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30-Day Planning

How to create a foolproof 30-day plan to nail your goals

Have you ever sat down at your desk and wondered what you should be focussing on?

Have you ever felt overwhelmed and struggled to work out how to tackle your to-do list?

Or have you ever snoozed the same task, week after week, because you weren’t ‘in the mood’, or weren’t sure exactly what you needed to do?

These are symptoms of an ineffective plan, and they can leave you feeling frustrated, daunted and ready to vacuum the spare bedroom to within an inch of its life.

A lot of my clients struggle with planning and I have also been there myself.

Yet, plans are important because they are our instruction manuals for work and life. Plans give us a framework and a step-by-step process to achieve the specific results we want.

I used to think I was good at planning, but I realised I was kidding myself.

So, having decided to get off that train to nowhere, I created a foolproof 30-day plan so I could start being more productive and focused, and finally finish work on time.

Now I get more things done AND have energy and motivation left over for the rest of my life!

This article shows you how to use a simple 30-day plan to conquer your world – whether that means saving $500, losing 5kg, getting 10 new clients or consistently exercising 4 days per week.

Why a 30-day plan?

Have you ever wondered how to make a plan that actually delivers the results you want?

Plans usually fail because they’re too big or multifaceted. You might be highly capable, but that doesn’t mean that you can do everything at once.

To get off that treadmill of unfulfilled expectations, you need two things – focus and specificity.

A 30-day plan gives you this.

A short time frame like 30 days makes you focus on realistically completing just one or two things. With a simple and focused plan, you will feel a massive sense of relief – and enthusiasm to start.

Now, here’s how to get started on a foolproof 30-day plan.

Getting in the Mood

Speaking of enthusiasm, planning requires creative thinking so you can work out all the nuances and get the timing and actions right.

Stress closes down creative thinking, so I recommend spending about 10 minutes before you plan to become relaxed, calm, positive and open to ideas.

You could create a pre-planning ritual like exercise, a walk, reading a book, listening to an inspiring podcast, listening to music, standing in the garden or meditating.

Experiment to see what works best.

Creating your 30-day plan

The 30-day planning process is actually pretty simple. Here are the steps.

1. Define one simple, specific outcome

Start by choosing ONE simple and specific result or outcome to achieve within 30 days.

If your end goal is too big or too vague, it’s hard to identify the action steps you need to take to get there, and ….oh, the kitchen floor needs sweeping.

Some examples of simple, specific outcomes are:

  • Earn $500 in your business in the next 30 days
  • Lose 3kg in the next 30 days
  • Publish the home page for my website in the next 30 days.

2. Brainstorm the action steps and allocate time

Being specific is especially important if you lack experience or knowledge in the area you’re choosing to focus on.

Let’s say you want to build a basic website, but you’ve never done it before.

This is the kind of goal that could end up getting snoozed for the next 40 weeks in your calendar, because you don’t know what to do or how to start.

  • Handy hint: overwhelm usually means there are too many things or too many unknowns.

The way to get clarity is to brainstorm all the steps involved to reaching the goal.

This means chunking down the outcome into the smallest tasks possible, then allocating an estimate of time required to complete each step.

Here’s a sample brainstorm of specific tasks to build a basic website for an absolute beginner.

Notice the specificity in each task (e.g. number of people) and the time you allow for each task:

  • Ask 3 IT pros which platforms they think are best (friends aren’t necessarily experts; 1 hour)
  • Research the main steps to getting a domain name (30 minutes)
  • Decide on the platform, hosting and domain name and purchase (15 minutes)
  • Follow the tutorial videos for setting up the site (1 hour)
  • Review text on 3 competitors’ website for ideas (30 minutes)
  • Review notes from ideal clients to pull out pain point and vision words (1 hour)
  • Watch a ‘how to write home page copy’ tutorial (30 minutes)
  • Write some text for the home page (1 hour)
  • Reflect on who you are; strengths, personality traits, vision, do some quizzes (1 hour)
  • Write some text for the about me page (1 hour)
  • Write some text to describe your services (1 hour)
  • Follow a tutorial to load the text onto those pages (30 minutes)
  • Research images sizes required (30 minutes)
  • Upload images to the web pages (30 minutes)

If you get stuck with the brainstorming, ask yourself some logical questions like ‘what would I need to start with?’ or ‘who could I ask?’ or even ‘what would be the next logical step?’

As you can see, brainstorming allows you to see how much work is involved in achieving the goal.

Then, you can more easily decide whether to hire someone instead, or DIY.

You can identify any sticking points that indicate you lack knowledge.

You have clear time frames for completing tasks to avoid dithering and create focus.

With a list of specific tasks and estimated times in hand, you can also work out how realistic and achievable your 30-day goal is and can scale it back if necessary.

For example, you might decide that building a basic website in 30 days is totally unrealistic, so you could scale the goal back to simply choosing the platform, hosting and a domain name instead.

Imagine how good you’d feel if the steps were clear and you felt could actually achieve the end goal?

The truth is, you want to feel excited, motivated to start, and to enjoy the feeling of achievement just as much as you want the outcome.

This brainstorming exercise is how you get all of it.

3. Work out how to measure progress

With a list of tasks in place, you’re ready to make sure they’re all in a logical order.

Then, you can come up with some milestone outcomes and dates so you can check that you’re on track as you go.

For the website example, it might be:

  • Hosting and domain completed by 6th August
  • Competitor research and tutorials completed by 12th August
  • Text written by 21st August
  • Pages uploaded with images by 30th

Checking progress allows you to deal with any obstacles or sticking points so that you can problem solve, change course or get help.

After all, you’re not getting married to the original plan.

To succeed, you need to be agile enough to make changes to your outcome and next stages if it makes sense.

If a milestone event is missed, you can either flop onto the couch in a huff, or you can ask a question such as ‘what can I do to get past this?’

Then you can work out a more realistic end date, get help or change the rest of your plan so that you still win in the end, anyway.

4. Check your excitement levels

Detail can be an energy robber and if you’re learning something from scratch, there are often more micro steps and mistakes ahead than you first realise which can be a bit daunting.

Know that this is ahead and decide how you will handle those feelings. A thought-model is a good start.

But if the overall goal seems awful or unexciting, or is something that fills you with dread, you will probably give in.

I’d suggest altering the goal or choosing something different.

5. Schedule it in

With all that said and done, it’s time to make it happen.

You schedule your action steps into your diary, with only one task per day and plenty of time either side.

For tasks that require creativity, such as writing, make sure you schedule them when you will have the most head space and energy to do them.

For unknowns allow extra time – up to 100% more.

Leave white space in your diary to accommodate overruns in time.

Thatʼs the whole process of preparing, drafting and scheduling your 30-day plan.

Give it a go, see what you learn!

It gets easier with practice and you will start kicking more goals and get more actually achieved, than you ever thought possible.

What if you had a plan for the next 5 years?

Pop your details in below for immediate access to the full 5 year plan workbook training which includes the 30 day plan process

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Overcome Negative Thinking

A lot of my Wellness Coaching clients want to stop negative thoughts, because they are feeling overwhelmed and want to learn how to be more positive.

So I’ve written this article to share the simple tools and tips that have worked for hundreds my clients to create more positive and healthy thoughts.

You’ll learn:

  • why we have negative thoughts,
  • whether you’re a glass-half-full or -empty person (take the quiz!), and finally
  • how to rewire your brain, so you can calm down and start being more positive.

To help you start taking action, I’ve listed the 10 most powerful tools you can use to neutralise or stop negative thoughts and start cultivating more positive thoughts.

Startling Facts About Our Thoughts

My fact-finding mission revealed some crazy and startling facts about our thoughts:

Our brains are busy:

  • we have 50000-70000 thoughts per day (Bruce Davis, PhD, Huffington Post online) – that’s 35 – 48 per minute!

Our brains are predictable:

  • around 98% of our thoughts are the same each day. Our brains like operating efficiently, on low power. This is why we form and follow habits.

Our brains run mostly on autopilot:

  • about 95% of our thoughts, decisions, emotions and behaviours are unconscious (Marianne Szegedy-Maszak, Auburn University

Our brains are wired to the negative:

  • Up to 70% of our mental chatter – our thoughts – are negative (Psychology Today online).

So, how many negative thoughts do you have per day? About 42,000 – or 29 per minute.

Cognitive researcher Nancy Etcoff says that most of us have the ability to catch and re-focus our negative thoughts and make them more positive.

But some of us are in an entrenched habit of ‘throwing more logs on the fire’ and this can affect our happiness, health and wellbeing.

So let’s ask the $100,000 question – if it feels bad, then WHY do we do it?

The positives of negative thinking

  • The first positive is that it helps us to identify threats to our survival and keeps us safe.

Back in the day it saved us from wild animals.

These days, it means we’re on alert and we more easily notice negative words, images, situations, conflict, atrocities and people to be wary or mistrustful of – including ourselves.

  • The second positive of negative thinking is that it teaches us self-compassion, empathy, appreciation and gratitude when things go well. It makes the bright side brighter.

Your Natural Wiring

Cognitive researcher Nancy Etcoff says that we are all wired slightly differently.

Some of us are glass-half-full people, while some of us are glass-half empty people.

Your personal wiring is influenced by:

  • genetics (50%),
  • your environment (30%) and
  • other things you can control (20%)

In other words, you have control of 20 – 50% of the things that influence your natural wiring.

Etcoff also says that your natural drive to seek happiness is affected by how you respond to stress, so this is also something to work on.

How are you wired?

Take this quick quiz and find out or download this worksheet.

For each pair of statements, pick the ONE statement that best describes you – A or B.

Q1 – Thoughts

  1. I tend to notice roadblocks, challenges, obstacles and what’s wrong in life
  2. I tend to be amped up and see the positives in life and the good in people

Q2 – Language

  1. I tend to talk about things I don’t want or want to give up, cut out, restrict or get rid of
  2. I tend to talk about the things I want, love, need and truly desire

Q3 – Feelings

  1. I often feel judged or criticised by other people, based on their words or body language
  2. I don’t notice how other people act around me, or think about what they might imply

Q4 – Actions

  1. I often use food, alcohol, shopping or other tools to shut down my negative thoughts
  2. I often use journaling, coaching, reflection, meditation, yoga, walking, being with nature or connection to redirect my negative thoughts.

For the first three questions:

  • mostly A’s means you might be more of a glass half empty person.
  • mostly B’s means you might be more of a glass half full person.

For the last question:

  • if you answered A (using unhealthy tools) – it means you might lack self-awareness or the skills to change your negative thinking on your own.
  • if you answered B – that you use healthy tools – it means you have the skills to redirect your thinking most of the time.

If you’re one of my self-coaching students, your workbook for this topic has a few extra questions to give you a bit more clarity around how you’re wired.

Why Else Do Your Thoughts Matter?

All that said and done, your thoughts matter because your thoughts and beliefs are what create your feelings.

Following on from that, your feelings dictate how you act, and therefore the results you get in life.

On top of that, the way you respond to stress determines how well you bounce back from negative thinking and get back on your game.

So if you want to learn how to calm down and start being more positive and happy, your best approach is to:

  • learn how to change your thinking and
  • actively build resilience.

After all, the one thing you CAN control in life is what you choose to think.

How often should you work on rewiring your brain?

Positive Psychology researcher Barbara Fredrickson gives us some clues in her book, Positivity.

She says that we need at least 3 – 5 positives to outweigh each negative thought or feeling we experience each day.

The number of positives we need is higher when the negatives are experienced in a relationship with another person.

Based on that, I think it’s fair to say that:

  • a daily thought-rewiring practice of at least 10 minutes is a good start (‘housekeeping’), and
  • you’ll get better results if you do resilience-building activities for at least 60 minutes per week (‘preventative’).

The 10 most powerful tools to rewire your thinking and build resilience

Best Ways to Rewire Your Thinking

1) Affirmations and Inspirational quotes

When it comes to affirmations, I personally think it’s important to create your own positive affirmations using words that are meaningful to you.

That’s because part of your learning is becoming skilled at developing your own believable, authentic, meaningful and relevant thoughts and statements.

I believe it will help you to rewire your brain quickly and more easily if you choose your own words.

2) Clean up your environment

Your surroundings have a huge and largely subconscious effect on your thoughts and feelings. We are intrinsically wired to respond subconsciously to the people and things around us.

That’s why Marketing Psychology is an industry – it’s about using sights, sounds and words to appeal to our inner decision-maker.

The important thing is that we can change our environment to trigger more positive and helpful thoughts and feelings, and avoid environments that are unhelpful.

I recommend you start with an audit of your work-space, bedroom or main living areas.

What are the sounds, colours, clutter or objects that support positive thoughts, or create negative thoughts? Identify them and make a plan to change.

Consider what you wear and your personal grooming. How do those things make you feel? What works, and what needs to change?

I know that having a shower or putting on stylish clothing makes me feel great. 

Having a good hair day makes me feel way better than having a bad hair day. 

And so on.

Look at your media diet. Where are the negative influences coming in? How many positive podcasts, books or magazines are you exposing yourself to?

I feel fantastic when I listen to inspiring podcasts, and anxious when I go near email and social media, or read the news.

For me the decision is simple – get rid of the negatives and connect with the positives.

Your environment potentially influences up to 30% of your wiring, according to Nancy Etcoff. That’s a big chunk of your mood and it’s something you can change.

3) Using a thought-change model like ABCDE, or Brooke Castillo’s CTFAR

A subtle but extremely powerful exercise is spending just 10 minutes rewiring your thoughts in writing.

Follow this 3-step process to get started simply and easily:

  • At the end of the day, write down one negative thought that came up for you
  • Then, write an alternative thought statement – neutral or positive
  • Make sure the new statement is something you feel you believe

This exercise it will plug this into the GPS part of your brain as a new instruction.  Like brushing your teeth each day, the result will be a powerful shift in your thinking habits.

4) Self-coaching, gratitude or appreciation journaling

This is another writing exercise, because writing and seeing what you wrote has the most impact on your brain wiring.

Writing down three successes, achievements, things you are grateful for or that you appreciate helps bring an intentional, positive perspective to counteract your automatic negative thinking.

Try it and you’ll see the difference.

5) Make plans for fun

When you feel overwhelmed it means you are lost in a spaghetti bolognaise of intangible thoughts and have no concrete direction or clarity on what to do next.

The simplest thing you can do is make a short list of things you can take control of or do within the next 24 hours. Like washing the dishes, or folding the tea towels.

Even better, make a longer-term plan for a wonderful holiday break, or to attend an event, or to meet up with a friend. The good feelings will flood in immediately and help you to calm down in that moment, so you can function again.

Best Ways to Build Resilience

1) Plan Your Time, Schedule Everything

Overwhelm is when we have seemingly so many things to do and no clear path to complete them. 

It happens because most of us have no plans, or inadequate detail in our plans, and/or unrealistic expectations.

The first step is to break down a bigger task (like building a website) into the many small tasks that are involved.

The second step is to schedule each sub-task or any small tasks into your calendar.

Three important master planning principles are:

Keep it keen (stay on track):

  • At the start of each month, allow an hour to make a detailed plan
  • At the start of each week, briefly review and tweak your plan if necessary.

Keep it lean (focused and clear):

  • Write each task in an explicit, specific way in your schedule
  • Aim to finish ONE task per day and you’ll always feel like you’re winning
  • Some tasks may become redundant or are irrelevant: delete or delegate them

Keep it clean (simple and achievable)

  • Leave plenty of white space in your diary to account for inevitable delays.
  • New tasks always take longer than planned – allow perhaps 50% extra time

2) Meditate – passive or active

Creating quiet time for your brain is a must. Meditation is a great tool for this, and you can create the version that works best for you.

It could be sitting and meditating quietly or with music or a guided track. There are some free apps like Headspace that can guide you through it.

It could be walking in nature, swimming, surfing, fishing or having a warm bath, or listening to music. You get to decide.

Just 10 minutes (as relevant to the activity) is an achievable start. Focus on being in the moment and sitting with the thoughts, or doing the movement, nothing else.

3) Schedule time off

Relentless work, chores and responsibilities wear us all down like soap on a rope.

Being pro-active and planning weekend breaks (even if just a no-chores weekend, with some different activities) is essential down time.

Consider what sort of time off is most energizing for you; when does it happen, how often, and what are you doing?

4) Say no, delegate, delete

Often, we have so many responsibilities because our default position is YES.

I have often realised I didn’t mean to say yes. I meant to check my schedule first and see. I meant to think about how much time that would take, how much energy I would realistically have, and whether I could really do what I said I would.

Thought watching is the first step to noticing those automatic yeses. Then, practice pausing for a moment and asking yourself three questions:

  1. Do I have the energy for this?
  2. Do I have the time for this?
  3. How do I feel about committing to this?

If you get a negative answer for any of these, reconsider what you can commit or what the other options might be.

5) Breathe

Negative thinking is exhausting, and partly because it creates a stress response that can lead to fast, shallow mouth breathing.

That type of breathing is an energy drain!

A quick way to calm down and feel more stable is to follow Dr Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing exercise which is summarised here as:

  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.
  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a count of four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
  • Do this a total of four times.

This in itself is a type of meditation!

How to Stop Negative Thoughts - Create a Practice

It’s great to know all of these things, but tools for change are only be effective when you use them.

And if you’ve been an expert in negative thinking for 30+ years, it’s going to take some time to work that out of your memory banks.

Remember that your biology drives you to seek the negative and it does this unconsciously, roughly 35,000 times per day.

While this is a behind-the-scenes occurrence, you need to counteract it with some good stuff.

Think of it as cleaning your mind, working in, or taking control.

Creating a practice achieves all these things.

I recommend choosing one or two of the activities above and scheduling them into your calendar, maybe once or twice, and exploring how it makes you feel.

If it feels good, do it again!

If it has no noticeable effect, choose something else.

Pick just one timeslot to start experimenting and working toward the new you.

After 30 consistent days, I know you will notice a difference.

Expected Results

If you commit to experimenting and creating a practice, building up to at least 3 times per week, you will see these sorts of results:

  • You’ll have fewer negative thoughts
  • Your negative thoughts will be less intense, less severe or less draining
  • You will start feeling calmer, less irritated or frustrated
  • You will feel less reactive and more in control.

You will also enjoy:

  • more positive thoughts and feelings
  • more moments of freedom, relaxation and joy
  • a sense of relief
  • feelings of calmness and wellbeing.

Small things can create big results.

I invite you to try, experiment, and work out what’s best for you.

If you would like to explore a framework and system to manage your thinking, that’s part of what we cover in my monthly Habitology Membership – where you learn to develop and stick to the habits of a calmer, happier and more fulfilling life.

You can learn more here.

References

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The Power of a Vision

One easy way to create positivity in your life is to develop a vision of what you’d like your life, business or health to be like.

When you write a vision, it plugs the outcome you truly desire into your brain’s GPS, so it can automatically start filtering in all the tools and resources you need to achieve it.

This article shows you exactly how to create a powerful, motivating vision that will help you to the become the person you want to be and the powerful results you want to achieve.

You’ll learn:

  • why visions are crucial to achieving goals
  • a step-by-step process to create a motivating vision that will help you get results
  • the difference between business and personal visions and how to get each one right.

To help you take action, I’ve included a free vision worksheet that you can use to flesh out your vision and get it right.

What is a Vision

You’ve probably heard of visions, vision boarding and creating a vision.

Yet so many people still don’t realise the power of a vision and how essential it is for you to get what you want in life.

Visions are linked with positivity and achieving goals.

But why else are they important?

Here are three reasons.

  1. They help you clearly define what you want to achieve

As a coach, most of my clients come to see me because they lack direction and clarity.

They aren’t clear on what they truly want, why or how they’re going to get it.

And when you aren’t sure where you’re going, it’s hard to see the path to get there. You might be fearful of what’s ahead if you step into the future without a clear plan of attack.

I love the analogy of holiday.

If you pick a destination, then you can start making plans, work out when you need to do each step, and whether to pack a bikini or a fur coat.

As you can see, a vision allows you to see and create the steps to get there.

  1. A well-written vision gets you excited and motivated to achieve the end goal.

Most people think that motivation is their #1 problem and that it’s the reason they can’t change. Never mind about having to learn skills or make plans!

You already know that visions can create clarity.

But they are also powerful motivators – IF you get the language right.

People often create visions around things they think they ‘should’ be aiming for, for what is expected of them – or talk about things they don’t want to do anymore.

For example – I want to stop being so stressed and anxious.

On the surface that sounds like a legitimate thing to want, BUT the problem is that it doesn’t define what you desire – so your brain can’t latch onto any happy, positive and motivating end point.

Inspiring vision statements are motivating, and you create them by using words that you find appealing, exciting and which talk about what you truly desire.

For example – I want to feel happy, calm and contented, at peace with everything.

See the different feeling this creates, compared with the first example?

  1. Visions are so important at the biological level.

There is a part of your brain called the reticular activating system (RAS) and it is your brain’s GPS.

You plug the destination into your brain, and then your subconscious mind works out how to get you there, by finding signals and opportunities to do so.

Here’s an example – think of the last time you were looking at new cars.

You had your eye on one particular model of car.

Then suddenly, you started seeing them everywhere. That’s your RAS in action!

The RAS also controls our belief system and it will only recognise or select the information that supports our beliefs.

Once you plug something into your GPS our brain will selectively filter the information around you and only identify and keep what’s relevant.

In other words your belief system will determine whether your RAS will work for you or against you.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow said it best in 1966 with his Law of the Hammer – “if all you have a hammer, then everything looks like a nail.”

At this point I want to mention a great book that describes this in more detail – it’s called the Answer by Australian authors Allan and Barbara Pease, published in 2016.

Just to recap what we’ve covered so far:

  • Visions help you clearly define what you want to achieve
  • Visions help you create the motivation and excitement you need to reach your goals.
  • For visions to work, they must use positive language to describe what you truly want.

Do these three things and you’ll harness the power of your vision.

Three Steps to Create Your Powerful Vision

  1. Specify exactly what you want – this is end goal or result.

Even if you haven’t ever achieved this before, you need to paint a picture in your mind of what it looks, feels and sounds like.

This plugs lots of important cues into your RAS so your brain can filter in the steps to help you get there.

  1. Back up your what with a why – the deepest and most meaningful reasons behind the result you want.

Two common mistakes are not identifying the why, or, not going deep enough with the why.

The more meaningful your whys are and the more strongly its connected with your personal values, the more likely you will achieve your vision.

A useful exercise can be the 5 why’s which aims to peel off the layers and get to the root cause.

For example – one of my weight coaching clients says she wants to lose 10kg.

Her first why is because she hates what she sees in the mirror. Notice the language? She needs to dig deeper to find the positive, desired outcomes and values.

To find her second why, I asked, ‘what’s a positive reason to lose 10kg?’ So I can wear all the beautiful clothes in my wardrobe.

To find her third why, I asked, ‘what would happen if you could wear all those clothes?’      I would feel more confident about going out in public and socialising.

To find her fourth why, I asked, ‘and then what might happen?’ I could to make some friends because I want to have more fun in life.’

To find her fifth why I asked, ‘imagine you are having that fun with friends regularly each week, socialising, laughing and getting out more. Why is that so important?’  

Then we get to the heart of the matter – ‘because I want to be more active like I used to be because back then, I felt so alive, confident, powerful and courageous.’

See how compelling that last reason is?

The thought of losing weight to get away from the horrible image in the mirror is way less motivating that wanting to feel so alive, confident, powerful and courageous.

  1. Step 3 – put a timeframe on it so you can define a foolproof action plan to get there.

Normally, 6 – 12 months is a good amount of time to achieve an outcome; it’s close enough to stay motivated, but far enough that you can make enough change to get there.

You might want to reality check your time line with a friend or coach and make sure it’s realistic and achievable.

Three Steps to Create Your Powerful Vision

 There are lots of different types of visions let’s compare a personal vision and a business vision.

How to Write a Personal Vision Statement

You need to start by picking just one or two priority areas to focus on.

If you pile everything into your vision it will seem overwhelming, unbelievable and therefore unachievable.

A wellbeing questionnaire or a wheel of life are useful tools to help you find your priority area. Keep it simple and clear.

Then, you define your what like I described above – exactly, specifically, what does your desired success look and feel like in that area?

You write down the what, starting with ‘I am’.

For example; if your priority area was physical fitness, your ‘what’ might be “In six months’ time, I am fit, strong and running regularly.”

Notice the positive language used.

Next, you define your why – what would achieving that bring to your life?

You could follow the 5 why process I mentioned to get down to the nitty gritty of your core values and most meaningful motivators.

You write that down after the what, starting with ‘so that I …..’

Using the last example, “I am fit, strong and running regularly…”

…So that I can create more energy each day, be more positive and feel more confident and capable about myself as a person”

A well-written vision statement, when read aloud, has two traits:

  • It makes you feel motivated, inspired, hopeful, even excited and energized.  
  • It is realistic – you totally believe it is possible with the right education and/or support.

Make sure you tick those two boxes, otherwise, go back and explore your what and why to

Creating a Business Vision

A business vision is a vivid mental image of what your business looks like when it is profitable, successful and thriving – and why it exists in the first place.

It describes what success looks like, and the why often includes the ethos or core values behind it.  And it’s often much shorter than a personal vision statement, because it might be something you put out in public.

You might decide to have an internal business vision that only you see, and a more public one, to help attract clients to your ‘why’.

When you choose a time frame for a business vision, think about where you are right now in your business and what feels best for you.

Some people prefer a shorter time frame like 12 months as it seems more achievable, others prefer a longer time frame like 3 years because they are more inspired by the end result.

There’s no right or wrong, choose what feels most exciting and inspiring to you.

In terms of defining your what; business visions generally focus on a few key areas – income, fame, to be the best at something, a particular type of clients you want to help, one main problem you want to help solve.

Also, there may also be guilt associated with the money side of things.

Let’s first clearly state that every business exists to generate income. Otherwise it’s a charity, or a hobby. You need to be 100% clear on this.

Imagine you just walked into the door of your office and looked around. What is the result your business is creating?

Here’s an example – My business helps people to break free from social anxiety.

Here’s another – My business helps people to create a strong, healthy and powerful body.

Or another – My business helps self-conscious women to find their inner beauty.

The why in your business is the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning and allows you to persist with the business no matter what.

You need to have compelling, meaningful, authentic and non-negotiable reasons to start and run a business.

To find your business why, ask yourself:

What is my compelling reason to start this business no matter what?

Think about the soapbox you like to stand on. Think about the causes you stand for. Think about why it’s so important to help a certain type of person.

Maybe you’ve been there yourself and you feel compelled to help other people achieve what you have so they can have a better-quality life.

Here are some examples, using the what statements I just read out.

My business helps people to break free from social anxiety so that they can find the courage to develop strong connections with the people around them and as a result, have more fulfilling careers.

My business helps people to create a strong, healthy and powerful body so that they can be fit and healthy as they age and be authentic role models to their kids.

My business helps self-conscious women to find their inner beauty so that they can feel better in their own skin, happier, more confident in the world and finally achieve their dreams.

There is SO MUCH energy in those statements.

In Summary

Let’s recap what we covered in this article.

  1. Visions are important for two reasons:
  • To get clear on what you want
  • To get the momentum, excitement and motivation to pursue the goal
  • It’s important to use positive language to define your deepest desire.

Your brain – the reticular activating system – is like a GPS for your body. Whatever you plug in there creates the filtering and instructions for what to do next.

  1. There are three steps to creating a vision statement:
  • Focus on one area
  • Define your what, written as ‘I am’, then
  • Define your why, and write it as “so that I …”

Remember to ask yourself why at least 5 times, in a few different ways, to get to your most powerful values and motivators.

Finally, when you read your vision out, you can check you’ve done it correctly:

  • Check that it energizes, excites and motivates you
  • Check that it feels realistic, totally possible and believable.  
  1. Write your business or personal vision with a slightly different approach
  • Focus on one area (personal) or on the overarching purpose (business)
  • Get in touch with your why (personal) or your soapbox (business)
  • Write out the what and why
  • Check that it feels right – exciting and absolutely do-able.

Then you’re ready to plan the path to your next success in life.

Check out this free vision worksheet to help you get started!

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How to Get Whelmed – an Update

How to Get Whelmed | Melanie J White

In my last post, I talked about being whelmed this year.

That is, overwhelmed, not underwhelmed – just whelmed.

It’s a bit like the story of the three bears and their porridge. Remember in that story, it was all about temperature control and to be patient instead of rushing into hot food.

There’s nothing worse than a hot porridge blister.

But as usual, I digress. Back to being whelmed.

I wanted to share a progress update with you.

One of the secrets to being whelmed is to maintain focus and avoid distraction. That’s because overwhelm partly comes from losing focus and allowing yourself to be distracted.

Next comes procrastination, irritation and then stagnation. Probably some other ‘ations’, too.

The other part of losing focus is over committing because you think you can do it all, have it all and be it all. Or because you think you ‘should.’ Sorry, I tried those lines of thinking (repeatedly, like a good scientist) but they didn’t actually work.

What DOES work is a practice of creating focus, which keeps you FAR from distraction.

Here’s how you get whelmed (the step-by-step process).

1. Write down all your shoulds, especially the guilt-laden ones.

Write them like this: “I should vacuum the stairs.” “I should get this page written by 5pm” etc

 

2. Change the s in should, to a c for could. Now, instead of a bunch of futile rules, you have created the opportunity to be more discerning within your time and energy.

Like this: “Hmmm, I COULD do the vacuuming….but then I won’t get that page written.” I bet you can see where this is going. You are trimming your to-do list and making it more realistic.

 

3. Split your list of coulds into this week and next week based on urgency. Now you are spreading the load and diminishing the pressure.

At this point you might feel a little scared….like you aren’t doing enough. That’s ok, sit with the feeling for a few moments and let it pass.

 

4. Make sure you have no more than 10 hours worth of tasks for this week.

I know, right? Way too underachiever. Wrong! Stick with me on this.

 

5. Spread those 10 hours into discrete slots in your calendar and 1 hour units.

Yes, even split up a 4-hour task this way. Put 15 minute breaks between each contiguous hour of work.

 

6. Consider the worst case scenario.

Every task you allocated takes 3 or 4 times longer than planned. In this case, you meet your tasks for the week in 30-40 hours.

 

7. Consider the best case scenario

You meet your goals and get it all done extremely efficiently. In this case, you have STILL met target but with time to spare. Yay!

 

This is where whelm sits.

Notice that in either case (6. or 7.) you get the same amount of work done. You win either way.

And THAT is the secret to achieving whelm – it’s about planning and reflecting so you can set yourself up for success, no matter what.

Try this step-by-step process and let me know how you go!

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Getting Whelmed

getting whelmed

Are you starting the year with a bang? With gusto? With a huge rev up? Or, are you planning on getting whelmed this year, like me?

Being an Entrepreneur

Lately I’ve been thinking that the definition of an entrepreneur is this:

You’re someone who can’t stand to work for someone else and just wants the freedom and flexibility to march to the beat of their own drum, and write their own rules.

Still, being an entrepreneur means you take the entire responsibility for everything in your business.

That means you are the face of your business, you are IT, and you have to generate your own momentum, schedule, energy, gusto and enthusiasm.

Which is all great stuff, but you can find yourself in a bit of an energy crisis at times.

Getting Excited….and Overwhelmed

Once upon a time, I would be geeing myself up at this time of year, creating massive energy and excitement, planning, and firing myself up to work relentlessly like a trojan for the next 12 months.

It’s a great way to start the year and it feels really positive.

In this state, I am able to crank out HEAPS of work, produce HEAPS of stuff, and keep my finger in 100 different pies at once.

People say to me, “I wish I could be as productive as you.”

“I wish I could get as much done as you.”

“I wish I could work and achieve as much as you do.”

Thanks everyone!

But when I realised this praise didn’t really resonate with me, I had to question why.

The answer I got was this: “Is THIS what I want to be known for? Getting heaps done at a rapid pace?”

Thinking about that made me feel kinda tired.

And the reason is this – working this way starts well, but it ends up exhausting and overwhelming.

You start on a big hype, get heaps done but you just cant sustain it.

You struggle to maintain that level of energy and quickly go from peak to trough.

Then nothing gets done for a while.

Then you just assume you’ve failed or done something wrong, or are missing something.

Then you might start comparing yourself to others and saying….”I wish I could get as much done as her.”

OH NO! We’re ALL in this together! ha ha ha.

But…what if this weren’t true, and we didn’t have to work this way?

Sure, starting super high feels energizing at first, but it invariably means you end up feeling panicked, overworked and overwhelmed.

Then comes the anxiety and insomnia.

I DON’T want to work like that anymore. Do you?

Plan B – Getting Whelmed

Maybe you want to join me in getting whelmed.

Getting whelmed is my plan for 2018.

I coined this term, and it simply means that I am working:

  • mostly on important but not urgent stuff,
  • intentionally,
  • in pomodoro
  • on purpose,
  • with balance and ease,
  • with calmness,
  • in a well-organised way,
  • making well-thought plans,
  • with clear focus
  • with direction on where my business is going and what I am doing in my life.

 

In other words, I am mindful, calm and productive.

 

It isn’t as exciting as the excitement, BUT…

I am working consistently.

And in business, consistency gets results.

 

So yes, excitement is great (and I do get excited)….but consistent energy, focus and motivation is better.

I am winning.

 

The Payoff

In this calm, consistent, getting whelmed state of mind, I find that I am laser focused, productive, leap over roadblocks, feel balanced and I am totally in command of myself.

I am getting shit done (GSD) – much more than in at the start of my rollercoaster.

The #1 Trick to Getting it Right

Working this way is also 100% sustainable because I have help.

Sure, you can absolutely get gung-ho and ramp yourself up for a big year and do it all yourself.

But trust me, the chance that you’ll crash and burn (at least once) is pretty high.

So I highly recommend you get some support.

I have my own coach, and I have other peers and mentors in my life to help me with specific areas of business when I need it.

As an entrepreneur living in country NSW, with few like-minded entrepreneurs around me, I know that I need support and connection to maintain momentum, headspace and confidence in my business AND in my life.

Now, I have people to bounce ideas off (so I don’t go off onto a mad, frivolous tangent).

I have people to reflect with (to get different perspective).

I have tools and support to make worthwhile, high-return plans.

I have the aura of calmness and having it all together (which as we know is the key ingredient for being a super-attractive client magnet and person of interest).

I have the energy to enjoy my personal life.

Now you know what getting whelmed is all about….will you join me?

What will you do to get there?

 

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The Four Tendencies – Obligers in Business

Four Tendencies Obligers in Business

Four Tendencies Obligers in Business

Before you read this post about Obligers in business – check out this quiz and Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Four Tendencies which will describe the principles I’m discussing.

The Four Tendencies tell a LOT about how you operate in the world – and in your business.

Obligers make up the largest percentage of the population, so it’s worth looking at how to optimise your business as an Obliger business owner, and to understand your Obliger customers.

This is the second article in a series of four – here’s the first article, about Questioners.

This blog outlines what makes Obligers tick, and how they can get the best out of this tendency when running their business.

The Obliger

Let’s start with an overview of the type.

Gretchen defines an Obliger as someone who:

“accepts outside rules, but doesn’t like to adopt self-imposed rules.”

In a nutshell, this is the person lives to please, support and help other people – usually at their own expense.

The Obliger may lack confidence in themselves, or may simply place a higher value on helping other people or meeting their responsibilities to others, ahead of their own needs and wants.

Obligers are externally-motivated, so they are driven to do, purchase or engage in something based on what other people think, or want them to do.

They often operate from a position of serving others and wanting to be liked, and/or appreciated.

They are (usually) not very accountable to themselves because they put others first.

They feel that in business, good service and low pricing are the most important things.

Does this sound like you, or someone you know?

The Obligers’ downfall is that they may give too much of themselves, until one day they snap and lash out (in their own gentle way).

Obligers in Business

Effective Relationship Builders

My opinion is that Obligers are usually very successful in building connection within customers, suppliers, partners and staff their business.

That’s because Obligers usually get a whiff of someone else’s unrest or pain before that person even realises they’re suffering.

Then, they reaches out with compassion, a soothing voice and the offer of help so that the recipient feels better.

This means that the people who work with Obligers feel supported, valued, trusted and nurtured.

But things may not go smoothly for all Obligers.

Because they give so much of their time and energy to others, Obligers often find themselves working long hours for little money, and with no time for themselves – overwhelmed and anxious.

And then there is the breaking point – Obliger Rebellion.

Obliger Rebellion

The thing with Obligers is that they eventually get fed up with “all work, no respect” or no recognition – and they snap.

This can happen to both business owners AND employees who are Obligers.

Here’s an example of how that could play out for an Obliger business owner:

Tanya has done EVERYTHING for her customer.

She cancelled a netball game to field the customer’s enquiry at a time to suit the customer.

Tanya gave her customer an extra long first session, and then cut her lunch meeting short to post out a hand written message with a welcome freebie.

Her prices were already low (fair, she thought), but she also discounted the price for this customer who didn’t seem to have much money.

When her customer had to cancel her second session at the last minute, Tanya understood….or…maybe there was something wrong with the first session?

Tanya spent the next hour writing her customer a carefully-worded email, saying it was ok, and things happen, and let’s reschedule.

She wanted to make sure the customer liked Tanya and felt supported enough.

That’s important.

Three days later, Tanya’s client cancelled again, this time with even LESS notice.

Tanya was so fed up – all her efforts were going unnoticed – AND – she had discounted her already-cheap session.

“What does this woman want?” thinks Tanya. “What am I, a doormat?”

She’d spent so much time giving her all, yet felt unappreciated, and a bit hard done by.

It tipped her into Obliger Rebellion.

Beyond the normal sleepless night worrying about her customers, Tanya felt angry this time.

She ruminated on the situation for two days, then eventually called the customer – defensive and angry.

An argument ensued and Tanya hung up feeling intimidated and let down….resolving NEVER again to take on THAT kind of client.

Does this sound familiar?

Despite the tendency to give too much, Tanya is very empathetic, compassionate and a good listener, which makes for engaging customer service.

She also knows that running a business requires her to be clear and confident about her offering and pricing, knowing that her customers’ engagement is not so much about her, it’s more about how ready they are to buy and/or engage.

With a little bit of help, Tanya could move forward in leaps and bounds.

In this case, Tanya could make big improvements by:

  • setting clearer personal boundaries and working on being firmer on these
  • developing a clear business plan with non-negotiable business parameters and boundaries
  • outsourcing tasks that feel ‘difficult’ or ‘pushy’,
  • getting enough time for herself so she doesn’t fall into Rebellion
  • working on a ‘sales conversation’ that feels comfortable and un-salesy, and
  • getting a business mentor or coach to help her stick to a business schedule which achieves her personal AND business goals, while still supporting her customers.

Obligers Bosses

Obligers are wonderful bosses (and coaches) in terms of their human interaction and nurturing.

While can be great with people, they might struggle with business systems and/or management.

Because they put others first, other areas of their business suffer.

They may end up slashing prices, creating a pile of ‘personalised’ (= different) agreements or services that are unwieldy and inconsistent, not following procedures.

They tend to get on best with customers or staff who are like them – giving, reasonable, people-focused and flexible.

Obligers can be wonderful listeners and cheerleaders.

However, staff members or clients who are assertive and/or are Questioners or Rebels might feel very frustrated with the Obliger, who appears clingy or subservient in comparison to themselves.

In a coaching sense, a Obliger coach can build great rapport and relationship but might ‘judge’ or smother their client with sympathy (careful!) or compassion.

An Obliger coach might also leave the client unsatisfied through coaching without courage (e.g. unclear boundaries and goals, letting them off the hook, not enough exploratory questions).

Here’s an example of how an Obliger coach might feel when they run a coaching session.

Toni was worried about whether she would ask good coaching questions and give the client real value in the coaching session.

She spent the session alternating between listening, and working out where to use the questions she practiced.

She didn’t want to pressure the client to be specific with behavioural goals, so left them as fairly general.

At the end of the session, Toni wondered if it had been value for money for her client, who was still unmotivated.

What was the real outcome of that session, anyway? What had she really DONE for that client?

In a nutshell, overextending yourself for others is actually more about you (and your performance/worth) than about your client, and it makes for unclear boundaries and intangible outcomes.

The successful Obliger is the one who can set fair boundaries and focus on the client’s needs in a healthy (objective) way – by stepping back and acknowledging that the client is in charge of their own actions, decisions and outcomes.

Obliger Clients

Go gently

The greatest consideration for business owners is that they meet the needs of their Obliger clients in a healthy way.

Obligers will rarely complain – to your face.

They will more likely get upset (eventually) and then tell everyone else behind your back.

If you have Obliger clients, it’s important to notice them, listen carefully and reflect what you hear so that your customers feel heard, supported and cared for.

It was the start of another busy day and Jody noticed a new customer walk into her office, looking timid.

She buzzed around as she normally would called out ‘be with you soon!’

Then the phone rang, and Jody grabbed it, putting a finger up to the customer to wait a minute and she’d be there.

A moment later, Jody turned around and heard the door bells jingle as the lady left her office – who didn’t want to be any trouble to Jody who was obviously busy!

In the end,  Jody lost a customer who didn’t want to bother her or get in her way.

In this case, Jody could have walked over immediately and ignored the phone to make time for a genuine connection with this lady and ask a few questions about her needs.

Luckily, it takes a lot for Obligers to truly walk out on you – they will forgive you for many things before they reach Rebellion stage!

But expressing empathy and giving undivided attention will win the heart of your Obliger customer, and the little special touches will be very much valued and appreciated.

After all, it takes one to know one.

Do you have Questions?

Got questions about tendencies in business?

Want to know how to boost your business and overcome the  hurdles of an Obliger?

Get in touch and find out how you can optimise the way you work and get the most out of your tendency.

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The Four Tendencies – Questioners in Business

Questioners in Business | Melanie J White

Questioners in Business | Melanie J White

Before you read this post about Questioners in business – if haven’t yet heard of the Four Tendencies, I suggest you check out this quiz and Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Four Tendencies.

I love the Four Tendencies because I am curious about people, behaviour, and how different tendencies operate in different situations.

Recently, I’ve seen some interesting scenarios unfold with different tendencies in business, and that has prompted to write a series of articles – starting with Questioners in Business.

This blog outlines what makes questioners tick, and how they can get the best out of this tendency when running their business.

The Questioner

Let’s start with an overview of the type.

Gretchen defines a questioner as someone who:

questions rules and accepts them only if they make sense. They may choose to follow rules, or not, according to their judgment.”

In a nutshell, this is the person that always asks WHY. And then they want more information, so they as WHY again.

The questioner drills deeper and deeper into the why – how things work, why things work, and whether things are worthwhile.

In fact, the last point is the most important.

Questioners are internally-motivated, so they will only do, purchase or engage in something that seems justifiable, logical and reasonable to them.

They often operate from a value-based, integrity-based position, and value quality and high standards.

They are (usually) highly accountable to themselves and others.

They feel that in business, being transparent is a sign of honesty.

Does this sound like you, or someone you know?

The Questioners’ downfall is that they may question things so much – including themselves – that they get into analysis paralysis.

Questioners in Business

Efficient Systems Management

My opinion is that questioners may be the most successful of all types in the mechanics of running a business.

The questioner is someone who asks why they need each element of their business, resulting in ONLY practical, reasonable and effective policies, procedures and systems.

This means that daily operation of a business is quick, easy, simple and practical, with no time wasted on frivolous or useless things.

But things may not go smoothly for all Questioners.

Over-analysis

Here’s a Questioner who gets bogged down in analysis paralysis, and it prevents her from growing her business:

Sue is sure that her business will be amazing once she has everything perfect.

She wants to set up some useful systems, but not being very tech-savvy, Sue questions every decision she makes.

That’s a long, laborious process.

So rather than move ahead in business, Sue often gets stuck in a quagmire of questions about software, whether to make videos or write blogs, which Facebook groups to be in.

She also gets side-tracked when writing and researching blogs, taking days to look up all sorts of references before finally condensing her blog into 6 pages of deep explanation.

Sue makes elaborate plans that are too overwhelming and detailed to action.

She struggles to write short, punchy marketing copy.

However, she’s very good at understanding her ideal client, because of her probing, curious and inquisitive nature.

She also understands that running a business can be multifaceted and complex.

With a little bit of help, Sue could move forward in leaps and bounds.

In this case, Sue could make big improvements by:

  • working on her perfectionist streak
  • developing a clear business plan with single, specific targets and due dates
  • deciding whether to do some training or to outsource certain tasks in her business, and
  • getting a business mentor or coach to keep her focused, on track and to help her make decisions.

Questioner Bosses

In many ways, Questioners make great leaders because they aren’t afraid to take risks and make tough decisions.

While can be great with business management and systems, they might struggle in their dealings with staff and/or clients.

Questioners are people who value integrity, quality, and are generally direct and fair.

They tend to get on best with customers or staff who value a “no-BS” approach with clear, non-negotiable boundaries.

However, staff members or clients who lacks self-confidence and/or are Obligers might really struggle with their direct, probing nature.

In a coaching sense, a Questioner coach might overwhelm and confront their client with too many questions, or too much deep probing.

Jade had a nervous tummy at the thought of attending her weekly meeting with her Questioner boss.

His questions made her feel like she’d done something wrong, or like he was watching her every move to catch her making a mistake.

Jade often prepared for these meetings by imagining all the possible scenarios that might come up, so she would be able to answer all those questions about her work.

In a nutshell, certain types of people might feel personally challenged by all those questions.

But really, those questions aren’t about them – it’s simply the Questioner seeking clarity, truth, continuous improvement, practicality and efficiency.

Questioner Clients

It’s not about you

As above, being questioned can be confronting or threatening for some business owners.

A Questioner customer who keeps asking ‘but why’ is simply attempting to understand something, or decide whether they should buy it, or understand something that isn’t working.

If you’re a sensitive business owner, or if you lack self-confidence, you might feel that your integrity or authority is being challenged by all those questions.

Sam was busy fixing Peter’s car and had put lots of effort into getting things just right.

So he felt pretty confronted when Peter started asking why he had done things a certain way, and why he had put certain parts in.

Same felt like he was being made to justify everything he’d done, and that Peter didn’t trust him.

To top it all off, Peter got upset when he found out that Sam hadn’t rotated the tyres.

Sam had felt it wasn’t necessary and wanted to save Peter some money, so he didn’t do it.

In the end,  Peter was irritated because he felt he was being fobbed off, and treated like an idiot.

In this case, Sam could have diverted a bunch of angst by calling Peter to talk about the need for tyre rotation or not, and to simply and patiently answer Sam’s questions.

Luckily, most of the time, all those Questions are NOT about you.

It’s simply the Questioner trying to satisfy their own curiosity about something!

You can simply relax and let the person know you will do all you can to help them and/or understand their queries.

That sort of approach will build far better relationships with Questioner customers, than becoming reactive and defensive.

Or, you can simply make a decision not to have a Questioner as a client.

 

Do YOU have Questions?

Got questions about tendencies in business?

Get in touch and find out how you can optimise the way you work and get the most out of your tendency.

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Why Do We Expect So Much of Ourselves?

Why do we expect so much of ourselves?

Why do we expect so much of ourselves?

Why do we expect so much of ourselves in our business and life?

Sure, running your own business is a fulfilling and freeing, and a precious journey of adventure.

You bring your strength, courage, confidence into the world, writing your own rules, and creating success on your terms.

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

Time and again, I see entrepreneurial coaches starting out but being crippled by their drive for achievement with perhaps a twist of perfectionism.

Don’t get me wrong, being achievement focused and wanting to do things right are important for your success…but only to a point.

It requires perspective and insight to make them work for you, rather than against you.

Here’s how to get it right…but first, some background.

How Expectations Work

Expectations are the conditions you place on yourself and others.

And as much as you set expectations, you also respond to expectations.

This is where things get tricky – because in business, you have your own expectations and also, those of your clients to fulfill.

How can you juggle both and get it right?

How You Set Expectations

 

When Monday rolls around, what expectations do you set for the week, and each day? And how do your expectations for business and your personal life compare?

Most entrepreneurial coaches I know want to get everything on their list finished each week.

That works well if the list is short.

But achievement-focused people tend to want to conquer Rome, by yesterday.

This is where the panic, overwhelm and brain fog kick in (and sometimes melt-downs, ‘what ifs’ and plaintive WHYS).

The reason is simple – with all that focus on work achievements, there’s no time left to meet your personal needs or for that magical thinking time (“sharpening the saw”) where creative ideas and initiatives come from.

If you’re a health and wellness coach, you may see this same behaviour in your clients at goal-setting time:

  • They set a goal to exercise 6 days per week, then only achieve 3 days and feel miserable and defeated, OR
  • They set a goal to exercise 1 day per week, then achieve 3 days, and feel on top of the world.

The achievement in either case is the same – the only difference is the expectation and the mindset that it creates.

And therein lies the solution. When it comes to setting expectations, start small.

I created a rule for myself that I would aim to achieve 3 things per week.

Those 3 things are articulated very specifically and have blocked off time scheduled in for me to complete them.

That liberates me mentally to make time for achieving in my personal life, and makes for a balanced life that feels successful.

How You Respond to Expectations

Setting your own expectations aside, it’s worth mentioning that how you respond to others’ expectations is also a defining factor in your business success.

New York Times best selling author Gretchen Rubin has determined that people have an inherent tendency to set and respond to inner and outer expectations in one of four ways.

Two of these tendency types always seem to put others first at their own expense.

If you are an Obliger or Upholder (equating to about 64% of the population), chances are you are driven to help, please, service or support other people more than yourself.

This means your stuff gets shunted to the end of the pile and may never get done.

Of course, that can seriously hamper your ability to run a business – you have no time left for essential work ON your business (non-client time) and it may also mean you have trouble asking for money.

One of the most effective ways to manage your response to expectations better is to allot specific days and times to help/support/service others. That is, you set boundaries.

It might mean that you only see clients from Monday to Thursday, 11am – 4pm.

It might mean that you only take a certain number of clients each week.

It might mean that you have set catch up times with friends/family.

Summing it up

Expectations can help you stay on track or they can drain you.

If you are achievement-focused, then you may tend to overwhelm yourself with work and other commitments at the expense of your personal life or strategic business tasks.

Try setting the bar lower and celebrating your success.

If you are someone who routinely puts others first to your own detriment, experimenting with boundaries will help you put the time you need into the business and life you want.

Try scheduling set days/times for clients, friends and yourself.

I’d love to know how you are navigating this

Are you struggling with expectations?

Contact me if you’d like to have a 15-minute conversation about switching things around.

Contact Melanie White

 

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Two Secrets to Help You Commit To Your Goals

Commit to Your Goals | Melanie J White

With summer in the air, are you suddenly excited and committed to better eating, exercise and self-care habits?

There’s something so motivating about the warmer weather and sunshine. It helps us commit to the things that we want so badly – to look and feel great.

But for one reason or another, it can become a struggle to maintain in the long term. At some point, the excitement and motivation wanes.

What’s the secret weapon in maintaining good habits, once the initial excitement fades?

I’d like to share one powerful strategy that really works – “connecting your focus to your feelings.” 

Here’s how it works.

Being Open

Deb came to me with concerns about some ongoing health issues: bloating, lethargy, IBS symptoms and other digestive issues.

She knew what to do to fix things and in the past, she’d been a regular exerciser and a healthy eater, feeling fit and energized. But for a myriad of reasons, all of that had fallen by the wayside.

Even thinking of her past success wasn’t enough to help her get started. She was despondent and felt like she could never make the change that she could stick to for the long term!

After some reflection, Deb realised that she really wanted to make it work this time, because making these changes would lead to a happier, better quality life as she got older.

What she did next was what really sealed the deal.

Firstly, she committed to experimenting for just one week. Not one month, or six months, but one simple week. This was a chunk of time she felt confident she could commit to.

Next, she devised some food and exercise experiments for the week.

Experiments help you to avoid that feeling of failure, because you’re just testing to see if something works (or not). There are no expectations (or feelings of perfection) around experiments.

So for that one week, Deb was flexible and experimental with her choice of foods, eating patterns and exercise approach. She was delighted to find a few things that really worked well – that she enjoyed, that fitted with her lifestyle, and that she could confidently commit to in the long term.

Being Mindful

What really made the difference, in fact Deb’s key factor for success, was mindfully observing how her body responded to the experiments. She connected her focus (healthy habits) with her feeling (how her body responded).

When we met again, she was excited about discovering what works, but more so, that she was strongly connected with the consequences of her habits.

On the days she ate right for her body type, she felt comfortable, energized and light – with enough energy for exercise. On the days she ate too much or the wrong foods for her body type, she felt heavy, despondent and limited.

Deb was suddenly aware that simply being mindful of the consequences of her habits – the physical, mental and emotional feelings they created – made it far easier for her to find the motivation for choosing the better option, more regularly.

And as Positive Psychologists say, strong motivators are essential for successfully making long-term change.

Connecting your focus with your feelings is a simple approach and is a core of Ayurveda, which has been around over 5000 years.

Simply being mindful – being in the present and noticing the consequences of your actions in an objective, non-judgmental way – is a powerful secret weapon for long-term change.

What is ONE thing could you pay attention to this week?

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Work-Life Balance – Slaying the Mythical Beast

Work Life Balance | Melanie White

With all the press about work life balance, including the fact that it’s a myth, I thought I’d chip in with my 2c worth.

Regardless of whether you believe in work-life balance or not, the insatiable quest to slay that mythical beast will probably remain.

So assuming that work-life balance is a tangible thing, I propose a definition, simply:

“spending what you feel is the right amount of time working, and the right amount of time on things that support your well-being.”

It’s up to you to define what ‘the right amount’ is and it’s fair to expect that there is some invariable overlap between the two (especially if you run your own business).

An idyllic work-life balance scenario might involve going to work, doing your job and then coming home to spend enjoyable time with family, friends, on hobbies or leisure/pleasure activities.

Well, there’s the real myth…..

Some of us have kids, some don’t.

Some of us work to live, and others live to work.

In other words, there’s no one-size-fits-all life situation, therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all scenario for work-life balance.

In context of all that, the answer to work-life balance – the sweet spot – may lie in balancing two things:

  1. your personal drive to meet expectations/responsibilities (yours/others)
  2. allowing yourself to meet your personal well-being needs.

That comes down to your personal beliefs and values –what drives you, and why that’s important.

What Drives You?

You might be the kind of person who gets up and skips breakfast to be at work on the early bus so you can finish the report you’re working on, then you work late to get it finished, existing on take-out food, then get the last bus home and stumble into bed.

In this scenario, your drive to meet a deadline, please your client/boss, cope with workplace pressure, feel adequate or be productive may take priority over your immediate health needs (eating breakfast, staying calm, exercising, sleeping well, connecting with others).

Or, you might be the kind of person who gets the kids up and feeds them (and your partner), skipping your own breakfast so you can bustle around for them, making lunch, getting them off to school/work, cleaning the house, doing the shopping and washing, organising dinner and then visiting your sick mother who needs your help before picking the kids up, making them a snack, taking them to sport and getting their homework started before you finish off dinner for the family, so you can watch the news and then stumble into bed.

In this scenario, your focus is taking the responsibility for everyone else’s well-being, such that there’s no time left for you.

These are just two of many possible scenarios….but in any case, you’re appearing unlucky last on the priorities list.

Meeting Your Own Needs

The secret to slaying the mythical beast of work-life balance is simple and fairly un-sexy.

It’s simply allowing yourself some time to meet your own needs.

Maybe that’s an hour in the bathroom by yourself on a Wednesday night.

Maybe it’s reminding yourself each day that you achieved something good.

Maybe you need to have Friday nights out with your friends to simply laugh and have a relaxing dinner.

Regardless of WHAT it is, your solution lies in deciding how important your needs are, setting some realistic boundaries around them, and finding creative ways to slot them into your day/week/life.

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The Benefits of What You Don’t Want

Knowing What You Don't Want | Melanie White

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You’re probably wondering – how could you benefit from something you don’t want?

One of the things that spurs us to make change is the sense that something isn’t quite right.

It makes perfect sense that the knowledge of what you don’t want opens the door to discover a new and better way of being.

At her first session with me, a recent client was vehemently describing all the things in life that she didn’t want, and wasn’t happy with. The conversation circled these things like a buzzard around roadkill, seemingly with no way out.

When we shifted to discussing what she DID want, a light-bulb moment was born.

 

 “Oh. I’d better think about that!”

 

The wonderful thing is that dissatisfaction opens the door for change, and by flipping our dissatisfaction 180 degrees, we might actually find out what we really want more of…and then we can reach for that with open arms.