny objects….it can lead you away from your integrity.

It can be a challenge to work out how to get started and succeed in sharing your brilliance, and, find business strategies that suit multi-passionate, intuitive types like us.

The Share Your Brilliance Summit

That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about the Share Your Brilliance summit from May 23 – 27!

Most importantly, this event is totally, 100% FREE. No cost.

For 5 days, May 23 to 27, Natasha Berta of Connected Marketing is bringing you presentations from 25+ heart-led business owners who have found ways to grow their business without selling out on their soul. You’ll hear about everything from mindset, sustainable business foundations, content creation + creativity, your offer, how to reach more people, and more.

It features 25+ amazing presenters who are ready to teach and mentor you on how to book more sessions and have greater clarity about your value.

Let’s face it, these things are the secret sauce for building a purposeful, profitable business. Communicating your value and booking more sessions with paying clients.

The goal for this summit is different than most. It’s going to be more like an online retreat than a summit with morning movement sessions, daytime learning sessions and wrapping up each day with a sound healing to integrate it all.

Plus, there is a theme for each day tailored to people in business who are just like you – waiting and wanting to share YOUR brilliance.

For example, I am going to be speaking at the summit, on How to Create a Client Centric Program that Sells.

I am so excited to be featured alongside some pretty big names in business, including:

· George Kao
· Danielle Gardner
· Karen Humphries
· Lucine Eusani
· Bridget Avgoustakis
· Claire Kerslake
· Aesha Kennedy
· Chantal Khoury
· And a whole lot more

There’s a free option and an affordable VIP pass with tons of goodies.

Each presentation will be available to you for 24 hours, but you can also get lifetime access (along with some other amazing bonuses) by grabbing the VIP All-Access Pass.

There’s more I’d love to tell you about this summit, but I’ll let you check out all the details for yourself – and you can grab a free ticket for the Share Your Brilliance Summit using this link!

How You Can Share Your Brilliance

So, how do you share your brilliance?

Here are some ideas to get started.

Firstly, clarify the value of working with you and the service you offer.

  1. Write down all the skills and strengths you have – think about the things that come EASILY to you but are hard for others to do.
  2. Make a list of your top three strongest values. What drives you, and what makes you passionate about your work?
  3. Write down three important reasons why your work is so meaningful. If you can do this work, what sorts of impact or result does it have?

Secondly, define the turning point that causes people to reach out for help.

  1. What is the moment of realisation that they need to change? Where are they, and what is the situation?
  2. If you’ve been on the same journey, what was YOUR turning point?
  3. What is the pain that becomes so big, that the person reaches out for help?
  4. What is the result they know they desperately want?

Finally, work out who your target audience is, and where they might be. 

  1. Think about the people that light you up, who ‘get you’, and who you love to be around. What kind of people are they? 
  2. The saying goes that your niche is the version of you from 5 years ago. What kind of person are you?
  3. Think about where you like to hang out and find out about or buy services in your area. Where would you go, and what would your requirements for buying be – would you need to follow someone on LinkedIn for a while before speaking to them, or would you listen to their podcast, or something else? 

    These three sets of questions help you to define your value, your people, what they need help with, and where to find them. Feel free to write out your own set of questions in these areas to help you get clarity. 

    Also, go back to my previous episode 186 Three Proven Marketing Roadmaps for Coaches to help you get clarity on using your communication strengths to build your audience. 

    Summary

    Today I talked about what sharing your brilliance is, and some of the things that get in the way of that. I mentioned a totally FREE summit in May 2022, with over 25 experienced speakers to help you learn how to share your brilliance. A link to your free ticket is in the show notes.  

    Finally, I walked you through a three-step process to share your brilliance. What are you waiting for? Get out there and share your greatness with the world. I dare you! 

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#189 How to boost your professional credibility

    This episode is about how to boost your professional credibility

    When you start a new profession, one of the most important parts of marketing is developing professional credibility and a good reputation. Today I’d like to share a golden opportunity for you as a professional health and wellness coach, to do just that in June 2022.

    Starting out in your health and wellness coaching business is exciting and challenging. And initially, you need to put in a lot of work to become seen, known, liked and trusted.

    Further to that, you want to be more than just known – you want to be seen as a reputable professional who is properly qualified and who is confident in what they’re doing.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * 7 Reasons Why the Conference is a Must Attend Event
    * How This Event Can Rocket Fuel Your Coaching Business
    * Why We All Have a Role in Putting Health and Wellness Coaching on the Map

    How do you do that?

    Well, there are many ways, and I want to talk about one specific golden opportunity for you to boost your professional credibility if you are a health and wellness coach in Australia or New Zealand.

    This opportunity is the HCANZA conference, being held on the Gold Coast on 2 – 3 June 2022. The conference is called Health and Wellness Coaching Conference – Breaking Through – Health and Wellness Coaching in a Post-Pandemic World.

    Before we unpack this, I’d like to say that any professional conference attendance gives you similar opportunities, but this particular conference gives you a one-time-only opportunity to be seen, heard and recognised as a professional.

    7 Reasons Why the HCANZA 2022 Conference is a Must-Attend Event

    There are several reasons why this is such an important event and such a significant opportunity for you as an individual health and wellness coach.

    Not in the least, is the fact that the world we know, our workforce, what’s important to us, the awareness of health and the willingness to change have been irrevoc

    Now more than ever, coaching is a viable career option, and it’s a golden opportunity to put Health and Wellness Coaching on the map as an important part of navigating health and wellbeing into the future.

    1. Showcasing Health and Wellness Coaching as a Reputable Industry

    This inaugural conference provides the opportunity for our industry association and its members to showcase the skills and the breadth in-depth of knowledge and experience that health and wellness coaches have and share those with the world.

    We have global experts Zooming in or attending live to speak at this event. Some of them are founders of the industry and have played a significant role in building our profession from the ground up over the past 20-odd years.

    With global key opinion leaders together in the room, it gives a huge weight of credibility and reputation that we can promote and advertise to medical professionals, allied health professionals and the general public to promote ourselves as an evidence-based, high calibre profession.

    This alone puts health and wellness coaching squarely on the map.

    2. Showing the Value of Health and Wellness Coaching, and Where it Fits

    This conference is our chance to explain our scope of practice and highlight how we complement other health professionals so that their clients and patients can achieve better health outcomes more easily and in a shorter time.

    We show our value with case studies, storytelling and real-life examples of business and client success.

    We’ll share how coaches and coaching organisations have changed lives by working in a complementary way with other health professionals, giving everyone who attends a clear understanding of exactly how and where coaching adds value to existing health professionals and treatment frameworks, and independent businesses.

    Remember, this is the first time in Australia and New Zealand that such a conference has been held, and it’s our opportunity to share these facts and success stories for huge media coverage and collective recognition.

    3. Clearly Explaining How We Work

    Have you ever had trouble describing what you do and how you work?

    The stories, case studies and expert presentations at this conference will equip you, the attendee, with clear insights and anecdotes to share with prospective clients, partners and advocates in your own practice when you get home to explain clearly how you work with people and what sorts of results and outcomes are possible.

    You will learn how to describe your profession and skill set in a more succinct way.

    You will develop a confident spiel about the important conditions for change such as self-awareness as an essential first step, and how health and Wallace coaching empowers self-responsibility, which saves the health system and the individual billions of dollars each year.

    4. Improve Networking Skills and Confidence

    Another great reason to attend this conference is that it gives you skills, experience and confidence in networking.

    Networking with other health professionals pretty much an essential part of fast-tracking your marketing and gaining success in your business.

    By attending this conference, you will get to polish up your skills of breaking the ice, having friendly conversations, making your contacts, and starting conversations that lead somewhere, with like-minded people.

    How will you feel, having brushed up your networking skills in a safe environment with trusted colleagues?

    How much easier will the next conference or networking event be?

    What impact will that have on your business or coaching practice?

    5. Build Important, Business Building Alliances

    I’ve just touched on the skills of networking, but have you considered what they might lead to?

    If you think about it, conferences are networking events that offer business-building opportunities.

    The #1 challenge coaches tell me they have is running their business in isolation, feeling alone, with nobody to bounce ideas off.

    Attending this conference in person gives you a more personal connection with other coaches that you’ve only ever met online. That live meeting will cement your relationships and help them grow.

    Through those conversations, you might even find some opportunities and leads to help you in your business.

    Think of how you’re going to feel after walking out of a conference with a handful of really great contacts that you can stay in touch with and possibly even collaborate with or get help from to grow your practice?

    Or finding someone who is doing complementary work and you find an opportunity to help each other?

    Or simply being inspired by one of the speakers and discovering strategies that you can apply right away to your own business?

    One way or another, you have the chance to learn some important skills and develop some strong support networks and alliances.

    6. Increased Confidence, Belief and Action-taking

    How are you feeling so far, having thought about all these benefits?

    I bet you are feeling pretty pumped up. And that leads me to my next point – this conference is essential to your business development, your confidence, and your personal and professional growth.

    You might hear that and think, “well that’s a pretty big claim to make”.

    Yes, it is – but it’s 100% true.

    Think back to the last time you attended a conference or event – how did you feel?

    If you have ever been to any sort of sizeable event, you probably remember the huge buzz, sense of enthusiasm, inspiration, energy, confidence, optimism and hope that you felt.

    You probably left that session on a high, with so much belief and a readiness to take action based on what you learned or discovered.

    There is a saying that we are the average of the five people closest to us. In a professional context, it’s important that you are rubbing shoulders with people who have more experience, more knowledge, and a greater sense of conviction about what is possible with your modality, so that you can continue to hope, believe, and create success that you wish for in your profession.

    Listening to professional coaches speaking gives you the sense of what’s possible for you. It makes your discipline in your profession relatable and within your reach. And it gives you the opportunity for some personal growth and to identify what you need to focus on in order to keep moving forward and growing as a coach and as a person.

    Remember that we are in the relationship building industry, and your ability to be self-confident is critical to your success. You can learn how other people have built their own self-confidence and their skill as a coach so that you create a roadmap to get there yourself.

    That leads me to my last point on why attending this conference is so important.

    7. The Ripple Effect

    The final benefit of this conference that I want to talk about is the ripple effect.

    For this inaugural conference to really help to put our profession on the map, we need to sell all the tickets and speak to everyone we know about it.

    If it’s down to the HCANZA board and few members to do this, we’re not going to get very much media coverage or excitement or visibility.

    But if the conference is a sell out and we’re all sharing the word and the success stories, it is a totally different ball game.

    It shows that there is a strong collective of coaches who are qualified and who uphold a standard of practice, and who stand together as a united voice to speak about the benefits and opportunities that health and wellness coaching provides.

    And at a larger scale, the success of our industry depends on the commitment of every person who is certified and working in the capacity of a health and wellness coach, to find their voice and speak up about the profession, this event, and every one that follows.

    It’s not something that a few people can do on their own. For this to work we need to have everybody putting their hand up turning up and being part of something that is bigger than the individual, and which has the potential to create a significant impact on our health systems, longevity and quality of life.

    Yes, the number of people attending the conference and telling everyone about it, is important for our profession.

    But it’s also important at the other end of the conference long after it’s finished. Because you’re going to walk away feeling inspired and enthusiastic and excited, and you’re going to have a head full of new knowledge, ideas and cutting edge information.

    And what’s going to happen to that information?

    You’re going to be excited to share it with everybody you know.

    You’re going to be equipped with information and words that will help you to network with other health professionals, reach potential clients, find collaborative partners, and find cross referral opportunities.

    The more people that attend and promote this conference at the same time, the bigger the visibility and impact we can have.

    This really is a critical time and event in the development of our industry.

    Summary

    Today, I got pretty ranty about boosting your professional credibility, and more specifically, using the inaugural Health and Wellness Coaching Conference – Breaking Through – Health and Wellness Coaching in a Post-Pandemic World – as a vehicle to really showcase our profession.

    I outlined just seven of the many benefits of attending.

    In summary there are so many opportunities for personal and professional growth at this conference. So much rich content, information and relationships to be found in this conference. All you need to do is attend. https://www.conference.hcanza.org/?_ga=2.5600117.73171265.1650423249-552347760.1650423249

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#187 How Exercise Improves Mental Health with Zac Jefcoate

    This episode is about how exercise improves mental health with Zac Jefcoate

    Today, I interview exercise physiologist and health and wellness coach, Zac Jeffcoate to discuss the links between exercise and mental health, the cost of prevention versus injury management, and how the powerful combination of individualised exercise and coaching can empower improvements, save money and improve quality of life at the individual and workforce level.

    MW: I’m pretty interested to start by hearing a bit about what you’re really passionate about.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * The links between exercise and mental health
    * Why changes are difficult, and how to overcome resistance
    *  How individualised coaching and exercise programs can improve health and save money
    * The importance of simple steps

    ZJ: Well, firstly, that question gets asked a lot, and the way I answer that is, the passion for me is providing exercise and movement. Initially in my career as an exercise physiologist, we can impact people’s lives really positively. And as I progressed in my career, I found that it’s not so much what exercise does, but it’s more the fact of what exercise, obviously, how it improves the quality of life, and how people actually fit that into their day to essentially get to an outcome.

    So my passion is actually educating people on the benefits of exercise my solution and what I kind of not sell them what solution is that exercise is a modality that fits into their lifestyle.

    And it’s really important that we look at how diet, sleep, exercise, relaxation, and meditation fit into a physical mental model. My passion is really the profession, I’ll be honest with you. It is exercise physiology. And beyond that, it’s obviously providing education to anyone who wants to hear.

    MW: Wow. And it sounds like you have quite a broad experience. We were talking just before we started this conversation about all of the things that you’ve done. Can you give us a quick recap of your world tour of Australia?

    ZJ: Yeah, well, just I mean, I’ve, I’ve got a bit of ADHD probably. So I do a lot of different things.

    Initially, when I graduated in 2008, I was offered a job in mining. Unfortunately, I turned up and I tried a uniform on and the guy said, Sorry, Zac, there’s no work here. We’ve lost the contract that’s mining.

    It was a humbling experience. My rejection was the redirection to go on a journey, and I set up two AP clinics in medical centres. They’re a great company so did that for about five years. At that time, I was an ABC radio host, and had a skit on ABC.

    I then worked in Surf Lifesaving as a performance coach and as a Cert IV lecturer in fitness. Then, after five years, I went into the Northern Territory in Tennant Creek, and I worked over there for about three months with a company called Body Fit. We provided access to exercise physiology in remote and rural indigenous communities. That was a great eye-opener.

    And then after that, I went to Melbourne for a number of years and work down with Angelo and the team in Melbourne, in rehab, and then I had come back to Perth, to take on the role in rehab services.

    MW: Wow, you’ve seen a lot of the country and by the sound of things, a lot of different sorts of people in different contexts regarding exercise.

    ZJ: Yeah. And it’s the same message. And I guess the challenge is what you know, the message that you’re trying to portray, it’s about linking that to your target audience, or linking that in terms of value. So how does someone who’s recovering from kidney disease take your message, as opposed to someone who’s just been guys diagnosed with anxiety and depression?

    So how do you as an AP, or as a health professional, essentially get buy-in or trust with the client? And that’s a hard skill, to be honest with you.

    MW: I guess that’s where the coaching approach comes in for you.

    ZJ: Definitely. Yeah. And the coaching principles. More importantly, that the client-centred approach is you really have to understand that putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, essentially, the empathetic approach. Second to that, what is it about what you’re offering do they think they need?

    I mean, I’ll be honest with you, a lifestyle change is hard. And this is why it’s about the clients we have the range on the spectrum in terms of their levels of health. And it’s really important that when you coach them through each week or each session, they understand that your guiding principle of coaching is really important because of how you do your initial assessment, how you do your follow-ups, and then essentially how you educate them all comes down to that kind of format and modality that needs to really be targeted to them.

    MW: I can hear that it’s very personalized, even down to the level of each individual client. That’s what you’re saying?

    ZJ: Yeah, a tailored approach. So we don’t do cookie-cutter assessments. You can have two of the same people come in with the exact same diagnosis or a similar history and you need to treat them differently. The approach of, well, for example, the One-Stop approach doesn’t work, especially in coaching and health and wellness, the individuality.

    So it’s really important that you understand, this is essentially going through the need to understand the biomedical markers of the person, you could ask them the physiology, and you have to understand the drive and direction in their psychology behind their motivation and their habits. You have to break this down, because what your intervention and what you’re trying to provide a solution won’t necessarily hit the mark if you can address those factors.

    MW: It sounds like you have to be across a lot of stuff, generally. And then as well, on top of that the individual needs of the person or being able to identify those and be client-centred at the same time.

    ZJ: Yeah, it’s difficult. And I’ve been doing it for 14 years, and I probably am still learning a lot, it probably took me at least a number of years to actually understand how to relate, also understand how to say what, when, and also how to formulate a plan to best suit my client. And this is life experience, number one. Number two, it’s understanding your trade, knowing what you can offer and also really having a thirst or a passion to continue to keep learning.

    MW: It’s so important. Absolutely. I wonder if we could talk a bit about mental health because really, in this spotlight at the moment, there’s obviously a link between exercise and mental health. But I’m not sure that a lot of people really understand that link very well. So could you talk to us a little bit about that?

    ZJ: Well, I mean, the link, over let’s put it this way, it’s definitely gotten a lot better in terms of the awareness, I think we have to be mindful with exercise and mental health, that there’s a component that they actually go hand in hand. But remember physical health, mental health, what comes first.

    I think the main thing is understanding that from a, I guess from a medical model, so for example, in the GP, it’s about providing the lifestyle change. And then from a health coaching, and from a wellness perspective, you’re not just focusing on one part.

    So the link between exercise and mental health is actually quite been studied a lot in the last probably three to four years, the rates of depression, anxiety, in particular, schizophrenia, and bipolar.

    Also, there’s a lot of evidence in relation to exercise and how it modulates the brain improves, obviously, the feel-good hormone reduces cortisol, which essentially over time, what it does, it gives it a more locus of control, or competence to the client, about what they can and can’t do.

    I’ll talk to you from a purely physiological point of view from the way the body responds. It improves oxygen. That’s the first point of Go.

    So as we improve oxygen, when hemoglobin, obviously, blood flows for the body, that increases natural feel-good hormones, you need to do that in certain way over time to get a benefit. And the first thing I look at with mental health is called dose-response.

    For example, you go walking for 10 minutes, get enough response for your body and change. It’s no different than medication now, where you’ve been diagnosed with depression, and you have 25 milligrams of sertraline or Zoloft. Does that do anything for the body? So it’s this it’s no different.

    The second thing is looking at what is it about physical health that when you’re faced with a mental health condition or concern, why does that always go on the back burner? What is it about exercise and movement and eating? Well, so why does that always go to the bottom? And this is the crux of understanding that we need to break the relationship down so people can see the value.

    Liking what you read so far? Listen to the whole interview by clicking the links above.

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#181 The Skills of Connection

    This episode is about the skills of connection

    If you want to operate a business, any business, but especially a coaching business, your ability to connect with people is a key skill that you need to learn. I want to share some insights on the skills required to build connections and some tips on how to become better at connecting with prospective and actual clients.

    What is Connection?

    Connection is the attachment and relationships we form with others. It is essential to human survival, and it helps us feel aligned with ourselves and others.

    Connecting with others helps us to build trust and rapport – and these are two VERY important criteria for someone to buy from you.

    Think about the last time you bought a service – price aside, why did you buy from that particular person?

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What connection is
    * The skills of connection
    * Practicing and developing the skills
    * You don’t need a marketing course to learn connection
    * Putting yourself out there

    Chances are, it was because you felt a connection – a sameness, or alignment of values or experience – that helped you to have enough trust to want to work with them.

    I have a couple of my own examples.

    Once, I hired a business coach who was younger than me and who had only been in business for two years. She has the specific experience that I didn’t have, but the whole time, I had discomfort and uncertainty around her overall business knowledge and therefore, her value as a professional. It was a short-term arrangement.

    Much later, I worked with a business coach who was a similar age and had a specific experience that I didn’t have….but she is a lot more like me in personality. She also has 10 years of experience in her specific craft with a proven track record, a coaching qualification, a team working for her, and a book published. It was also a short-term arrangement, but I constantly refer others to her, promote her and would willingly go back to her, and may even approach her for a strategic alliance in future.

    The subtleties of our personality fit, values and professional ethics are incredibly influential and powerful in our business relationships. Knowing how to connect is therefore critically important.

    It’s about more than just attracting clients – it’s also about knowing who ISN’T your client.

    What are the Skills of Connection?

    Strong connections are built on good communication, common ground and a common, meaningful purpose.

    If you want to build your skills in connection, you need to know what the skills are and find ways to practice them.

    Skills

    The skills required for creating connections could include:

    • Active listening (being able to listen intently to what is being said – without thinking of what you will say next)
    • Empathy
    • Asking positively-framed, big-picture questions
    • Reflecting back on what you hear someone say
    • Reframing, i.e. even though (negative), there is still (positive)
    • Having respect for the other person as the expert in their own life
    • Seeing the other person as resourceful and able to find their own solutions
    • Being able to identify shared values or beliefs in something
    • Clarity on your vision and values
    • Leadership
    • Self-regulation (the ability to regulate your emotions & behaviours regardless of what others say or do)
    • Trusting yourself

    You may notice that these skills relate largely to the ICF core competencies #4 – cultivating trust and safety, #5 – maintaining presence, and #6 – listening actively. I’ll include a link so you can access them and see the full details.

    Being able to truly listen to and understand another person is a key starting point for building connection.

    But that last point is also important – it’s trusting yourself and feeling confident enough to initiate conversations.

    What do I mean by this?

    Well, consider how own confidence affects your ability to start conversations. How important is that for you?

    What helps you to feel more confident?

    I would hazard a guess that it’s about three things:

    1. practising the skills

    2. developing self-efficacy in your skills, and

    3. regular exposure to new people.

    Let’s talk about how to do that.

    How to Practice and Develop Your Connection Skills

    No matter what your starting point, you can learn and improve your communication skills and become better at making connections.

    Practising the skills can be done in a number of ways. I will brainstorm a few ideas with you here.

    1. Pick one skill and polish it up

    This is a good method if you’re a fairly confident person and a self-starter kind of person.

    Firstly, you can choose one of the skills (like active listening) and practice it over the next week with someone you live with or someone at work. Then at the end of each day, write a reflection on how you went, and what you learned.

    Once you feel you have made some progress you can dive deeper, or you can pick another skill to add to the mix.

    Remember, it’s not just about mastering the skill – it’s also about making it a habit, so don’t rush this process. It takes around 83 days on average for a habit to become automatic – take your time and do it well.

    2. Watch and learn

    This is a good method if you’re a bit less confident or are a kinaesthetic or interactive learner.

    Secondly, you can research coaching or other videos, or identify people you know who have a skill you want to learn and watch how they do it.

    All animals learn through mimicry and play, including humans!

    Setting aside time each week to study and observe others is a great way to ‘see how to do it’ before you start practising for yourself.

    There are plenty of videos on YouTube that can help, or your coach training organisation may have sample videos for you to watch and deep dive into.

    3. Find a mentor

    This is a good method if you lack experience and are not very confident in yourself or your skills.

    There are plenty of coaches around who offer free or paid mentoring.

    Practising your connection skills at a more professional level is incredibly helpful if you want to get some live feedback and tips as to whether you’re doing it right.

    4. Join a Community of Practice

    Community of Practice (COP) is something that many coaching associations offer as an opportunity to build and practise specific skills with other coaches.

    For example, ICF members have access to free and low-cost sessions, 1 – 2 hours long, where you learn about and practice specific core competencies.

    I recently attended one of these that was free to ICF members or $50 for non-members. It focused on maintaining presence, ICF core competency #5, and it was a lot of breakout room work for practice conversations with other coaches of varying levels of experience.

    I gained a lot of insight into how I can improve my presence and got practice with building connections.

    You Don’t Need a Marketing Course to Learn Connection

    I know I said earlier that connection is an essential skill that you need to run a business – but you’ll notice I didn’t mention anything about marketing training or courses here.

    That’s because connection is useful in marketing, but I feel it’s better developed in a more personal environment that focuses on core communication skills – like the coaching industry offers.

    Putting Yourself Out There

    Although you might be shuddering at the thought right now, the next step is to start meeting a wider circle of people to practice your skills.

    Your ability to build a business relies on your ability to build new connections that might connect you with potential clients, or who might be potential clients themselves.

    Finding ease in communication and conversation can break down a lot of those confidence barriers and make it much easier for you to start approaching people you don’t know, or don’t know well. To help you on this journey, I suggest you go back to episode 56 of this podcast, about icebreakers. Once you have polished up your connection skills, learning how to start conversations is a logical next step.

    Summary

    Today, we talked about connection and its relevance in building your coaching business.

    Connection is defined as the attachment and relationships we form with others, and it is something that builds trust and rapport – two very important criteria for having someone buy from you.

    The skills of connection are simply related to many of the core coaching competencies, particularly in terms of building trust, maintaining presence, and listening.

    You also need to trust yourself and feel confident enough that you can have conversations with people – and the only way to build that trust and confidence is through practice.

    We covered four ways to practice and develop your connection skills, including:

    1. Picking one skill (at a time) and intentionally practising it

    2. Watching and learning from others

    3. Finding a mentor

    4. Joining a community of practice.

    It may seem like you need to learn marketing skills in order to learn about connection with potential clients – but this simply isn’t true. It’s the coaching competencies and practice that will help you develop good communication skills, and marketing becomes an extension of that skill set.

    From there, learning how to break the ice will equip you to go out into the big, wide world, and start building connections with your newfound skills.

    THIS is actually the secret to building your business.

    References https://coachfederation.org/core-competencies https://anchor.fm/habitology/episodes/E56-5-Steps-to-Engaging-Icebreaker-Conversations-e57458

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#180 Engaging Clients With an All-In-One Community-building Platform

    This episode is about engaging clients with an all-in-one community-building platform

    Do you want to start an online group or membership, but aren’t sure where to start?

    Are you sick of Facebook and want something independent and more personal?

    Are you trying to work out payment systems, landing pages, booking software and all the other things that go with an online business, and aren’t sure how it all works and how they connect?

    Then today’s episode is for you. I’ll walk you through a tour of the latest low-cost all-in-one platforms that you can use to build and host a connected, engaged community, promote events, book appointments, and even sell services through – without all the noise and ads.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * Why People Love Communities
    * Why Businesses Need Communities
    * Two Platforms to Consider – That AREN’T Facebook

    Why People Love Communities

    At the tribal level, humans want to be part of a tribe because we have an innate need to belong.

    In years past, we lived in large tribes for our whole lives. These days, our tribe is often our immediate family. Our tribe is much smaller than it used to be, we’re working from home, or have moved away, so we seek connection in the online space to meet this basic, primal need.

    Being part of a group helps to give you a sense of self and of identity, and common purpose and support. A group of like-minded people gives us protection from others who challenge us, and it helps us avoid loneliness.

    As a collective, we share ideas, gain new perspectives and build confidence and strength with the backing of those who support us, champion us, and believe in us. It gives us happiness and emotional resilience.

    Why Businesses Need Communities 

    Smart businesses target a niche because it’s easier to be specific about who you help and how, and therefore, it’s easier for the right people to relate to you, and buy from you. 

    I see communities as a great way to bring your niche clients together into a place where they can support and connect with each other, where you can learn about what they want, where you can have more intimate conversations with them, build trust and relationship, and offer value to them (free and paid). 

    It totally makes sense for businesses to leverage this intrinsic human need and build a community of like-minded people who come together for a common purpose. 

    With that said, let’s look at some platforms where you can build a community that AREN’T Facebook. 

    Two Platforms to Consider – That AREN’T Facebook 

    I will give you an overview of two platforms that you might like to explore. 

    Some common features include spaces or topics for separate discussions, increasing amounts of storage with the more expensive plans, group chat function, posting, member profiles, and integration with other software. 

    But more than that, the great thing about these new platforms is that they are starting to offer more features so that you don’t have to have multiple systems running at once. 

    For example, right now you might be using an email program like MailChimp or Gmail to send stuff out to your email list. Some of these new community platforms have built-in email. 

    Similarly, you might be wondering about building a website and the cost of that, or how to set up booking software. Some of these new community platforms have features that will allow your members to book and pay, so you may not need separate software for that. 

    When looking at these options and their pricing, consider these sorts of features that could save you some money and help you have an all-in-one solution, rather than multiple payments and platforms. 

    Regardless, I suggest you sign up for the free trials offered and set aside at least 3 hours to explore and learn about each platform, watch some YouTube clips about the platforms, and check the ratings and examples before you decide. 

    That’s because if you don’t like the layout, features, look and feel etc, you won’t want to keep using the platform! Try before you buy! 

    Mighty networks – Build Communities, Courses and Memberships 

    Mighty Network is a platform for building an independent online community or business. It was founded by entrepreneurs who wanted to offer a framework for people to build their own social networks and run businesses from them. 

    Mighty networks have three plans:  

    1. Community (includes a website plus Livestream and video, chat, zoom integration and paid memberships),  
    2. Business (includes online course options, live course creation and analytics), and  
    3. Mighty Pro plan (app listing in Apple App and Google Play stores, account management and support). 

    Their value proposition is that you own your members (as opposed to the platform), you invest in a community (not an audience), and you build your own network effect (not just a content conveyor belt). 

    Their basic plan includes a website, plus a community function with live streaming and video function, chat and messaging, an app, unlimited members, event and zoom integration (e.g. from separate platforms) and the option to offer paid memberships. Higher paid subscriptions include an online course add-on. 

    Community messaging is available but there is no native email, so you’d need to run that separately. Otherwise, you can use Zapier (which has a small cost per transaction) to integrate Mighty Networks with MailChimp, ConvertKit and other programs. 

    I’ve used this platform for a pilot test group and found it easy to navigate, with plenty of helpful tips and hints delivered along the way in the trial.  

    Circle – the all-in-one community platform for creators and brands 

    I first learned about Circle through a community I was in, that migrated from Mighty Networks to this platform. 

    The look and feel of Circle is similar to Mighty Networks, and the pricing is similar, but the features available at each pricing level are slightly “rearranged”. 

    Circle has three plans: 

    1. Basic (simple community with essential features),  
    2. Professional (live stream and video with higher usage limits), and  
    3. Enterprise (including concierge, dedicated support team). 

    Their basic plan includes a community function, iOS app, a community function with chat and messaging, unlimited events and up to 1,000 members. Higher paid options include live streaming and video function, and advanced analytics. 

    You can also offer tiers of membership and include ‘gated’ access to paid or VIP groups or content and have a range of member subscription options including free trials and upsells. 

    The Circle group I am in loves using this platform as they say it’s easier to use and seamless. 

    Summary

    Today, we looked at the innate human need to belong, and how you can leverage that to build a community of niche clients around your business, building and maintaining a relationship based on trust, purpose and aligned values. 

    I talked briefly about two new so-called all-in-one platforms that are great alternatives to Facebook, where you can create, host and own your own community, app and membership/service offerings. 

    If you’re interested in creating an online community around your business, I recommend you set aside a couple of hours to trial each platform to see if either will suit your needs. 

    If you have feedback on these, please leave a comment on this episode for the benefit of others! 

    References and Links 

    Melanie White’s Passion to Profit program – foundational business building to create a profitable, purposeful business. 

    Winch, Dr Guy. The Importance of Belonging to a Tribe. Psychology Today website https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/202002/the-importance-belonging-tribe accessed 10.2.22 

    Mighty Networks 

    Circle – the all-in-one community platform

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#179 How to Create a Digital Legacy Strategy

    This episode is about how to create a digital legacy strategy

    Have you got a pile of online passwords, subscriptions and accounts for your business, and are wondering how to handle that when you pass on? Today, I share with you my own personal how-to guide for what I call a digital legacy strategy, so that you can leave a clear wind-up roadmap for your loved ones.

    Background

    At the moment I have two elderly unwell parents and my family has been talking a lot about their preparations for end of life. It’s a really difficult conversation to have. But my parents are at that age where they are thinking practically and logically about what they will leave behind. There’s a house, the car, the furniture, bank accounts and all of the household bills etc.

    I was speaking about this with my husband and we got to talking about how simple their estate actually is, compared with ours.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * How I came up with the idea
    * What a digital legacy strategy is
    * Four steps to creating your Digital Legacy Strategy

    Living in a digital world, and with me running a largely online business, there is so much more to think about when one is preparing to document their estate.

    My husband and I are quite different in terms of our assets. He has a lot of toys and physical goods, whereas I have a lot of online digital assets. He wouldn’t have the first clue about my passwords and how to access those assets, and which ones need to be closed down in the event of my passing.

    I realise that unless I did something about this, then I could be hit by a bus tomorrow and their would be subscription payments coming out of the business bank account every month and annually without him even knowing where to start winding all of those things up.

    In all likelihood, you will live to a ripe old age and may not feel a sense of urgency about this. But for some people, loved ones are taken away suddenly and without warning.

    It’s a serious topic that is worthy of careful thought and attention so that your loved ones know how to wrap up your affairs with ease at a difficult time.

    What is a digital legacy strategy?

    After having this conversation with my husband, I decided to create a document that would equip my husband to sort out my business affairs and online presence with ease, if the worst-case scenario happened.

    I decided to call this document a Digital Legacy Strategy.

    It’s essentially a 2-page document that describes exactly what I have in terms of an online presence, how to access it, and what to do with all the pieces.

    I created it in under 30 minutes using two tools that I had already been using in my business.

    Let’s walk through the process that can help you to create your own digital legacy strategy. It might take you a little longer than me if you’re not already using these tools that I have suggested. In any case, I’m going to provide some tools for you in the show notes so that you can create your own version of this

    Four steps to creating your Digital Legacy Strategy

    Step 1 Set up and categorise a password database

    The first thing that you will need is a password database. If you don’t have one already, there are plenty of options that you can subscribe to online or that may be included with your Microsoft or Internet Security software.

    If you already have one of these, then it might just be a matter of tidying it up and updating it

    And that’s exactly what I did. I have been using Keeper Security password database for the last five or so years.

    So my first step was to open my password database and create some sub folders within it so that I could categorise all of my login details for different websites.

    I created the following categories

    • Finance
    • Business
    • Paid subscriptions with auto-renew
    • General

    The website links and login details in the financial category are all things like my Internet banking login details, my PayPal account, my stripe account, and all of those sorts of things.

    The website links and login details in my business category are all things like my ASIC login details, my Service NSW details, The website where my ISBNs for my published books are stored, my self publishing book subscriptions, and anything else to do with business management and the government

    The next category is paid subscriptions with auto-renew. This includes anything from any other category that has an auto-renew feature set up for monthly or annual payments.

    The website and login links in this category include things like my zoom account, my Xero accounting subscription, my Vimeo account, the online quiz subscription software that I use, domain renewals, Dropbox subscription, Microsoft subscription, Netflix, and anything else that is paid automatically via a digital subscription.

    The final category is anything else that is not set to auto-renew and will expire itself. While it is tempting to think about having nothing on auto-renew, it’s simply not possible in many cases, or it a very inconvenient and takes a lot of time to manage.

    Step 2 – set up a digital asset register

    If your password database is set up properly you may not want to or need to do the second step. But if you want somebody to be able to remove your digital footprint entirely, then it’s probably helpful to have a list of all of the digital assets that you have online.

    For me, I have lead magnets, I have podcasts, I have a YouTube channel and a whole bunch of other things on the internet. By including a link to my digital asset register, my husband will be able to see the extent of my whole online footprint, and he could easily pass it all over to somebody if he decided to sell the business in the event that I pass on.

    This is quite a time-consuming step but once you have a clear register of all of your digital assets, it’s just a matter of maintaining and incrementally adding to it.

    I said this is an optional step.

    Step 3 – write your strategy

    The strategy is simply a high-level summary of steps one and two, along with some instructions on what to do in the event of passing on.

    You could make explicit instructions for what you want to be done with those items, or you could simply provide some options so that the other person can make the decision at the time.

    In my case, I would prefer my husband has the option to do what he thinks is best, rather than forcing him to sell my digital assets as part of my will. At the simplest level, I want to know that he can easily get into and turn off any automatic subscriptions In the event of my passing so that he is not unknowingly keeping up payments on something that’s no longer relevant.

    Step 4 – access and update

    The last thing I’ve done is to save this strategy in a shared digital folder that we both access regularly.

    But of course, it’s no use just leaving it there and forgetting about it. My digital footprint is going to change and evolve over time, so it’s really important that I schedule a recurring calendar reminder to review and update my password database, asset register and digital legacy strategy about every 12 months.

    It’s a surprisingly easy task to do once it is set up properly, it’s just a matter of having a calendar reminder so that you do.

    Summary

    To wrap up what we discussed today, it’s never pleasant when somebody passes on and you’re left with the task of unravelling all of their stuff at a very difficult time.

    This is even more tricky and intricate when somebody you love has a digital legacy and you have no idea what that legacy is or where to start in closing it down.

    Today I described a concept that I’ve developed to help me clearly express some simple instructions to help my husband if the worst-case scenario ever happens.

    The four steps I followed are:

    1. Set up a password database

    2. Create a digital asset register

    3. Develop a digital legacy strategy

    4. Schedule a review and revision time slot every 12 months

    If you need help with this, please check out the links in my show notes, or hit up my contact page for more assistance.

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

    Posted on

    E#178 8 Important Business Boundaries to Beat Burnout

    This episode is about 8 important business boundaries to beat burnout

    Are you a business owner who is feeling a bit stressed and like you might be heading for burnt-out? Today, I want to talk about 8 important business boundaries – boundaries that you set during your working day – that can help you to beat burnout, so you can maintain flow and productivity at work, with ease.

    Burnout is the state of mental, emotional and often physical exhaustion that is created by prolonged or repeated stress.

     

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What burnout in business is all about
    * Planning, Boundaries and Burnout
    * Parkinson’s Law
    * 8 Important business boundaries to help you maintain resilience

    Burnout is the state of mental, emotional and often physical exhaustion that is created by prolonged or repeated stress.

    In other words, it’s when we are regularly stretched beyond our capacity and resources that we start to feel burned out.

    Burnout is an important topic that’s relevant right now to so many people. Let’s explore how it can happen, and then, look at 8 work boundaries to help you beat burnout.

    Burnout in Business – It’s About More Than Just Self-Care

    I have been talking to a lot of people recently about burnout in business and it’s clear that burnout is about more than just self-care.

    One story stands out in my mind as an example. She is a business owner who says she has learned to set strong boundaries in her personal life and has been maintaining reasonable self-care, but still feels burnt out, and for quite a while, she couldn’t figure out why.

    It turns out that she had mastered boundary setting and goals in her personal life but hadn’t translated these skills into her business.

    In her personal life, she is exercising, eating well, meditating, reading and learning, going to bed early and spending time with friends and loved ones.

    Yet it’s been the opposite in her business until fairly recently.

    In the past, she had been pushing herself hard each day, overbooking herself, setting unrealistic deadlines, rushing through tasks in order to feel productive, using coffee to

    maintain her momentum, comparing herself with the perceived success of others, and striving for exorbitant goals.

    Because of these behaviours and habits, she’d often been working late and sometimes on weekends without any defined need or purpose and feeling increasingly anxious and stressed.

    And previously, she might notice these signs and think she just needed a holiday. She’d have a wonderfully restful break and then, promise herself that she’d take things easier when she got back to work. But pretty soon, things would ramp up again and she’d be back on the road to burnout.

    Does any of this sound familiar to you?

    This is just one version of how burnout can happen. I have been forming some concepts about some of the contributing factors over the past couple of years which I’d like to share with you now.

    Planning, Boundaries and Burnout

    We all know that beliefs and thought patterns contribute to the behaviours that cause burnout.

    But that aside, I have noticed that there is a clear relationship between your planning skills, ability to set boundaries and burnout.

    If you’re interested, I have touched on some elements of this in my previous podcast episodes 112, 113, 114, 149 and 150 (if you want to go back and visit those).

    Here’s how I see that they are related.

    Firstly, if your planning isn’t effective, it can be hard to set and maintain healthy boundaries around the plan in order to deliver on it.

    Think about that for a moment in this example. Let’s say you are brand new to business and you make an ambitious plan to service 50 clients by the end of this year.

    What happens if you haven’t got clarity on the steps, processes and tasks to get there, and haven’t mapped them out clearly enough?

    Chances are, you won’t identify the skills or support you might need to reach your goal.

    You’ll struggle to gauge whether your plan is realistic and achievable.

    Your poorly mapped tasks might take 3 times as long as you thought.

    You might get stuck in the minutiae of putting out fires as you desperately try to wade through your plan.

    And as you creep closer to the 12-month mark, determined to stick to your plan, you might start to break some of your own rules in order to achieve the 12-month goal at all costs.

    Like working past 5pm. Like working weekends. Like lying awake at night and losing a lot of precious sleep as you ruminate on your to-do list.

    Hopefully you can see that good planning can help you to be better with your business boundaries – that they are largely intertwined – and that if you can do well with planning, then boundaries are easier and burnout is less likely.

    As I mentioned earlier, I don’t want to dive too deep into the psychology and beliefs, but I do want to mention the phenomenon known as Parkinson’s Law.

    Parkinson’s Law

    Parkinson’s law is a term coined by Cyril Northcote Parkinson in 1955 to describe the negative relationship between bureaucracy and productivity. Later, it was translated into an adage that “work expands or contracts so as to fill the time available for completion.”

    In other words, if you have a 38-hour work week available, your natural tendency is to fill all the gaps with work.

    Similarly, if you have a deadline, you can enjoy the luxury of procrastinating for weeks and then finally get the job done in the last hour before it’s due.

    This law can apply to money and household items too!

    It’s clear that setting time boundaries at work is critical for your ability to be productive and effective. The success of Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-hour Work Week is a testament to this; it’s basically a manual on how to manipulate Parkinson’s Law.

    Overall, in this discussion about boundaries and burnout, it’s clear that humans are good at creating work for themselves, whether it is necessary or not, and that is also something that can lead to burnout.

    If you have your self-care and personal boundaries in order – great! If not, go back to my previous podcasts I mentioned and take a listen.

    Now, let’s talk about 8 important business boundaries that you can set to maintain flow and productivity at work, with ease.

    8 Important Business Boundaries

    1. Scheduling – one key task per day

    Scheduling is the most important part of planning, and it relates to the planning step I mentioned earlier. If you schedule properly, your finish work boundaries and lunch break boundaries are much easier to uphold!

    When scheduling your week, remember that new tasks or project tasks invariably take longer than you planned, you will get blindsided by unexpected events, people will cancel, and you will get new and or urgent invitations.

    When running a business, accept that you will constantly pivot to some degree, whether you like it or not.

    So with all that said, the best way to accommodate this is to set only one key task to complete per day (more is a bonus) and leave a chunk of white space in your diary for the unforeseen or under-scoped tasks.

    This is a challenging boundary at first, but it gets easier as you start reaping the benefits of a calm mind and more productivity than you thought possible.

    2. Scheduling – one free day (or half day) per week

    Building on the planning theme, I find that one full day with no meetings – absolutely not negotiable – is a great chance to catch up, work at a slower pace, and be creative.

    Without the urgency or interruption of meetings and appointments, you can be super productive and feel like a champion. Try it.

    The boundary is to resist the temptation to squeeze in that meeting or phone call so it’s out of the way. Challenge yourself; stay strong.

    3. Maximum meetings

    One final point on planning – this is my personal favourite – limit the total number of meetings or client appointments you have each week.

    Meetings can be energizing, but too many can be draining, or even frustrating, and they can rob time from tasks that require focus and critical thinking.

    Humans are wired to distract themselves, so a day peppered with meetings gives you a mental ‘excuse’ not to start a task because you ‘don’t have time’.

    After a good year of observing myself, I realised that my capacity is 10 meetings per week.

    More than this, and I start to panic that I won’t get any work done, or I can’t get enough focused time to do the project or other desk work I must do.

    Learning to postpone or reschedule fits into this category too – it’s a good boundary to have to help you maintain flow, energy and productivity.

    4. Work with your energy

    Related to scheduling, and in the vein of David Allen’s model called Getting Things Done, it makes sense to work with your natural energy cycles and make the most of the highs and lows.

    The way it works is like this. Let’s say you have 2 – 3 tasks you need to do on a particular day, and a meeting.

    If possible, set the meeting at a time when you know you feel calm and present, like 11am.

    For your other tasks, you can predict how your energy will be and plan accordingly, and feel free to shuffle around on the day in case anything has changed.

    It’s order and disorder in harmony.

    For me, I often feel creative first thing on a Monday and it’s a great time to map out podcast topics.

    But some Mondays I know I have a deadline and I can’t think creatively, so I’ll do the urgent stuff first, take a break, and relax and get creative in the afternoon.

    Honouring your body’s basic needs is a trickier boundary to set as it relies on self-observation and a willingness to adjust last minute. But once again, the reward is greater than the cost.

    Imagine feeling like you are in flow every day, making the most of how you are feeling in each moment?

    5. Watch your caffeine intake

    Putting my health coach hat on, coffee is delightful and it’s a stimulant and diuretic.

    There is a t-shirt that says coffee: energy to do stupid things faster. The t-shirt is right.

    If coffee makes you speed up, your sense of urgency will increase, you might start rushing, panicking, feeling like you’re short on time….and then comes the frenzy.

    Calm the farm and watch your caffeine. It is found in green, white and black tea to a lesser extent, nootropic drinks and coffee, energy drinks and cola drinks.

    Most people can stay calm at one or maybe two cups per day. Don’t push the friendship; keep your boundary on simulants at work so you can remain calm and focused.

    6. Drink enough water

    I created a 50-day program for myself in 2021 and the life-changing moment was realising the impact that hydration has on my energy, focus, mental clarity and cognitive function. I was in a better mood and more motivated.

    The boundary is simply this – do something to remember to drink enough water.

    My simple trick is to fill my 750mL bottle first thing, put it next to my mouse, and aim to finish it by the time I eat my lunch, and refill it then to finish the second one by 6pm. Works a treat.

    Your needs are affected by your age, gender, size, activity levels and temperature, but generally most people need 2 – 2.5L/day (women need slightly less).

    If you are thirsty or often hungry, you are definitely dehydrated. Water is a game changer and a great business boundary to uphold.

    7. Saying no when you’re tired

    So many people try to push through to finish a task, or to be efficient, or to get meetings done. If you can recognise when you’re tired and are at capacity, then you can more easily set a boundary and say no to yourself and others so you can rejuvenate and avoid the slippery slope to burnout.

    Let’s face it – tired people tend to make mistakes, do shoddy work or lose concentration and focus, then may try to compensate by pushing themselves. All of that is counterproductive.

    Saying no gives you breathing space to re-energize and create true value in your business.

    Finishing work at a set time falls into this category – but be flexible enough to finish early if you need to.

    8. Step back and review urgency

    If you’re busy, tired, have a flood of emails or meeting requests, it’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of urgency for unimportant things, that aren’t really that urgent at all.

    Stepping back or as I call it, zooming out each day to review the urgency of tasks is a really helpful way to prioritize time, reschedule and stay calm. I have often caught myself feeling a rising sense of panic, and then ‘zoomed out’ to look logically at the tasks I am working on to ask myself – how urgent is this REALLY?

    It’s an eye-opening thought interrupt that helps you calm down, re-assess your priorities and make the changes you need to stay on top of your game.

    The boundary is having the discipline to step back and review rather than forge ahead.

    Summary

    Wow, we covered a lot today.

    We talked about how all the personal boundaries in the world don’t prevent burnout – you need to transfer the skills of planning and boundary-setting to your business if you want to remain calm, focused, productive and resilient.

    I mentioned the complicating factor of Parkinson’s Law, which is our innate desire to expand our work to fill the allocated schedule.

    And I covered 8 business boundaries that might help you to regain your balance, focus, optimism and avoid burnout. They are:

    1. Schedule 1 key task per day
    2. Schedule 1 free day per week
    3. Set maximum meetings per week
    4. Match your work to your energy
    5. Manage your caffeine intake at work
    6. Drink enough water at work
    7. Say no when you’re tired
    8. Step back and review task urgency

    These are what works for me, and I encourage you to have a try. And I’d love to hear your feedback – which business boundaries work for you?

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

    Posted on

    E#177 Tragic Optimism

    This episode is about tragic optimism 

    Are you sick of the relentless stream of drama and bad news and just wish you could find something positive to read and share? 

    Then you might be interested in tragic optimism and the opportunities it might bring you to feel more positive and purposeful in these challenging times.

    What is Tragic Optimism? 

    If you’ve read the book Man’s Search for Meaning by Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, you will know that he discusses this concept through the lens of life in a concentration camp.  

    He talks about making suffering meaningful, seeing guilt as a chance to improve ourselves, and interpreting life’s fragility and unpredictability as motivation to find meaning.  

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What Tragic Optimism means, and the research behind it
    * Avoiding the ‘happiness trap’

    He found a way to transcend suffering through his own inner decision-making. 

    Frankl defined ‘tragic optimism’ as a state of optimism in the face of tragedy and in view of the human potential which, at its best, always allows for: 

    1. turning suffering into a human achievement and accomplishment 
    2. out of guilt, defining the opportunity to change oneself for the better, and 
    3. out of life’s transitoriness, defining an incentive to take responsible action. 

    He doesn’t claim that we must suffer to discover meaning, but rather, that meaning can be found despite or because of suffering. 

    Where does real happiness come from? 

    Frankl says it comes from finding meaning in our lives because this is what provides our reason to be happy.  

    More recently with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, research by Anna Gotlib (1) backs Viktor Frankl’s concept of tragic optimism.  

    Her study indicates that people who cope better in crisis can do so because they can acknowledge suffering without being pulled under by it.  

    Gotlib says it’s not about finding happiness or even distraction from sadness. It is about repairing our narratives and our lives – about learning to let go of the stories around isolation, defeat, loss of control and worthlessness – and to create new narratives and recast a more meaningful future where hope exists. 

    I would consider myself to be a tragic optimist in many ways. I believe that the negative stories we tell ourselves are instructions on how to act. It is only when we define new stories that we provide clear instructions to our bodies and brains on how to step into our future selves and flourish. 

    Let’s be clear – this is not a ‘don’t’ worry, be happy’ concept. 

    It is about honouring uncertainty and encouraging hopefulness. It is about recognising that we can turn inwards to find new words, ideas and valuations, and then share them outwardly and begin again. 

    So, how do we do this?

    Avoiding The Happiness Trap 

    Well, for starters, we can avoid the Happiness Trap. 

    What is that? Well, it’s a concept offered by Dr Russ Harris (2).  

    In his book of the same name, Russ describes an empirically supported model known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), an effective model that can help you to address suffering and find meaning. 

    And sure, there are many ways and disciplines that can help you to tackle suffering and find meaning, such as self-compassion, mindfulness and cognitive behaviour therapy. 

    ACT includes aspects of all of these and more.  

    Rather than focussing on striving for happiness, it teaches you to undermine struggle, avoidance and loss using mindfulness, acceptance, cognitive defusion and a focus on values-based living. 

    ACT has over 35 years of evidence in treating conditions from anxiety and chronic pain to weight loss and performance enhancement, and over 300 randomised controlled trials that support the efficacy of ACT in alleviating suffering and promoting human flourishing.

    Isn’t it amazing to think that by changing your relationship with your thoughts and feelings, you can transcend both physical and emotional pain? 

    In my opinion, if you want to find meaning and become a tragic optimist whose life is based on meaning and fulfilment, I think Russ is the best person to help. 

    He teaches you how to blow your own mind, so to speak, by naming your stories and becoming a better storyteller, by separating yourself from unhelpful thoughts, and by learning simple tricks and techniques to defusing those thoughts and find true acceptance. 

    By doing this, you can stop chasing happiness (which is the trap he describes) and transform your relationship with painful thoughts and feelings to lessen their impact and influence over your life. 

    In turn, you create space for a rich and meaningful life, a sense of vitality and fulfilment that is satisfying and long lasting.   

    Now I know that some people might rail at the thought of having to ‘accept’ things.  

    But have you considered the true definition of acceptance? 

    It’s not tolerating or putting up with things – it literally means taking what is offered. It is opening yourself up to what is happening right now.   

    And it is your first firm foothold to stop suffering and to start taking action toward more of what you want in life. 

    Summary

    In these uncertain times, it can be hard to feel positive or find hope in the difficult circumstances that are affecting us all. 

    But there are pioneers and researchers such as Viktor Frankl, Anna Gotlib and Russell Harris who have done great work to prove that we can rise above the painful thoughts and feelings we have, to become tragic optimists – people who are able to transcend the unhelpful thought loops and re-craft stories that give us more meaning, purpose and ultimately, freedom. 

    References 

    1. Gotlib A. Letting Go of Familiar Narratives as Tragic Optimism in the Era of COVID-19. J Med Humanit. 2021;42(1):81-101. doi:10.1007/s10912-021-09680-8 
    1. Harris, Russell. The Science. The Happiness Trap Website accessed 26.1.22. https://thehappinesstrap.com/the-science/ 

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#176 Burnout and Rust Out – Are You At Risk?

    This episode is about burnout and rust out – are you at risk?

    Have you been working at home, including supporting your clients or teams through mental issues, over the past two years? Let’s talk about some of the mental health impacts that people in supporting roles may face – burnout or rust out – so you can understand and identify these two elements that have the potential to impact your role as a leader, manager, mentor or coach.

    This is the first in a series of conversations I’d like to have with you about understanding burnout and anxiety, and how to recover and build resilience.

    These are such important topics because our working world has been turned upside down and this has impacted our mental health – and let’s face it – our mental health underpins both our personal and professional success

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * Burnout, Rust Out, and Consequences
    * Risk factors for burnout and rust out
    * Managing or Reducing Burnout and Rust Out

    Background

    Over the past two years, we have seen significant changes in both working conditions and the mental health of workers and business owners.

    If you are an employee, or if you are a manager leading customers or teams, your daily role has invariably expanded to include dealing with other people’s emotional challenges.

    If you are a business owner and especially those in coaching businesses, it’s been more than just business as usual – you have faced a multi-pronged challenge of running your business while supporting your clients through greater than usual mental health challenges related to lockdown, home schooling, isolation, separation, loss of income, grief and the consequent depression and anxiety.

    On top of this, all of us have been dealing with our own emotional and situational challenges that potentially lead to mental health issues like anxiety or burnout.

    In simpler terms, it’s difficult to support others when your cup is empty.

    It’s hard to be an effective listener, leader and coach if you are struggling with anxiety.

    It’s hard to think clearly and make decisions if you’re overwhelmed.

    It’s difficult to be effective if you have lost purpose and direction.

    We need to understand what’s going on so we can deal with things more effectively and thrive in spite of what is going on around us.

    Burnout, Rust Out, and Consequences

    We all recognise the risks of burning out in such circumstances, but there is also the risk of something called ‘rust out’.

    At a simple level, we can describe burnout and rust out in terms of the number of challenges being faced, versus the resources we have available to meet those challenges.

    In the case of burnout, you may be facing substantial challenges but few resources to cope.

    Consider the effect of the pandemic. So many people are dealing with more stress, grief, isolation above and beyond what we they normally experience, or may be in roles where there are high levels of physical and/or emotional demand.

    Examples might include mental health counsellors who are trying to cope with an increase in emotionally challenged calls or clients, or on the other hand, there businesses that are thriving in the pandemic and may be working long hours, struggling to keep up with demand.

    In either case, workers may eventually lose the energy or ability to meet those demands, and this puts them on the road to burnout.

    And the result?

    Chronic and excess stress that leads to a sense of overwhelming exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment, a sense of ineffectiveness, and a lack of accomplishment (professional efficacy) (1). These are the hallmarks of burnout.

    Compare that with its’ opposite, rust out, where you may be facing few challenges but have plenty of resources to cope.

    Consider again, the effect of the pandemic. Perhaps your work has dried up to the point where you have very little to do, and you’ve started clock watching at 10am. Perhaps your career prospects have dwindled and you’re doing mostly menial work, shuffling papers and attending endless meetings.

    The result?

    You may become bored, disheartened and directionless. Your day feels monotonous, and you are developing a sense of dissatisfaction with a career. You are also at risk of anxiety – a sense of – where is this all heading? – or depression.

    It’s pretty clear that your ability to identify the risks and warning signs of either burnout or rust out means you can adjust, course correct, and stay on top of your mental health and thrive, in spite of what is going on around you.

    Risk factors for burnout and rust out

    In various studies, burnout risk factors are cited as gender, age, tenure and occupation, but there is variability in each of these.

    Generally, though, burnout seems to affect all industries and since the pandemic, it has occurred on a larger scale. In a report by Microsoft, interviews with 9,600 frontline workers revealed that some workers reported feeling an increased sense of connection with co-workers due to shared stress from the pandemic, but many felt underappreciated by supervisors and that lack of communication had contributed to their burnout.

    Further, 51% of non-management position frontline workers did not feel valued and wanted help to address physical exhaustion and mental health.

    In the mining industry in Western Australia, a pre-pandemic (2018) survey of fly in, fly out (FIFO) workers showed that 1/3 of workers surveyed experienced high or very high feelings of anxiety and depression, and burnout was significantly higher for FIFO workers than the benchmark group.

    Within the FIFO-based occupations of all mining employees, highest risk groups were makes 30 – 34 and 40 – 44 years of age, with eight people per week taking their lives in Western Australia.

    Other factors contributing to burnout in FIFO workers higher workload, high job demands, reduced engagement, work-family conflict (which had a negative impact).

    Burnout was found to be detrimental for safety compliance, contributing to more accidents and unsafe behaviours.

    The most influential resources for burnout were social support, leadership and a positive safety culture, good management skills and reasonable job demands.

    Looking at these two specific occupations, it’s clear that burnout is more than just about the demands of the job. It’s as much about isolation, loneliness, relationships and leadership.

    Managing or Reducing Burnout and Rust Out

    There are many strategies to avoid, manage and reduce burnout and rust out.

    I will cover many of those in future articles, but for now, I would like to quote my colleague and friend, David Carroll, a Trainer and Leadership Consultant who has extensive experience in this area.

    David says:

    “It’s important to differentiate between regular work-related stress and the state of being burned out. Stress is usually temporary and easily overcome. Stress is usually short-lived or tied to a specific goal. And when that goal is accomplished, the stress usually goes away.

    On the other hand, burnout is an extended period of stress accompanied by emotional changes. Burnout is a long-lasting condition that may need the help of a professional to treat. Regular stress, on its own, is not harmful. Burnout is damaging to both the individual who feels the burnout and those involved in that individual’s life.

    Developing your self-awareness and establishing coping mechanisms are the keys to building resilience, replenishing your energy reserves and regaining your passion and purpose in life. It’s all about establishing a healthy business mindset, healthy business body, healthy business relationships and healthy business development tools.”

    Summary

    The past two years of the pandemic have thrust change up on the way we work and have exposed us to greater, chronic stressors.

    Today, we talked about how changes at work may add to the intrinsic mental health risks we face at work and could result in burnout or rust out.

    Burnout is a situation of lacking resources to cope with too many challenges, leading to overwhelming exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment, a sense of ineffectiveness, and a lack of accomplishment (professional efficacy).

    Rust out is a situation where your work had diminished and/or become menial, resulting to a sense of boredom, monotony and dissatisfaction which may lead to anxiety and/or depression.

    We know that healthy relationships, supportive leadership, and personal care are critical to resolving both of these. I look forward to diving into those topics in coming episodes.

    1. Boring-Bray, W. 2020. Behavioural Health Providers are Burning Out or Rusting Out. Psychology Today website accessed 17.1.22

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#175 Does Your Business Need a Website?

    This episode is about if your business needs a website?

    A lot of graduate coaches get focused on having and launching a website because we are told that having an online presence is essential to business success.

    But is this important? Does your business need a website?

    Let’s talk honestly about this so you can take a breather and get clear on exactly what you need to do, and when.

    The Reality

    There are two realities when it comes to business websites.

    Firstly, you need to know a lot about your intended audience, and you need to have spent enough time on income-generating activities to know the value you bring to your audience.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * The two realities of business websites
    * A simple website readiness quiz to work out if you’re even ready for a website
    * Some ‘for now’ options that are just as good, if not better!

    Secondly, when you hit ‘publish’ on the website, it will end up on page 7 gazillion on a Google search. Nobody will know it’s there – so you will need to have a plan to promote and market your website.

    What this means is that if you are fairly new to the business, and/or lack client experience, you have a lot of work to do before even considering building a website.

    Otherwise, you risk spending a huge amount of time and money on something that won’t generate you any income, delays your getting experience and reviews, and isn’t visible to the outside world.

    I have prepared a website readiness quiz to help you get clarity on where you are at. See how you go with answering these questions and check your score at the end.

    Website Readiness Quiz

    Let me ask you a few questions before we answer this question.

    1. How long have you been running your business – or are you brand new?

    2. Do people know what you are capable of?

    3. What sort of people do you attract?

    4. What does your business stand for?

    5. Do you have clarity on your niche?

    6. Do you truly know and understand your niche client?

    7. Can you describe your niche client’s problem and solution clearly, in their words?

    8. Do you know their specific desired outcomes in their words?

    9. What format is your program?

    10. Which dates are you running your program this year?

    11. What is your lead magnet for the program?

    12. When are your marketing campaigns running – and on which channels?

    13. How and where will you promote your website?

    Here’s how to score yourself for these questions.

    If you could answer all 13 questions clearly and easily, then your business is probably ready for a website. You have a clear offering, clarity on your market, what they want help with, and probably some level of traction and proof of success.

    If you could answer 7 or more questions clearly and easily, your business is not quite ready for a website. You need to do some pilot or beta testing, market research and/or planning to truly understand how to position your business on a website, and/or where to promote it.

    If you struggled to answer even 7 of these questions, your business is clearly not ready for a website. You need to do or get help with many of the business basics, to develop a blueprint for success, get some experience and start earning an income before you are ready to create a website.

    So, If Not a Website, Then What?

    It’s super easy to create an online presence and credibility without the time and expense of a website.

    Three cheap, very effective options are:

    1. Create a professional-looking LinkedIn profile for your business, with good quality photos and descriptions of how you help your clients. You can also ask clients to give reviews on this platform which lends credibility, trust and social proof.

    This option is great if your business targets clients in professional roles or corporate settings, or where your leads come from professional networks such as allied health.

    In these cases, professionalism is especially important, and a good LinkedIn profile can convey this.

    2. Create a professional-looking Google My Business profile for your business, same as above. You can ask clients to give 5-star ratings on this platform which boost your Google visibility.

    This option is great for businesses targeting a local area (e.g. your local shire) and/or if your marketing strategy will focus on publishing, guest blogging, blogging, SEO or other online strategies.

    It can be an easy entry point for more introverted people who feel exhausted at the thought of daily interaction on a social media platform, or for those who are not on social media.

    3. Start a social media following (e.g. Facebook or Instagram).

    This option is great if you love being on social media and are a people person, love being in groups, and are extraverted or get a lot of energy from others.

    It suits clients who are extraverted and love engaging online, being active in groups, and getting value from a lot of support and interaction from you and their peers.

    Summary

    Does your business need a website? As you can see, it depends on which stage of business you are in.

    If you are brand new, without a track record, it makes sense that you choose a quicker, easier option to gain online visibility.

    Then, when you have a track record, experience, a better understanding of your niche, and some social proof – you will have all the information and clarity you need to launch a website that will actually work for your business.

    If you need help with understanding your audience, enquire about my February or June Passion to Profit Course intakes, where we go through the foundational work behind understanding your clients, your best marketing strategies and marketing channels.

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#174 Your Foolproof 2022 Business Plan

    This episode is about your foolproof 2022 business plan

    The start of the year is a great time to make plans. But how do you make a plan that is realistic and will guarantee results?

    Today, I cover the three ingredients of a successful business plan that will ensure your success.

    Ingredient 1: Start with Strategy

    What do you think of when you hear the word ‘plan’? The internet defines a plan as:

    1. An orderly or step-by-step conception or proposal for accomplishing an objective.
    2. A proposed or intended course of action.
    3. A systematic arrangement of elements or important parts; a configuration or outline.
    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * Why starting with a strategy is so important
    * How to create a structured, SMART plan
    * Reviewing and course correcting

    What do you notice about these definitions?

    I see that they are all about taking action. And taking action is great, and important….but in the words of organisational theorist Kenichi Ohmae:

    “Rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction.”

    In other words, planning your actions is important, but there is a step BEFORE that.

    The step is creating a strategy.

    A strategy is the overall aim, objective or goal that you want to achieve.

    When it comes to your 2022 business plan, you would define your primary aim for the year BEFORE you start the planning process.

    I believe the best aims or outcomes are inspirational, realistic, aspirational and measurable. Here is an example.

    “By 31 December 2022, I want to have helped 50 women reverse diabetes.”

    If you think about this as an outcome, it meets all those criteria.

    For the right person, this is:

    · inspiring (ties in with a passion),

    · something that can realistically be achieved with the right support, systems and effort (the timing and number and content has been done before by others),

    · something to aspire to (reversing diabetes), and

    · measurable (it has an end date, and a number of people).

    So my question to you is – what is the overarching strategic goal you have for this year?

    All of your plans will be borne out of that.

    Ingredient 2: Create a Structured SMART Plan

    This one is essential and it’s where a lot of people go wrong with a lack of detail, specificity and not seeking help. If you’re new at business and/or planning, you will need help with this!

    Like the strategy, a structured plan has very specific actions, dates, milestones and metrics so that you can schedule tasks and check that you are on track.

    Using the example I just mentioned, we can start teasing out elements of the plan.

    “By 31 December 2022, I want to have helped 50 women reverse diabetes.”

    In this example we can see that we need two things: a way to solve the problem, and a way to engage the clients.

    Firstly, you will need to have a program and/or method for helping people reverse diabetes.

    1. What is program or method you will use?

    2. Has it been created yet?

    3. Do you need to test it/get social proof?

    4. Who else might need to be involved to help you?

    By answering those questions, you can work out the actions that need to be taken, in which order, who will help you – and you can schedule those into a timeline.

    Secondly, you will need to have a channel to find those 50 women with diabetes.

    1. What does your market research indicate?

    2. Where will you find them / where do they hang out?

    3. What is your best marketing strategy that plays to your strengths – e.g. writing, speaking, PR etc?

    4. Who can connect you with them?

    5. What opportunities are there in your existing networks?

    6. What will your marketing plan look like?

    By answering those questions, you can work out the actions that need to be taken, in which order, who will help you – and you can schedule those into a timeline.

    Ingredient 3: Review and Course Correction

    A plan is great, but things invariably change as you progress, so you need to schedule time at least once per month to review your progress, and course correct so you can achieve your goal, or change the goal as needed.

    We all find this bit hard because nobody likes changing the goals or goalposts!

    Change requires a shift away from what we know and feel safe with, into the unknown.

    BUT, as we know through coaching clients, the process of experimenting invariably changes the journey.

    Making time to reflect, review, let go of what doesn’t work and change gears, is the absolute key to success.

    In the example above, let’s assume that you did all your actions in January to find prospective clients through your networks…..but you drew a blank.

    Or perhaps you thought you’d have your program finished by now and ready to pilot, but you haven’t gotten there yet and can’t find any pilot clients.

    Eeek! Now what?

    Well, simply go back to your plan and review it.

    What didn’t work?

    What did work?

    What other opportunities are there to find pilot or real clients?

    Who can help you get clarity on these things, so you can progress your plan?

    As you can see, it’s one thing to come up with a strategy and plan, but life and business don’t go according to plan.

    Your ability to problem-solve, troubleshoot, brainstorm, seek help or even pivot are what will help you succeed.

    Please know this – there is no magical solution to any of these or any other problems. They require focus, attention, and work.

    This is the reality of running a business, and you will gain valuable experience not just for yourself, but also empathy for your clients who are going through exactly the same process!

    Summary

    Today I mentioned that planning is essential for a successful business, but many plans go awry or fail.

    The three ingredients for success are:

    1. Start with a big-picture strategy

    2. Turn the strategy into a structured, SMART plan

    3. Review and Course Correct with help in order to stay on track for success.

    If you need help with business planning, I have three spots available in January. Click here to book.

    Otherwise, you can waitlist for my June Passion to Profit Course where we go through the foundational work behind the plan that is essential for success.

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#171 Pull Marketing – Attract Clients with Confidence

    This episode is about pull marketing – attract clients with confidence

    I was asked recently for tips on how to ask clients to work with you, or engage people in a sales process. This episode covers what I call a coaching approach to attracting clients with confidence and creating clients with ease. 

    What is Pull Marketing?

    I use the concept of ‘pull’ marketing. It means creating demand for your services or products, rather than pushing them onto people.

    If you are a coach, you are perfectly equipped with the coaching skills that can help you do this easily. All you need to do is to flip your thinking and redefine the words that currently seem icky and uncomfortable, like “marketing” and “sales”. 

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What is Pull Marketing?
    * The 4 Step “Pull Marketing” Process
    * How to get it right?

    The essence of pull marketing, from a coaching perspective, is to speak with conviction about your why, to be aspirational and inspirational, and to build or tap into a community around that. Then to match your values and services with the people who need them, and offer to support them through a journey if and when they are ready to take it.

    Here is a rough 4-step process that I use, that others have used, and that really works.

    4 Step “Pull Marketing” Process

    Step 1 – Start with the Why

    Pull marketing starts with clearly communicating your big why and your bigger mission and really unpacking it.

    The why naturally speaks to a huge problem that people want to solve – confidence, fear, isolation, self-doubt – or whatever it is. 

    It paints an aspirational picture of what’s possible (and what we can achieve together). People see themselves in that and create a shared vision.

    Speaking to the why regularly ignites the fire in people who are thinking about change but are afraid (it’s not you, it’s them!) – they move through the stages of change to become ready. 

    They sit up and take notice. Your inspirational and aspirational approach gives them a sense of hope, of potential, and that you are the leader who can help them.

    Step 2 – Give a Vehicle for Engagement

    By communicating your why in your content, people are attracted and engage with you as they become readier and readier to change (and therefore buy).

    They want to stay connected because it feels good to be around you.

    They may not be ready to buy yet.

    So, create a vehicle for engagement. Give them a place to go to stay in touch – a meetup group, a LinkedIn group, or some other ‘container’ for like-minded people.

    They will want to be part of that community and they will have ownership if they can co-create it with you (and this is the coaching way). 

    In that container, you can speak more to the journey they are on and help them solve day-to-day problems that they’re facing, and to get peer support.

    Be authentic, and speak to both obstacles and wins. Keep the positive momentum going.

    The community will become very problem aware, and solution aware, and are equipped to evaluate how important it is to change at this time.

    Step 3 – Add More Value

    With the help of your content in steps 1 and 2, some of the people in your audience will become more ready to change and will start to prepare for change.

    You can add more value in an event of some kind – a workshop, webinar, etc.

    In that session you would unpacking your why (related to their problem), and then introduce how you help people solve that problem. What has worked for you, and/or your clients?

    What you are selling is support to walk people through a 4-step process or formula for helping them go from point A (problem) to point B (solution).

    Engage the audience and make them part of it. Make the content specific and relevant to them. And right up front, let them know that at the end you’ll let people know how to work with you if they want to.

    Step 4 – Make a SMART Offer 

    There is an offer at the end of this event (and you can make this offer once a month at least, for your general audience). The offer is your vehicle to actually help those people to find the confidence and support they need on such a big journey.

    The offer is essentially formulated like a SMART goal (I am patenting this idea) 

    It talks about the:

    1. Specific problem you are helping with and type of people who have that problem 
    2. Two Measurable elements – how long it is (e.g. 8-week program) and how many people you have capacity to work with (e.g. 5 clients)
    3. Actions that 
      1. people need to take e.g. must be committed to attending weekly sessions, and, 
      2. the actions that you will take to help them overcome their obstacles and objections
    4. Realistic results that people will get if they take the actions – and the outcomes that those actions will generate e.g. have a bigger impact, be a role model for their kids
    5. Timing of the offer – e.g. contact you by a specific date, starting on a specific date

    Then, you must have the next steps mapped out clearly to enquire or take up the offer.

    I like to have a good fit call to see if the person is truly ready to change, and if they are a fit for working with me.

    If they aren’t interested, it might not be the right offer or the right time.

    If they aren’t a fit, you can refer them to someone or something else.

    In either case, you can STILL offer them value through ongoing connection with you on (LinkedIn, email, community etc) and you can invite them to share the message with others who need the courage and confidence to navigate the journey.

    Getting it Right

    This method works for me, and others. 

    Your courage to do it is borne from your bigger why, the thing that you MUST do no matter what – which is the kryptonite for your fears.

    If you can engage people in your why and share the dream with them, and co-create a vision, you will both be able to put the fear of marketing and sales aside and focus on making a change, and a difference. 

    Summary

    Attracting clients and selling programs is a big challenge for a lot of coaches. There are mental and emotional hurdles and often limiting beliefs in the way.

    Your courage to make offers is borne from your bigger why, the thing that you MUST do no matter what.

    Pull marketing is a strategy that leverages coaching skills and strengths.

    The four-step process I shared today includes:

    1. Starting with the why (as the focus for all your content) 
    2. Creating a vehicle for engagement where you dive into the what 
    3. Adding more value by offering events that truly help the people who are becoming ready to change
    4. Making a SMART offer that helps people connect with you so they can benefit from your skills, abilities and support.

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

    Posted on

    E#170 4 Ways to Beat Imposter Syndrome

    This episode is about 4 ways to beat imposter syndrome

    Imposter syndrome has been a hot topic lately and I have decided to talk about it again in this episode. 

    I have worked with several clients in the last year who have been struggling with imposter syndrome. And through the process of coaching conversations, I have seen a few things that have been really effective in helping people to beat impostor syndrome.

    The thing with impostor syndrome is that it creates an unhelpful downward spiral. If you are plugging negative thoughts into your head, then your brain takes that as an instruction and starts looking for evidence to prove the thoughts right.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What is impostor syndrome?
    * How to overcome impostor syndrome?
    * What are the methods that I can use to overcome impostor syndrome?

    That’s how our brains work. So you definitely need to learn some skills to manage those impostor thoughts and feelings.

    Sure, there is no magical quick fix for imposter syndrome. But there are habits that you can form that will help to diminish impostor syndrome and keep it at bay. They’re things that anyone can use, and benefit from.

    What is impostor syndrome?

    Healthline defines impostor syndrome as follows:

    Imposter syndrome, also called perceived fraudulence, involves feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence that persist despite your education, experience, and accomplishments.

    They say that Impostor syndrome may manifest as perfectionism, struggling to deal with anything that doesn’t come easily, the belief that you should be able to do things on your own, believing you should have all the answers and be an expert, or linking your competence to success in all areas of life.

    In clients I’ve worked with, these patterns come up in conversation along with a sense that they will be judged or criticised if they don’t succeed, achieve perfection or have all the answers. 

    If any of this sounds familiar, then you might have a bit of imposter syndrome going on. 

    I want to point something out before we go any further. If you are learning anything new in your life, you know that there is going to be a steep learning curve. There is a period where you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, because you haven’t had enough time to practice your new craft. 

    I see this a lot in  my work as in business startups and coach training within a health and wellness coach training school. I work mostly with mature adults who are going through a career change and have a lot of past success and knowledge – but who see their foray into a new career as challenging and disheartening. They are so used to feeling competent and now, suddenly, they are inexperienced newbies!

    Enter the impostor syndrome.

    Never mind! It is 100% normal to feel insecure when you are learning new things, to doubt yourself, and to feel like you don’t know enough, or aren’t doing it well enough. That’s called learning.

    Just like a small child learning to walk, falling down and then getting up to determinedly try again, you can learn to develop new skills and persist without feeling like a failure.

    How do you do that? Well, I’ve rustled up some of the ways that you can move past impostor syndrome more easily.

    I want to share four methods that have come up in coaching conversations with my clients that have been really effective in helping and overcome imposter syndrome. These are not one-time use methods – they need to be done consistently.

    Method #1 – Schedule time to recognise success 

    Self efficacy is a key part of beating impostor syndrome. Self-efficacy means that you have a sense of competence around your ability to do certain tasks or activities.

    For example, maybe you know that you are a good ballroom dancer, or that you are good at making cakes.

    Knowing that you have skills and strengths in a particular area confers a level of self-confidence.

    That’s why method #1 for beating impostor syndrome involves reflecting on wins in your daily life, or your progress with learning a skill.

    Here are a few ways you can do that.

    Firstly, if you are a coach, you can start working with practice clients and develop a self-reflective practice to implement after each coaching session that you do. Focus on being objective and non-emotive in your feedback, using neutral language. 

    Note what went well or not so well based on the client’s behaviour and feedback, what you feel went well, and what you might have done differently and why.

    A second way to build self-efficacy is to collect external feedback.

    If you are a coach, this would involve reading through testimonials and feedback surveys from your clients on a regular basis to remind yourself of the value of what you do. 

    This implies that you need to be collecting feedback after every coaching session as part of your business ‘habits’ or processes.

    Outside of coaching or your business, external feedback involves asking friends what they think your strengths are, or what they like about you. Ask for candid feedback from people you trust. It might feel a little uncomfortable, but you will probably be surprised about what comes back…..and delighted!

    Other than these ideas, you may have access to customer or colleague feedback at work, performance review feedback or simply the kind words of a compassionate friend who always champions you.

    A third way to build self-efficacy is to reflect on the value of what you do in your life.

    You could consider any area of your life. For example, the importance of being a parent. What is possible for your child because you care for them, house them, feed them and get them to school?

    What is possible if you continue to run your business or do your job – what good can that create in the world? Who can you help? And, by doing that work and helping those people – what will THEY be able to do?

    If you are new to coaching and are concerned about the value of your services, consider what is possible if your client gets to the end of their program and has made changes in a specific area of life? And THEN what is possible for them? And what else?

    In other words – use the big picture coaching questions toward the client who shows up and does their work, to see what is possible because of their work with you.

    Hopefully you can see that with a few questions and reflections, it is possible to recognise skills and strengths that you have, and to acknowledge how those things can have a bigger impact in your own life, or someone else’s. 

    Method #2 – Say I don’t know

    My husband recently told me a story about one of his first jobs in Australia. 

    He moved here from California and had no connections. Moving into a new job, he felt such pressure to have all of the answers and was really impacting him. 

    One day he was asked a question in a work meeting and he said simply, “I don’t know but I’ll get the answer and come back to you.” 

    He describes the sense that a huge weight was lifted from him because he could be totally honest (one of his strengths), he could go away and learn something, and he could still fulfill the request and gain probably more respect than if he had tried to bumble through an answer, as if he knew what he was talking about.

    I found the courage to do this a long time ago, and it was liberating.

    Think about it – nobody ever has all of the answers all of the time. If you can learn to be ok with that, you can remove at least some of the weight of expectation that you have placed on yourself. 

    To get a sense of this, see if you can recall a time where someone gave you an answer that you knew was a fake. How did it feel? What did you think about that person at the time?

    Now, imagine if they had been honest and told you they didn’t know, but would find out?

    I’m sure you can see the difference. And if we want to be really pointy about this – in those two versions of the situation, only one is an imposter – and it’s not the one telling the truth.

    Method #3 – Tap into your purpose 

    What I notice with all of my clients – literally all of them – is that when they feel like an imposter, they turn inward and focus on themselves and their own inadequacies.

    It becomes an emotional and sometimes judgemental conversation in their head that plays on repeat. And as I  mentioned earlier, when you are plugging those sorts of thoughts into your head, your brain takes that as an instruction and starts looking for evidence to prove the thoughts right.

    That’s how our brains work.

    So a way to flip that and get out of the unhelpful thought loops is to tap into your purpose.

    If you are a coach and/or a business owner, then your impostor syndrome might be around your ability to give value to your clients. It becomes a conversation all about you and your inadequacies. 

    But coaching is all about the client! By flipping this, you can get back into that client-centric mindset and start delivering value. 

    Reflect on some of those big picture, brain-opening questions.

    Why does my work matter to the world?

    What could this much-needed skill change in my community?

    What will happen when I become masterful – how will it help me and my clients?

    Why do I want to make a difference in people’s lives?

    As you can see, honing your purpose is a great way to pull away from the useless impostor thought loop and to re-focus on the big picture – your why behind it all.

    Method #4 – Accept yourself as a learner 

    Finally, if you feel like an impostor, it might be that your expectations are greater than what is realistic or possible right now.

    Being honest and objective with yourself and getting external feedback allows you to see clearly where you are at in the learning continuum.

    And sure, you might really wish you were further along – but maybe it’s time to step back and accept yourself as someone who doesn’t have all the answers, can’t do it perfectly, and is on the journey toward becoming masterful.

    This is the growth mindset!

    Accepting yourself as a learner gives you permission to make mistakes, be curious, learn from your challenges and build strength.

    Another perspective is this – they say it takes 10.000 hours or 10 years to truly master something.

    Consider where you are on that timeline. Yes, it can be sobering. But also, it’s a good reminder that your persistence in doing something you love will lead to a good outcome and, persistence in itself is part of winning in a world where so many people give up.

    Summary

    After several conversations about impostor syndrome, I wanted to share some insights on how to move through it more easily.

    Firstly, you can start scheduling time to recognise success. This could involve self-reflection on performance, reading client testimonials, asking friends for feedback, or reflecting on the downstream value or ripple effect of what you are doing.

    Secondly, you can practice saying I don’t know, but I’ll find out and get back to you. This single act will gain you respect and will ease the pressure you’ve been putting on yourself.

    Thirdly, you can tap into your purpose. Stop focussing inwards on your flaws, and start focussing outward on the bigger benefits and impacts of what you are doing.

    Fourth, you can accept yourself as a learner, on a journey to mastery, which takes 10,000 hours or 10 years – whatever comes first.

    Hopefully you are feeling better equipped to tackle your impostor syndrome.

    I’d love to know – which one of these methods will you try first?

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

    Posted on

    E#169 50-Day Program Results

    This episode is about 50-day program results

    Have you ever started any sort of a health change program and wondered why you couldn’t stick to it? today I’m giving you an update on my 50 day program results and what I’ve had to do to stick with it.

    Backstory

    Around 44 days ago I got a bee in my bonnet and decided that I would make a transformation in my health. I was sick and tired of putting up with menopause symptoms including anxiety and insomnia feeling like I was on the coffee roller coaster and just wanting to clean up my body.

    I have experienced changes in my thinking, my energy, my sleep, and it’s all because I’ve developed better habits around drinking water, eating cleaner and with less snacking, drinking less coffee, and setting some boundaries.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * The progress of my 50-day program
    * The backstory behind the program
    * What does extending mean?

    Despite the good start, I do love a challenge and I have decided that, 44 days in, I am going to the next level in this program.

    Before I tell you about that I’m just going to recap on some of my key results so far.

    FIrstly, I have a great eating and supplementation routine and I am no longer bloated and I am energized. I’m feeling calmer and more relaxed than I have in a long time. My digestive system, liver and nervous systems are having a good rest.

    Secondly, instead of trying to flog myself with exercise, I’m working (right now) on gentler forms of movement that are more in keeping with what I need right now. 

    My sleep has improved dramatically. I feel more positive and hopeful. I have a clearer and more focused mind.

    My skin looks better – clear, soft and dewy.

    My clothes fit better.

    I am clearly seeing the thoughts and beliefs I had attached to eating and drinking for what they are – not serving me, and inaccurate.

    I have let go of things that are unhealthy for me with surprising ease.

    It’s probably because I”ve committed to myself and given enough focus on what’s important to me, to make this difference.

    And now, as I have a few days left to go – I have decided to extend my program.

    What does extending mean?

    Extending means I will continue and deepen my journey for another month at least.

    I am giving myself four more weeks to truly understand my newly refined and tuned up body and mind, to become familiar with them, and to get comfortable here.

    I don’t want to go back to my old habits, so I am setting myself a new milestone to aim for and that is giving me the period of focus that I need to learn more about myself – most importantly, how to remain consistent and committed – so I don’t slip into old habits.

    In other words, I”m working on strengthening my WHY behind this.

    With several sick family members right now, I know how things can go sour. It doesn’t happen overnight though, it creeps up gradually. 

    That is why I am continuing on this journey.

    This was a QUICK update – but I’ll be sharing some more insights soon, including some secrets to my success, and some of the things that YOU can do for yourself.

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#166 50 day Program Update – Forming Habits vs Circadian Rhythm

    This episode is about 50 day program update – forming habits vs circadian rhythm

    This is the latest update on my 50 day program. At around 25 days in, I want to share some of my results and key learnings so far. 

    I’ll also cover what I’ve learned about how habit forming is easier within a structure, but stickability is easier if you honour your more fluid circadian rhythm. This might explain to you why you have struggled to stick to programs in the past. I will also talk about a few solutions.

    Results so far – Eating

    I can certainly say without a doubt that some of my key results after 25 days on this program have been very impressive and important for me personally.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What is the update on my 50-day program?
    * Habit-forming vs circadian rhythm
    * How do we juggle habit formation and circadian rhythm in our life?

    In the last episode I mentioned macro tweaking – I used the app my fitness pal for a couple of weeks to track my meals and workouts, so I could work out calories, fat, macro ratios and nutrients to see what works best for me in terms of energy, focus, cravings, satiety and productivity.

    My fine tuning has been impactful.

    For starters, I know exactly which breakfast fuels me the best for energy, productivity, and focus in the morning.

    I have a clear understanding of exactly what to eat at lunchtime to fuel an afternoon of even energy and without sugar cravings or hunger.

    I am also very clear on the role that water plays in my mental focus, energy, and hunger, working synergistically with what I’m eating.

    This is a great starting point for me because I am really clear on which types of meals to eat to optimise my mental and physical performance, so I don’t have to do any thinking work about that any more. I can plan my meals ahead prep them in advance and just enjoy them. No diet plan could ever have done this for me.

    I am acutely aware of true hunger signals now. And I have noticed that when I get stressed, feel flustered, or feel rushed, that is when I am likely to want to eat chocolate. But I realise that it is a craving for chocolate and comfort food, rather than any need for food or energy. This has been a really important learning for me. 

    Now that I am in a really good place with my hydration and my eating, it means that I can notice these stress-related chocolate cravings when they come up, and I can sit with the urge, allow it, and let it go. I realise that if I did not have my hydration and eating in order, then I would probably give in to that chocolate craving. And that is what has been happening until this program.

    Results so far – exercise

    My morning walks have happened on most days and they have been a great start to the day, and precious quality time with my husband.

    Otherwise, I have been sporadic with my afternoon exercise, and it seems to be related to my work schedule and energy levels. 

    I have a preferred time of day to exercise, which is in the afternoon. That’s when I feel strongest. The trouble is, that time often coincides with meetings. 

    In this program, I have managed exercise better on days when I’m not teaching at night and when I don’t have late meetings. On those days, exercise ends up happening while I’m making dinner, which is not ideal. It means a shorter, less intense workout.

    Also, if I have had a rushed or mentally busy day, I feel too drained to exercise in the afternoon.

    Morning exercise doesn’t suit me, apart from walking.

    I’m still grappling with this one. Stay tuned.

    Habit forming vs circadian rhythm 

    Through the process of analysing my progress and reflecting on what’s been going on, I have come to the conclusion that habit forming is really difficult for a lot of people because of the clash between our life schedules and our circadian rhythms.

    I have had this same conversation with a client recently who is on her own program.

    Let me explain what I mean.

    We as humans living in society run our days via a fixed schedule. We set an alarm to get up in the morning, we have to be at work at a certain time and we have responsibilities outside of work that are also driven by the clock.

    However, our bodies don’t run like that. Our bodies run on a circadian rhythm that changes through the year based on day length and temperature and a whole bunch of other environmental factors.

    For example, we have certain times of day where we are more energised, and this is the best time to exercise and eat. However, your most energised time might happen in the middle of a board meeting!

    What happens is that we end up exercising or eating at sub optimal times for our personal rhythm. And that’s why it might be so hard for you to follow a particular exercise plan, or keep going to the gym at the same time each day for a whole year, or be able to eat the same food at the same time each day.

    Our bodies change in response to the seasons and our stage of life, and our needs change.

    What this means for you is that if you try to follow a set exercise program at the same time every day, or the same eating pattern with the same foods at the same times every day, the likelihood is that you fail at some point because your biology will shift you in a different direction and your needs will change.

    In addition to this, habit formation is easier with some degree of consistency, so having a set day or time to perform a habit makes sense in theory, but perhaps not in practice.

    I learned all this in my biology degree, in my metabolic typing advisor training, my personal training qualifications, my coaching certification, and through over 4,000 hours coaching clients…. but I have only realised the gravity of this influence by doing my own 50 day program and experiencing this myself.

    So how do we juggle habit formation and circadian rhythm when we have a fixed schedule for life?

    I have a few ideas that i will sketch out now and flesh out in another episode.

    Flexible work is one idea. Finding ways to adjust my start times, finish times, days off and/or meetings means I will more likely be able to honour and leverage my circadian rhythm.

    Supplementing is something I’m currently doing and will continue. It makes a huge difference, and I know after using my fitness pal that it’s very difficult to meet all my nutrient needs, even with a good diet. I have been taking Usana supplements for 15 years because of their science backing, quality manufacturing process and proven efficacy.

    Seasonal exercise is a no brainer for me, and I have been doing this for years. In personal training we talk about something called a periodised training program. This is when an athlete in a competitive sport breaks their year into segments where they do different types of training – their preparation phase, intense training phase  and competition phase and then the rest and recovery phase which is also called the off season.

    For me, it’s the day to day fitting in of exercise that is more of the challenge, which I’m working on.

    Seasonal eating is also a no brainer and I am a huge advocate. Research shows that eating in season produce gives you more nutrient rich food, and it’s also cheaper to buy in season stuff because there is a glut!

    So choice of food is not the issue for me, it’s more about fine tuning my meals in each season so I can maintain energy and eliminate focus.

    Reflection and planning are the last points I’ll make for now. All of the above are relevant, but to implement seasonal changes, you need to stand back from your busy life and take stock, then, plan each week or each day to fit in all of the health giving activities you need to do.

    Summary

    Today I updated you on my midway results of my 50 day program.

    I also discussed the importance of honouring your dynamic circadian rhythm so you can be consistent and motivated, and the challenges of doing this within a more fixed framework of creating habits, and managing daily schedules.

    I offered some solutions in the form of seasonal eating and exercise, supplementing, aiming for flexibility in your work schedule, and the importance of reflection and planning to make seasonal adjustments.

    This is what I’ll be focussing on for the remaining 25 days… and maybe into another 50 day cycle!

    Stay tuned for the next episode!

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

    Posted on

    E#165 Busting Cravings and Firing Up Motivation

    This episode is about busting cravings and firing up motivation

    Are you doing a transformative program and have found that the magic is wearing off after a week, and you’re losing motivation?

    I want to share my initial results with you and talk about how to stay motivated while you’re on a transformative program.

    The first week’s highlights

    I am pretty chuffed with my first weeks work in my own transformation program.

    I did really well with everything this first week. After all, it’s the honeymoon period of the program where everything is new and exciting.

    Here are some highlights.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What to do when you are losing motivation?
    * How to get the timing right?
    * What are the other motivation tips that we can use?

    Water

    I did especially well with drinking enough water, and this made a huge difference to my overall energy levels, my hunger, the way my skin looks and feels, and also my mental focus. My digestion has been better and I’ve tapped into my natural thirst and hunger signals.

    That was an absolute winner to start with.

    The way I managed to succeed in keeping my water intake up was actually pretty simple. I just filled my water bottle up every night so would be ready for the next day at my desk. I made sure to have 2 cups of uncaffeinated rooibos tea each day which added to my water intake.

    Plus I had a glass of water as I was preparing dinner each night. I absolutely bossed my goal and my natural thirst mechanism has kicked in, so I will be doubling to two litres of water a day this week coming.

    One of the things this has helped me to do is cope with sugar withdrawals.

    Sugar and white flour

    I have to be really honest and say the first five days without sugar was really hard.

    After my birthday where I got a lot of cakes and some fudge and some chocolate, I had developed a bit of a habit of eating chocolate or cake in the afternoon when I had a bit of an energy lull.

    But by God did I have some sugar cravings this week. I crave sugar after lunch, I crave sugar in the mid afternoon, and I crave sugar after dinner.

    To cope with this, I use some really effective strategies to get past those cravings and I was over them completely by day five.

    These include keeping my water intake up, including enough protein and fibre at each meal, and getting my meal timing right so I don’t need snacks.

    That last part is important because snacking, especially on sugar or carb rich foods, drives false hunger and cravings so it’s important to stop those in their tracks.

    Now by day 7 I have been free of sugar or carb cravings for two days!

    This is pretty impressive for me because I have long been a fan of having what I call ‘lunch dessert’, plus at least a little chocolate after dinner.

    Macro ratios

    After busting those cravings by day 5, I turned my focus to getting my carb mix right because this is the secret for managing long term hunger, satiety, energy and cravings – and of course body composition and weight 

    Once you sort out any blood sugar imbalances which are indicated by what I call ‘false’ sugar or carb cravings, then you can assess natural energy needs and can get a sense of how best to fuel your body for clear thinking and good performance with exercise.

    So the past two days I’ve been following the Metabolic Typing fine tuning process to get a good balance of protein, carbs and fat at each meal and maintain good physical and mental energy, free of cravings and full of energy, completely satisfied for four hours after a meal.

    Exercise

    I haven’t gone as well as I hoped with exercise because I had a couple of days with really bad headaches and a stiff trapezius muscle so I had to work around those things.

    I also noted I hadn’t planned around my work properly during a busy week and so I was short of time on a couple of days, and not wanting to exercise too late in the afternoon for fear of staying awake all night.

    However, I achieved about 80% of my exercise goal this week which is fantastic. That means that on most days I did two exercise sessions per day, in accordance with the specific activities I set for myself.

    What I learned is that I need to plan better for exercise.

    I had to catch my naughty mind trying to convince me I was too busy to exercise on a couple of days, and pushed through using the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 principle.

    Staying Motivated

    I wanted to talk a bit about how to stay motivated during a program like this one.

    Let’s start with what I’ve seen in many of my clients. The first week of any type of transformation program is exciting and interesting. You’re doing new things, you’re getting some quick wins, and you are also starting to get into a rhythm.

    But if you are a veteran of programs, or lacking in self confidence, you might start to lose focus or find yourself making excuses for things that you are not doing.

    Let me just say that this is totally normal. It’s totally normal for you to start getting a bit bored or unmotivated or to feel challenged when it comes to habit upgrades.

    It’s normal to feel a bit stuck or overwhelmed at times and feel like giving up. Although this may happen to you later on, it can also happen after the first seven days of a program.

    I want to explain what I’m doing to stay motivated during my transformation program

    Motivation Tip 1 – Get the Timing Right

    The first point is that you should really choose the timing of your transformation program carefully. It’s crazy to try to do it when you are incredibly busy at work, or when you have a lot of stressful things going on in your life.

    Generally those things mean that you’re at a tipping point of stress and a thing that would normally be challenging can become just that bit too challenging such that you might give up more easily.

    Also, when you’re stressed it takes a huge toll on your physical and mental health, including your body’s nutrients status. Your nutrient needs increase, and your cravings for sugar and carbs and fatty salty food all increase when you are stressed. So it makes it a lot harder to improve your eating, just sleep well, and to be able to exercise effectively. 

    In fact if you are trying to do something transformative in a period of life like this, you’re more likely to get a cold or a flu or to get otherwise rundown and sick and then not be able to complete the program.

    So this timing thing is really important – choose a period of your life that is normal, routine, and average, so that you can more easily adjust to the disruption and challenge of the transformation program and face the challenges and discomfort of change without giving up!

    Similarly, a bad time to do a transformation program is if you are out of a normal routine.

    The reason that this isn’t a very good time to do a transformation is when you’re on a relaxing holiday. It may be harder to persevere or you might find it harder to stay motivated and focused.

    One other reason that you should not attempt a transformation while you’re on holiday is that you may be establishing habits outside of your normal weekly structure, so that when you go back to that normal weekly structure, your new habits no longer fit into that typical week.

    It totally makes sense for you to make changes within your normal routine, where you have more of a fixed schedule each day. That makes it easier for you to stack habits or piggyback habits on top of your existing ones and automate them much more easily.

    Motivation Tip 2 – Measure and Reflect

    One thing that’s been really helpful for me is to measure several things each day and really keep my eyes on how much better I am feeling when I do certain things and to reflect on the success of that.

    After seven days on my own 50 day program, I have learned a lot about motivation. I realise that I approach each weekend ready to relax after a stressful week and have been tempted to let down my guard because of that.

    Documenting this process helped me to see how important it is to have a strategy for weekends to stay motivated to stay on track – or choose to focus on habits that you can easily do 7 days per week – or at least consistently and without any sabotage.

    Motivation Tip 3 – Don’t wait for motivation

    Have you ever heard of the Zeigarnik Effect? 

    The Zeigarnik Effect states that not completing a task creates mental tension, which keeps it top of mind. The only thing that will ease this tension is to complete the task. 

    Starting something – like your daily exercise session – is usually the hardest part. If you can start focusing on the task for a few minutes, the brain’s desire to complete it should then take over. So next time you feel like putting off an action, just take that first step, and the rest will follow.

    Summary

    Today I’ve talked about all the things I’ve learned after 7 days on my own transformation program. 

    I’m still in the experimental phase to see what works and what I can fit into my lifestyle and how to do that, but I’m already seeing amazing results with clearer skin, clearer thinking and a calmer, less anxious state of mind. The mental chatter has all but stopped and that’s been life changing for me.

    I explained the changes I’ve chosen to make – water, food, exercise, boundaries around work, journaling – and how I’ve used journaling and metrics to learn about myself, and stay motivated, and tweak the plan.

    This has been such a growth opportunity for me. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been extremely rewarding. I look forward to sharing what happens next week!

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

    Posted on

    E#164 Getting Motivated to Transform

    This episode is about getting motivated to transform

    Have you ever wondered what it takes to get motivated and in the right headspace to commit to and complete a transformation challenge or program? Have you ever started a program and not been able to finish it, and feel really bummed about that?

    I hear you! In this episode, I want to share with you a journey that I’m about to embark on to improve my mental health and sleep.

    I’ve developed a holistic program that I’m calling “physically and mentally stronger”. 

    And in this episode I want to share with you how I am getting into the right mindset and how I’m preparing to absolutely smash the next 50 days. 

    In the coming weeks, I’m going to share what’s going on and what it feels like to be on this journey. I’m going to share all of the blood, sweat and years with you so you can see which of my hacks and methods are working, and my secrets for staying on track.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * How to get yourself motivated to transform?
    * How to have a clear path?
    * Finding out the why behind the motivation

    The Background

    Over the past 25 years I have worked as a personal trainer, as a nutrition coach, and as a health coach. I’ve participated in countless challenges and programs, but there aren’t many that I’ve completed. And I know a lot of other people in this same boat. 

    It tends to happen that when spring comes around people feel motivated to get outside and to shed a few winter kilos or to get out of the winter slump and re-energise themselves or lose weight or whatever it is. 

    But the reality of a busy life often gets in the way and it’s easy to slide back into old habits and give up on that program or challenge or whatever it is.

    As I mentioned in a recent episode, I have been trying to hack my sleep and anxiety that have come about as a result of many stressors in the last 2 years but also with the onset of perimenopause. It’s been a really trying time and my productivity is down, my energy is down, and my mood has been low. I’ve woken up a few times feeling really anxious in the night with a tight chest. 

    So over the past couple of months, I’ve been hacking a few different parts of my life to reduce these symptoms and get things back into balance, I feel like it hasn’t quite been enough and I want to do a more complete and holistic program that will get me some results and get my health and physiology back on track.

    But I didn’t want this to be one of those programs that I would start and then never complete. I didn’t want to feel pressured  to flog myself at the expense of my health and my sanity. I didn’t want to feel pushed, restricted, or overtrained.

    Speaking with a friend today, she said she’d hit ‘rock bottom’ and it gave her the impetus to make some changes and stick with them.

    Then I thought – why is it that we have to wait until we are at rock bottom before we act? That gives us so much more shit to push up hill!!

    I’ve decided to be proactive and start something now, and create the commitment to it.

    Since I have the qualifications, skills and experience, I decided to come up with my own program and commit to doing it for a period of time that I felt was reasonable and that would yield results.

    Given my past experience with this sort of thing, including some successes, I knew I had to make sure that I was 100% committed and that my commitment was foolproof. 

    How on earth do you do that?

    That’s what I’m going to explain – my three-step formula. 

    Step 1 – The Plan

    The most important thing for starting any program is to have a really clear plan of exactly what you are going to do and when. 

    That might sound like a bit of a no brainer, but there is a nuance here.

    How often have you gotten a plan that somebody has written for you and tried to copy, but have lost interest or found out it was too hard or not doable for you or didn’t get any results?

    I have seen this countless times and so the important thing about making a plan is that it’s customised to you.

    Here are three steps for getting your plan right.

    Decide exactly what you are going to change. Be very specific.

    For example, instead of saying I’m going to exercise each day, I’m going to say exactly what the exercise is, and what time I’m going to do it. 

    And not just that, but I have scoped my calendar in advance to make sure I’m choosing days and times that are absolutely realistic, blocked out for myself, and most likely to succeed. 

    I also have a plan B in case any of those times don’t work out.

    Be selective

    This one is really important. You can’t change everything at once. Studies show that the likelihood is that you can automate around 2 – 3 habits in 12 weeks.

    So I’m not trying to change everything dramatically, I am choosing a couple of things that are new habits and a couple of things that are improvements to existing habits.  

    Another point about being selective is that you need to choose activities that you absolutely 100% can commit to. For example, there’s no way I’m going to get up at 6 a.m. and run 5km. No way. So that’s not even on my agenda.

    I am going to walk for 30 minutes each morning, and do 30 minutes of weights and stretching every afternoon. 

    This is a stretch for me but I have done it easily before and so I know that I can do it again. Remember I’ve blocked this out in my calendar so that it’s not negotiable.

    Make it foolproof

    The third step is to make your chosen activities foolproof. What I mean by this is to write down all of the excuses that your brain is going to come up with when it comes time to do that activity and work out how you will counteract them.

    For example I know that when it comes to exercise it’s going to be too cold or I’m too tired or I’m too hungry or I’m too busy and all of those other really good reasons that my brain is coming up with in the moment. I have a plan for all of those things. It’s foolproof.

    Step 2 – The Why

    Now you might think that making a plan is enough. And this is a mistake that a lot of people make.

    A plan is definitely important, but unless you have some good motivators behind the plan, you’re probably give up by about the 2nd or 3rd day.

    It’s great to think about your motivators from a really broad and deep perspective. For example, I know that bone health and healthy aging and so on are really important to me. 

    I know that I want to reduce anxiety and insomnia. 

    But in a recent session with my coach, I realised that these weren’t motivating enough for me. I had to come up with another three or four very important reasons why I would do this challenge and complete it no matter what. Many of those reasons are intrinsic – important to me – but some are also extrinsic – beneficial for others.

    For some people one or two reasons might be enough, but I’ve realised that I need to have a lot of reasons to really commit to something like this, and feel like it is worth the effort.

    Step 3 – The Terms and Conditions

    The third step that I want to talk about is what I’m calling the ‘terms and conditions’. 

    This is like my contract with myself, outlining what I want to do and how.

    For example, I am not naturally a journaller but I feel it’s important to document certain things every day to keep me focused and to help me identify when or where I need to course-correct. I will also be visualising and rehearsing the steps I have committed to each day. I will use positive and supportive language. I commit to not complain or make negative or unhelpful comments to myself or about my plan.

    I will recognise that it’s hard some days, and easy on others, and that’s ok and it’s part of the journey.

    All of this mental stuff is so important to me because I am someone who may not take the time to reflect or celebrate my successes or my commitment to the process. So, it’s really important to record specific metrics each day to show that I am firstly taking action every day and secondly that I am checking in with my motivators, and my mindset, to ensure that what I’m doing is meeting my expectations.

    Part of this recording of progress is going to be the recording of physiological changes in  my body. I am using Philia Labs system that monitors a specific part of the stress cycle, to inform me of how my chronic stress is tracking and also, to predict when my mental health, productivity or focus is likely to shift, so I can realign my day and use strategies to boost my mood and wellbeing. For me this is a critical part of staying on track.

    And the last part of my terms and conditions are about my expectations. 

    In terms of expectations, the only one I have is that I will learn how to persist with a process and follow through until completion.

    At the very least I will learn something about myself and build trust in myself. At the most, I will also achieve some outcomes.

    Summary

    I’m about to start a 50-day journey to improve my physiological, physical and psychological health. 

    Despite being a natural born quitter in the past, I am using all of the qualifications, skills, and experience I have to commit to a program I have devised and follow it for 50 days, no matter what.

    Why wait until you hit rock bottom? Be proactive and start now, because it will be way easier, more positive and more enjoyable.

    Today, I shared my own three step process to make this journey foolproof.

    I have created a plan that suits me specifically.

    I have identified the whys behind it – and that I need several immediate ones to help me commit.

    I have devised terms and conditions to help me stick with it no matter what.

    Hopefully, this has inspired you to think about what it takes for you to change and… to get on and do it.

    Listen in next time and let’s see how I’m going with it!

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#163 Early Warning Signs of Mental Health Decline

    This episode is about early warning signs of mental health decline

    October is mental health month, and I am in the thick of Mental Health First Aid training. If you haven’t heard of this, it’s a fabulous course that equips you with some basic skills to more easily identify and directly help people who are struggling with mental health.

    In celebration of this important month, I decided to share some of the common early warning signs of mental health decline.

    A Few Facts

    Let’s start with a few basic facts.

    Mental health challenges affect your brain, your body and your behaviour. 

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * A few facts about mental health
    * What are the signs of mental health decline?

    Chronic stress is a precursor to mental health conditions. It can affect your brain, shrinking the hippocampus, and subsequently decreasing your memory, mood and learning ability.

    The early warning signs and symptoms of chronic stress and subsequent mental health decline may be subtle and highly individualised. 

    They may not be detected or reported until a crisis state is reached, and in that sense, it can be difficult to identify people who are at risk (1) .

    Physical and Physiological Signs of Stress and Mental Health Decline

    • Tiring more easily 
    • Being tired all the time
    • Feeling sick and run down
    • Headaches
    • Persistent/resistant muscle aches and pains
    • Increased or decreased reaction times
    • Changes to sleeping patterns
    • Weight loss or gain
    • Dishevelled appearance
    • Gastro-intestinal issues.

      Behavioural Signs

      Behaviours associated with mental health concerns include:

      • Not getting things done
      • Unusual emotional responses
      • Inappropriate complaints about lack of management support
      • Inappropriate focus on fair treatment issues
      • Inappropriate complaints about not coping with workload
      • Withdrawing from colleagues
      • Reduced participation in work activities
      • Increased consumption of caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes and/or sedatives
      • Inability to concentrate
      • Indecisiveness
      • Difficulty with memory
      • Loss of confidence
      • Unplanned absences
      • Conflict with others
      • Inappropriate use of grievance procedures
      • Increased errors and/or accidents.

      Many of these are ‘invisible’, may be easily mistaken for other conditions, or could be interpreted as non-significant, single events. It is only in a face-to-face (or virtual) interview with a mental health professional, who looks at a cluster of symptoms, that mental health concerns may be assessed and properly diagnosed.

      Outside of a clinical setting, or when workers are remote, it is difficult for peers, managers, clients (or for the individual themselves) to identify mental health risks.

      The stigma around reporting mental health issues is part of the issue, and this is indicated by the underuse of employee assistance programs (EAPs). 

      We know that 20% of people of working age will experience a mental health concern in any given year, yet typically only 5% of employees (across all sectors) access EAPs for mental health concerns[4],[5].

      For these reasons, mental health diagnosis is often reactive and comes too late, when things are at a crisis point.

      Filling the Gaps

      It can be tricky to know what to do when someone you know or love has these sorts of signs or symptoms.

      The best thing you can do is let them know tactfully, and directly, that you have noticed a change in their behaviour, and to ask how they are feeling.

      Better still, enrol for the Mental Health First Aid course. It’ll equip you with skills to better deal with your clients, your friends, family or coworkers.

      Summary

      Mental health can decline secretly and silently, affecting your brain, your body and your behaviour. Chronic stress is a precursor to mental health conditions. 

      The journey from not coping with stress to mental health decline can be subtle and highly individualised, and hard to see until it’s too late. 

      Today, I  described some of those signs and symptoms, and talked about mental health first aid, a course that can equip you with the skills to identify mental health concerns early on and help people in need to take charge and get back on track more easily.

      [1] https://returntowork.workplace-mentalhealth.net.au/

      [2] https://mhfa.com.au/

      [3] Robert M. Sapolsky. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: An Updated Guide To Stress, Stress Related Diseases, and Coping. 3nd Rev Kindle, 2004. W. H. Freeman ASIN B0037NX018

      [4] https://www.pwc.com.au/about-us/insights/non-executive-directors/mental-health.html

      [5] https://www.businessfirstmagazine.com.au/finding-health-and-wellbeing-in-the-workplace/16285/

      [6] https://www.ihealthcareanalyst.com/government-initiatives-public-awareness-propel-preventive-health-care-technologies-services-market/

      Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

      Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

      Learn more here:

      Posted on

      E#162 The Link Between Stress and Mental Health Issues

      This episode is about the link between stress and mental health issues

      Mental illness is a significant global issue. If we want to take a preventative approach, we need to understand the factors that lead to mental health issues. 

      In any one year, 1 in 5 Australians is affected by diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health issues.

      Mental health is a global issue, having the third highest disease burden of all diseases in Australia and globally. The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that depression (in particular) will be the leading health concern in both developed and developing nations by 2030[1].

      In this episode, I’ll talk about 
      * What causes mental health issues?
      * How does stress affect mental health?
      * What we can do about mental health and stress

      We know that mental health issues affect a person’s thinking, emotional state and behaviour and disrupts their ability to work, carry out daily living activities and engage in healthy relationships. We also know that early, effective prevention or intervention programs maintain good mental health[2].

      In that sense, if we can understand the causes and etiology of mental health issues, we are better placed to reduce and manage them better.

      What Causes Mental Health Issues?

      If we are to intervene early and effectively to prevent mental health issues, where do we start?

      A logical place is the link between stress and mental health. There is overwhelming evidence that stress is a precursor to mental health issues and is tightly linked to mental health decline. Stress is also strongly related to depression[3].

      Since 15 – 45% of mental health issues are attributable to workplace conditions, understanding the workplace risk factors seems to be a logical next step[4].

      How Does Stress Affect Mental Health?

      One model of stress and ageing/disease suggests that an individual’s perception of stress and prolonged exposure to stress can change the brain, body and behaviour, all of which perpetuate a vicious cycle of excessive response, damage and poor recovery3.

      In the brain, an enlarged amygdala and diminished hippocampus are related to memory loss, reduced learning ability, and depression. The longer a person is highly or chronically stressed or depressed, the smaller their hippocampus gets.[5]

      In the body, elevated cortisol levels and a chronically active fight or flight response can cause symptoms such as elevated resting heart rate or blood pressure.

      A chronically stressed person may change their behaviour to help them cope or adapt[6]. Behaviour changes may include decreased exercise and sleep, increased smoking, changes to diet and reduced adherence to medication, all of which contribute to mental and physical health decline.

      In other words, an employee who faces stressors such as constant overwork, prolonged screen time, sedentary work behaviours, feeling pressure to work or respond to emails outside working hours, discrimination, bullying or harassment, constantly facing disgruntled customers or workers, or long/irregular working hours, is at risk of chronic stress, and both physical and mental health issues[7].

      The initial signs of mental health decline in the workforce may be subtle and therefore hard to detect at first, but over time will become more obvious in terms of health metrics and behaviour change.

      Workplace Impacts

      Chronic stress and mental health concerns in the workplace result in increased absenteeism, reduced contribution and participation, reduced productivity, reduced cohesiveness and cooperation and high staff turnover.

      There are concomitant increases in the cost of health services, insurance and supplementary employment benefits to the tune of $17.4bn per annum in Australia4.

      What We Can Do

      As a starting point, the hierarchy of control is a useful framework to identify and reduce stressors in the workplace, to reduce the risk and development of mental health issues.

      If workplaces can eliminate, substitute, or reduce exposure to stress and mental health hazards, provide protection and treat the negative impacts, then we may start to see mentally healthier, happier workplaces.

      But let’s go one step further.

      We all know that prevention is better than cure. From a preventive standpoint, workplace programs and initiatives that are proven to build employee resilience and improve individual stress responses will create a workforce where employees cope well, bounce back better, are happier and more productive in their roles.

      Summary

      Mental health issues are a global concern, and they have a significant impact on both quality of life and workplace productivity.

      An individual’s perception of stress and prolonged exposure to stress are key factors in the development of mental health issues, via changes in the brain, body and behaviour.

      We know that workplace conditions strongly linked to both chronic stress and the development of mental health issues. This provides us with a golden opportunity to get on the front foot by better-managing existing risks and by taking preventive action to improve resilience and create healthier, happier workplaces.

      [1] https://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/GBD_report_2004update_full.pdf?ua

      [2] https://mhfa.com.au/

      [3] Epel, S. et al., (2018). “More than a feeling: A unified view of stress measurement for population science,” Front Neuroendocrinol, vol. 49,   pp. 146-169, Apr 2018, doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2018.03.001.

      [4] Carter, L and Dr Stanford, J (2021). Investing in Better Mental Health in Australian Workplaces. The Australia Institute, Canberra, ACT.

      [5] Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain that Changes Itself. Scribe Publications, Melbourne, Australia.

      [6] Cohen S, Janicki-Deverts D, Miller GE (2007). Psychological Stress and Disease. JAMA. 2007;298(14):1685–1687. doi:10.1001/jama.298.14.1685

      [7] Johnson, a. et. al (2020) A review and agenda for examining how technology-driven changes at work will impact workplace mental health and employee wellbeing. Australian Journal of Management

      2020, Vol. 45(3) 402–424

      Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

      Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

      Learn more here:

      Posted on

      E#161 Sleep Hacking

      This episode is about sleep hacking

      Today I want to share a bit of my journey around sleep hacking to overcome insomnia.

      I’ve had insomnia for most of my life off and on, and for me there is a clear correlation with the amount of stress that’s going on in my life. But with the onset of perimenopause, that has ramped up and there are other things that are also causing insomnia such as night sweats and even certain things that I’ve eaten or drunk.

      So I’ve been on a mission to hack my sleep. 

      I’m going back to my roots.

      That is, biohacking is something I’ve done for many years, but I just haven’t spoken about it much in the last couple of years.

      Biohacking is where you make small tweaks to your daily habit to improve certain areas of your health or your life.

      In this episode, I’ll talk about 
      * What approach does one needs to take to remedy sleep?
      * What you can take to supplement your need to sleep?
      * What other factors affect our sleep?

      I want to share with you what I’ve been doing, what I’m doing next, and how it’s all working, so that you can get your own ideas for hacking sleep for yourself or perhaps for the clients that you’re working with. 

      Remember that everybody is different and has their own individual formula for improving sleep or any other area of well-being. So what’s working for me may not work for you, but it could be worth trying

      The approach you take to remedy sleep and the hacks you decide to use will depend on what’s causing your lack of sleep.

      Things changed

      My catalyst to get back into biohacking was the onset of perimenopause around 18 months ago, when a lot of things changed for me. 

      One of the first things I noticed was that my anxiety increased, and I developed insomnia again after many years without a hitch, and I had night sweats.

      Through self-observation, I realised these things were related and they tended to make each other worse. The more anxious I became the less I slept, and the less I slept the more prone to anxiety I was, and the worse my night sweats, the less I slept.

      Obviously none of these things are very good for mental well-being or productivity or health so I was motivated to experiment and make some changes. 

      Lack of sleep tends to make you grumpy, it tends to make you crave sweet foods, and to feel too lethargic to exercise.

      And all of that started happening to me.

      So here’s how I worked things out.

      Supplements

      I actually started the process of unpacking by experimenting with some supplements. The reason I started here is because it was the easiest and fastest way to effect change. 

      Firstly, I got back into a routine of taking a high grade multivitamin and mineral formulation that I have used on and off for years, because the research is clear that the more stress your body is under, the more that stress robs nutrients from your body (oxidative damage). 

      I won’t go into the complex biology in this episode and will save that for later.

      That was my baseline, and I also consulted a naturopath to get some specific supplements for my perimenopause symptoms. She gave me an Ashwaghanda formulation, a magnesium, vitamin B and zinc formula, and a herbal preparation to help with night sweats. 

      As a result, I got fairly rapid relief from stress to the point where I was able to sleep better, and I also felt calmer during the day. That took about three weeks.

      Before supplementing, I was waking up around five or six times at night with a hot flush that caused me to wake up and then stay awake. Falling asleep was not the issue, it was staying asleep, and particularly at that critical time of 1 to 3am. 

      After supplementing, my sleep was more regular, I had fewer flushes, and I was staying asleep better or more easily falling back to sleep.

      Stress – workload

      At the time all of this was going on, the pandemic hit and I had anticipated a downturn in workload through my contracting roles. As a result I decided to take on some new private clients running a pilot program. 

      What actually happened was that both of my contracting roles got a lot busier, so I was juggling too much busier contract roles in addition to my own clients. 

      The other thing was that with my own clients, it wasn’t a set and forget, rinse and repeat program that I had run before. It was developmental work and consideration to get what I was doing right. I believe that creativity is the opposite of stress. When you are feeling stressed and under pressure then your ability to think creatively is compromised.

      Also, going through menopause makes you realise that your capacity to do things is diminished. It’s a combination of brain fog, fatigue, and of course the insomnia and anxiety.

      That’s what happened to me. 

      So what I had to do was to reach out to my contract roles and talk about changing my roles, doing less of the detailed stuff that doesn’t light me up and which I find draining, and that took a load off.

      Switching off at 5 pm was also a critical part of this formula for me. 

      It was a hack that was well worth it. Switching off at 5 pm, I was finishing my screen time at that critical period around sunset where we want to decrease cortisol levels rather than keep them pumped up with artificial light.

      This helped me to wind down, reduce anxiety and sleep better.

      Before that, I was prone to catastrophizing and making everything seem worse or more urgent than it was.

      By lowering my workload and switching off earlier, I had time to unwind, relax and ‘de-focus’ so I could sleep better each night.

      I’ve since noticed that if I have to teach at night or if I watch an intense or scary movie, or read a thriller novel, it pushes up my anxiety levels enough that I go back to 1am wake ups.

      Food and Drink

      A bit of research and some experimenting on my own helped me to realise that certain things would trigger night sweats, or even hot flushes during the day. 

      For me these triggers included portion size, alcohol, sugar, or more than 2 cups of coffee per day.

      With portion size, I’ve worked out that if I eat after 7pm and/or if I have a meal that’s too big, I won’t fall asleep easily or stay asleep. I tend to sleep better if I’ve had a small serve of complex carbohydrate, plenty of veggies and lean protein for dinner. 

      Anything that’s salty, fatty, sugary or too starchy (like a risotto) will wake me up at an odd hour, either starving, with heartburn or thirsty.

      With alcohol, I have found that champagne, certain spicy spirits like cinnamon whisky, and some wines, will cause me to wake at 1 – 3am or to have night sweats. It seems related to the amount of sugar.

      Having one white wine with dinner, or a white spirit, seems to be ok. But regardless of the alcohol I drink, there is definitely a pattern of increased sweating and I wake at least twice per night with this and struggle to sleep again.

      I am still experimenting with sugar, but have found that evening chocolate or dessert might be a trigger for poor sleep, in the absence of alcohol, late work or other triggers. 

      It’s well known that when you are a bit depressed you crave carbs, and that is related to an increase in tryptophan and therefore serotonin which improves mood – in the absence of protein which can block this pathway. I have many more experiments ahead on this, so I’ll come back to you on it.

      With caffeine, I’ve worked out that I can have 1 – 2 espressos per day (I make mine with oat milk) and be ok and sleep well if I have them before 12pm.

      But, there are some exceptions to this rule. 

      If I’ve been awake since about 3 am and haven’t been able to get back to sleep, or if I am waking up tired and have two coffees on an empty stomach at a time when I have a lot of stress in my life, then those two coffees don’t help anything and I tend to have a peak and then a crash, followed by a jittery day and/or a restless or sleepless night.

      I remember one day waking up after having a terrible night sleep, where I perhaps only had three hours of sleep. I had coffee in the morning and I had a rocket fuel boost of energy followed by a big crash and I felt listless all day.

      What I’ve learned is that I have a tipping point for caffeine and I need to be careful not to cross the tipping point. If I am a bit fragile or tired or stressed and my capacity to cope with caffeine is lower and it has an amplified effect on anxiety, mood, sleep and energy levels.

      The optimum time to have caffeine is 60-90 minutes after waking or around 10am. The reason is that when you wake up in the morning your cortisol levels naturally increase in response to sunlight. If you inject caffeine into that equation then it prevents your body from creating its own natural energy at that time.

      Exercise

      I am yet to do any experimenting with exercise specifically – remember that good science means one thing at a time. 

      But for now, I wanted to say that I’ve always been somebody that likes exercising in the afternoon. As a personal trainer, I know that exercise done too late can be overstimulating and affect your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. 

      I will come back to you on this one.

      Summary

      At different stages of life, we experience hormonal and physiological changes that tilt your world on its axis.

      When that happens, what used to work for you in terms of your biology and physiology might change such that you need to revisit things.

      With the onset of menopause, I’ve started experimenting with my body – biohacking – to help me understand my triggers for insomnia and anxiety. 

      So far, I’ve worked out some important things about supplements, stress, and food and drink so I’m much more aware of nights that I AM sleeping well.

      The real benefit of this experimentation is that I am super clear on my own personal formula for a good night’s sleep. I am following my own coaching framework to figure this out. 

      Working with a coach can be so helpful because they can help you to work out what to experiment with, and to focus for a long enough period of time to uncover your blind spots and reveal your own secret formula for healthy sleep, weight loss, stress reduction or any other challenge that you’re facing.

      If you’re looking for a coach and need a referral, please reach out and let me know.

      Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

      Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

      Learn more here: