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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#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:

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    E#143 Just Be Yourself and Be Authentic in Marketing with Natasha Berta

    This episode is about just being yourself and being authentic in marketing with Natasha Berta

    MW: Hi Natasha. So great to see you and thanks for being here on the podcast today.

    NB: Hello, it’s lovely to be here, we’re so smiley. If you’re listening on the podcast, you’re not going to see our gigantic smiles of happiness to see each other but if you’re watching the YouTube version of this clip then you might.

    MW: Now, I just love chatting to you and I think a lot of people listening to this would have heard our last session. But can you just introduce yourself just in case there’s a new listener that doesn’t know how awesome you are.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * Marketing
    * How people think and handle their marketing

    NB: Oh yes. I have a little tiny marketing agency called Connected Marketing which I’ve just branched into having a team in the last couple of years and it finally just felt weird to not just be called Natasha Berta anymore because I was saying I was doing things but actually just was helping so that’s exciting. And I would say that I mostly focus on our online presence. And so by that, I mean your website or your social media or however it is that you connect with your audience and also growing your audience and I love doing that with Facebook ads. Jess helps with things that people don’t want to do like turning their blog in 250 million social media posts and spreading them all around the universe.

    And what else do I mean? I love email marketing. I love all the tech of marketing I would say, mmm, that’s the bit you all hate. That’s why I’ll get you guys and your team to do my stuff.

    MW: Yes, I hate all that stuff.

    NB: A lot of people do not like it and no wonder because it’s like minutiae and you just want to get on and do your work, like your zone of Genius stuff.

    MW: Right. And I guess anyone listening to this podcast is going to be like me and think I’ve got to create posts and what a drag. So I make sure I put your details in the show notes.
    And so, we are going to get a bit ranty today, right?
    NB: Probably we’re going to talk about that old, imposter syndrome, that all that old judging yourself, comparing yourself to other people and say “well, why do you think you have to be like everybody else out there?”
    What’s your first thought when you hear that, if you don’t have a strategy, you’re going to be like a little boat in a big sea just getting tossed around. You know, like the times that I get that, I imposter syndrome, like “what should do – this or that is” when I don’t have a proper plan and then I’m very vulnerable to, you know, marketing of people trying to sell me things or I’m taking advice from multiple people and just getting really confused and I would say it’s so important.
    It doesn’t mean you have to do what I say or you have to do what Mel says, or you have to do what any big-name person says. It’s just that you should choose one and just give it a red-hot go for, probably at least three months, maybe 12 and that when I have a strategy, I feel so impenetrable.

    I see people’s marketing and I’m like, it’s like an Iron Man suit or something. Like I just, it just washes off me and I don’t feel any compulsion to leap at it. I might look at what they’re saying and be interested but it’s so easy for me to resist because this my plan is to create a bunch of small courses and to leverage my business through selling courses on a one-to-many level. So I’m trying a different kind of leverage. I’ve tried a few different things and this is my year of making little courses and selling them one-to-many.
    So because I know that that’s my strategic move for this year, there have been a couple of funny things. Like I saw the Big Shiny tender for the $5,000 website or $15,000 pitch to someone and I start with her for a few days and I just thought, actually no – I’m doing this course thing, if I start bridging out and getting distracted I’ll go off course.
    And then my, my strategic plan hasn’t gone as well because I diluted my attention. So, I feel really excited that this year, I’ve got a fantastic strategy that I’m in love with, I’m fully committed to, and yeah, I’m undiluted.

    MW: Funnily enough, that’s my strategy for this year.
    NB: I think it depends on what stage of business you’re at. So, I think it’s helpful to build up one-on-one clients first.
    MW: Absolutely with one-on-one first.

    NB: And then once you’re fully booked this, an obvious next step is to scale and grow.
    MW: And I think the other thing too, is that it’s easy to get wrapped up in somebody else’s success. But you also have to look at your own things. Like I see so many people go “I need to have a Facebook group and I need to be in there every day and I need to learn how to do that.” But if you hate Facebook, you’re going to hate showing up for work every day and it’s like, why do you have to be like everyone else? Why can’t you just do it your way? Like for me I’ve figured out what I like to do is podcast and turn that into a Blog and have your team, put it out there on social media as snippets on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. So that’s what I do. And I lead people to an information session or a free call.
    I’ve stopped doing my email newsletter list which some people might say, oh, that’s terrible, but I’m doing it my way and I’m going to roll with it for the next 12 months and see what happens.
    NB: I’ve just posted about this last week on social media as well, especially for people who either have another job and then their coaching or consulting little baby business is sort of a side thing or if you’re a mother and any kind of business of your side thing, you can’t follow certain people on social media because they don’t have kids or they don’t have a side hustle, they have 40 to 60 hours a week to dedicate to their business baby and you simply cannot achieve. What they can achieve in half the time with this psycho-emotional pressure of this other thing like for parenting.
    It’s very intense having other people in your life and if you have another business then you’ve got or, you know, or a job, you’ve got all those people take your energy as well. So it’s just noticing what’s your energy resource of time or money and making smart choices with that and just turning some people off like you just have to choose not to follow certain people.
    Now, when I think certain people, I just scroll past. I’m like, I like you. I love you. I dig what you’re doing but you cannot serve me right now. It’s going to mess me up if I try and take your advice.
    MW: So that’s a really important point that you’ve kind of touched on a couple of times now is that you’re clear on what you’re doing. And you’ve got to keep that front of mind and let that guide your decisions as in, “No, I’m going out of my lane if I follow that person know I’ve got a switch that off. No, I got to stay focused on what I can do.
    NB: And I think a key piece that backs that is the business Vision which I know you are so good at covering like I’m really clear about what kind of business I want. What kind of days I want? How sustainable? I want my business life to be?
    Two years ago when I would do business Vision, it would be really vague and I just didn’t get it, but I guess after a long enough in business, you have enough days where you’re cracking your own whip, you’re not eating, you’re not exercising, your burning yourself out that you come to a point where you’re like oh that’s my vision for my business is actually to feel good to eat well too, rest myself and for it to be sustainable.
    And something that I actually want to even do next year.

    MW: That’s such a good point and you know, you wonder why do people fall in the hole? When you create a vision at first and you’re not familiar with meeting your own needs, even like health and wellness coaches, who know this stuff, still do it, right. But they’re comparing themselves with people who’ve got a 10-year established track record in business and they go “I’ll never be that person.”
    But it’s like any other part of health and wellness. It’s like somebody who wishes they could lose 30 kilo and they’re comparing themselves with a size 8 person or somebody that says, oh, I wish I was fit as that marathon runner. They’re just looking at the end result after hours and hours and hours of persistence and hard work.
    And I think that’s that important part of the vision is to say, maybe I aspire to that but what I want to achieve now, and what I need to do to get there, what a my strengths like, you can definitely learn by the way, somebody else does something but you don’t have to follow their exact process to the letter and like in health and wellness coaching, we say, oh there’s no cookie cutter approach.
    And yet when it comes to marketing and business, everyone wants to follow a cookie cutter approach, it’s so funny.

    NB: Well, that makes me think of that like weight loss as a metaphor. It’s like everybody has a different Constitution. Like I’m only five six but I weigh 85 kilos. I’m not that fat honestly at the BMI just the nightmare for me. But even if I lost 30 kilos, I would still just look like I would, I would still just look a lot like this, you know, like maybe my tummy and my bum would be slimmer. My face would be a tiny bit slimmer and I’m just never going to be a size 8.
    So business-wise, if I look at someone who’s really great at networking, who’s really extroverted, who has loads of time and just loves going and hang out, who’s got all the fancy frocks? Who’s just that kind of front person. Like, constitutionally I’m not like that, like, I’m really sensitive. I’m probably a little bit introverted and I know what I need.
    I need lots of downtime and my digestive stuff gets in the way of me like, you know, because I’ve got some gut healing stuff to do or, you know, I’ve got food sensitivities or whatever. So in the same way like yeah I don’t know I guess if you look at someone who’s doing well and you want to align your vision with that, I guess it’s worth doing that kind of Abraham Hicks thing. Whether you’re into that or not of like you know they say we’re just out and about and we’re just kind of information.

    Yeah, look at someone who’s famous and rich and has a great business and you sort of want to collect them into your life like in, you’re going to sort of register that like that’s part of my future Vision.
    It’s worth being super specific and just noting like oh which bits are really actually achievable. Like if I don’t have a 40 hour a week, ten thousand dollars a week business does that can that actually fit inside my life container with me the way I am? Like,
    That person’s possibly constitutionally quite different to me. So yes, notice what they’re doing and pick like cherry pick the bits of their life, that you really.
    MW: Yes, yes, absolutely. And it’s so funny. I recently went to Grace Lever’s doing weekend because someone said to me, you could totally do what Grace does.
    And I thought, well, I’ll see what she does. And it’s this huge production. This huge event with a team and three or four hundred people online. And a lot of selling and while I can see the appeal of the business and how it works and what she’s able to achieve, I’m not that person and I don’t want to do that.
    And I think a lot of people get stuck in “I should be like this, and I should do it like that, and I wish I was like that person.”
    But you also have to be honest with yourself and go I’m not that person. Yeah, I mean, and I can do that, like, I actually don’t want that.

    NB: I reckon you’re actually smarter than her at least and like, at least, as good as hers. And, and so, maybe that’s what the person has seen. They are seeing some kind of echo of that. Your advice is as good or better than hers, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be her.
    NB: One thing I learned was when I was doing Kate Bush dancing a few years ago. So fun. So you’ve got like 20 or 30 women in a room together all doing the Wuthering Heights choreo and she split the group and she said okay so half the group will perform in the other half could watch them.
    So I was in the first group to perform and I was the whole time just thinking that because you can see yourself in the mirror is I’m so stumpy, I’m so lumpy, like like the way I move is not like Mica led the dance persons like, I don’t know if mines really that good.
    And just all the self-talk of performing and just hated it and sat down and watch the other people. And then I noticed that each woman has her whole own beautiful way that they dance, and it’s not like Mica. But each woman, like, I just cried. I just cried and I cried because I realized that the way I take in information and the way I am body in this life and then the way I express in this life is as each of those women and we all contain that like we are all a very unique filter that ingests information and then creates it and expresses it out in such a moving and beautiful and wonderful way.
    And we don’t have to be or it’s just actually not possible or desirable to try and fit in someone else’s frame. It’s just gross.

    MW: It’s true. And as you’re just describing that I was thinking about the people that you naturally attract and I do honestly, believe and what I teach in my passion to profit program is start. They’re like, who are you attracting? Who are the people that are naturally drawn to you and resonate with you? They’re the ones with the similar personality or the complementary personality, the shared values, are the people that are going to buy your stuff?
    If you’re trying to be somebody else, you’re not going to attract those natural connections. You know, you need to be yourself and be authentic.
    The best marketing is authenticity, is my catchphrase, and, and you’re going to get those right people because, you know what, Brooke Castillo says. You can be the juiciest peach in the bowl, but some people like bananas.
    NB: So, stop trying to pretend to be a banana and be a juicy peach December. That makes me think, you know, I’ve seen some people lately and I know what they’re like in real life and then I see their videos on social media. I’m like, why is she acting like that?
    And I think I got a couple of friends and a client who does that and like why is she talking like that? She never talks like that in real life and it just confuses the crap out of me? And I think yeah, what are you going to attract? If you show up like that, like that’s not you. That’s not the you that I know.

    But then I know that there are these hurdles particularly with marketing oh you need to do video. Yeah, you need to do video but you know, maybe there’s other ways like if you’re a great writer, maybe there is another way you can get around it. Because if you’re not able to embody on video just as your natural self, I don’t know how that’s supposed to work and I know my first video was in a Facebook group and I could not stand it. I literally wanted to delete it straight away and then we’ll how do, you know, don’t delete it because I had cut. I was a mummy. I was thinking the mummy and I had piles of washing behind.
    And me, and I could not stand to listen to my own voice. I could not stand my own physical appearance, like it was just a visceral and I got through that. And then I posted my first public video and a troll, some trolled me. And he said, you know, the reason I left the city, you like a parasite on the face. Okay, I’ve heard about this because I was in a supportive business group and I’d heard that if you start getting trolled on your videos, it’s a good sign, it means you’re showing up, you know, don’t take it to heart. So gratefully, I mean, it still hurt, but greatly I was able to kind of divest from that instead of clean. Just kind of set that free, but there were definitely hurdles but now I’ve just done so many videos. Like, sometimes it’s, I don’t even care how it sounds.
    Sometimes, I watch my own videos back and I listen to myself and I’m like, that’s pretty good. Like now, I’m in a place where I’m really okay with it. Plus I have a video on YouTube that has 50,000 views that is me with wet hair hunched over with all my jowls with bluetac photos in the background and it’s had 50,000 views.
    So I’m like, okay you it really is about the value that you give and that video is how to put faces in circles in canva. If you Google that might come up and it just literally gives people the information that they need in that moment. So, you know, people could check out our how to blog to grow your business course.

    Think about their SEO and think about what are the things that people are typing in because that can be a great way to just organically get some people to find you. If you know what they’re asking for, you can create content to slot that in but where I was going with that was a bit of a little segue little appendix and coming back to the intestine of the conversation.
    MW: You were talking about video and I did want to add to that. That audio is just as good. Like, there are so many people that listen to podcasts on the way to work and staff and while they’re walking and if you have an awesome voice and you love talking, why not do that instead? I mean, we both know somebody that hates being on video, but loves doing podcasts.
    Actually it’s not me because I’m on video and I love video but we know somebody you and I and she doesn’t actually do a podcast but she does audio really well.
    NB: That’s right. And that is the key piece. Really easy with content. If you’ve got one piece of content, you’ll be amazed what we can tease out of that. Even if it’s a three minute audio that we can get tons of social media posts out of that.
    There’s this great app called headliner. That will turn audios into little videos so you can actually turn audios into videos. I mean it’s not you it’s just a static photo with an audiogram over the top like a wavegram and that makes it a video and it still gets great reach, the robot loves them because it thinks they’re a video. So yeah you don’t have to get on video but you do need to find a way to share your Juju.

    Like all the good things you have to do is to find a way to share that consistently. I mean you just showing up on the regular really moves the needle. Hmm.
    MW: And also, getting on the stage a little bit too. You know, you can submit an article to Mamma Mia online. If you are a good writer and you get a bigger audience there or like Sarah Rusbatch has done some ABC and other radio interviews, a lot of people listen to the radio.
    I’ve done radio before, as well. I had a Weekly Wellness session on our local radio station here in the country and people would come up to me in the street and go “Oh, you’re that person on that wellness segment.” You get in everybody’s ears, in their brains.
    Even though videos really popular people have busy lives, I can’t sit still and watch a video.
    NB: Yeah, it’s very difficult as a mother and I would say, like, I’m just reading them how to break up with your phone, and there are people who they don’t want to be on social media.
    I mean, I never really wanted to in the first place. It was my work. I’m happy to do it for work. But in terms of how I receive information I might read your blog, you know, I might be more inclined to read your email then to find you on social media now, so it’s worth knowing that you don’t have to do the social media thing.
    Leonie Orson, who is massive, recently just quit social media and I mean, she’s already very established. So I feel like she’s in a different position.

    MW: Yeah. You could definitely make it work.
    NB: It doesn’t have to be cookie cutter there. It’s a big fat experiment. That’s what nobody wants to hear.
    You need to try something, but give it a good chunk of time and then re-evaluate and go again. That’s what I do. That’s what you do.
    MW: I built my first coaching business face-to-face, without anybody looking at my website or social media. It was all talking to people. And it’s the quickest way to connect because you’ve got all the benefit of the visual cues and the body language.
    And if you’re afraid to get on video, get out there in person and talk to people and I guess the, you know, the common theme we’re coming to here is you have to kind of know who you are and what you stand for and build up a level of confidence to put yourself out there, whether it be online or in a blog or face-to-face.
    Like I’ve met people who say I’m so terrified about posting my first blog and what happens when people read it? And as we know, you’re on page 7 million of Google and no one’s going to see it anyway until you share it.
    NB: I can totally relate and I started writing a bit more now and I’m coming around to writing and I think there’s loads of options, and you know, if you need a safe space, what can be nice is to share a blog, or your first piece of content with just a few trusted colleagues or friends but maybe don’t send it to the wide world. If you are feeling really tense and I think that’s the thing.

    You break down those barriers with little achievable steps and then actually your body realizes, I’m not going to die. Like I’m not in the savanna. I know I am not actually going to die and once you’ve done it a few times, then you just kind of ease up about it and you know that you’re safe and you know that it’s an okay thing to do here. And it’s, you know, it’s also that evolving Journey. Like what works now you might get sick of it. Like I did a lot of email list, newsletters and then I went actually, this is hard work for me. I don’t want to do this.
    MW: It means a learning experience, the whole thing. Think about what you were like when you were a kid, I don’t know about you, but I was incredibly shy and I didn’t want to speak to anybody or be seen by anybody. And I’ve had to do a lot of work to overcome that, but I went to Melbourne last week and did a pitch in front of a room full of people and I loved it – so good. I just thrived on the opportunity to do it and I thought, wow.
    Remember if I took my ten year old self had looked forward and said, what are you going to be doing in the future? I never would have guessed that.
    NB: Yeah. And the other thing that came to mind for me is like, if you’re 30, you have enough life experience to help anybody who’s in the early 20 years, mid-20s, you’ve got enough experience to help anyone who’s in their late teens. Like wherever you are, you have already got enough experience and like, even before I had a Commerce degree, I had enough life experience.
    If I’d known I could have totally just become like a personal transformation coach or something. We all are sitting on a ton of knowledge and care and love and ability to support other people. And that’s really valuable and it’s what makes you, YOU.
    Your unique life experience and your interpretation of that and how you process things and how you overcome challenges, that’s what people buy at the end of the day, right?
    They believe you to be credible because you have these skills and strengths and experience. And I think also, there is an energetic resonance there. Like, you call it, the, what do you call it?

    MW: The high chemistry clients.
    NB: There are people that just need to work with you and you could almost like, be teaching them to make bread or you could be teaching them to change a tyre. It kind of doesn’t matter because you guys just need to hang out. There’s some kind of catalyst for change in your relationship and quite, possibly leave for both of you. So yeah there’s lots of levels you know the way we need to hang out with each other that’s often where the niche is.
    MW: A lot of people think about or teach that you should start with a niche and then drill down and I think it’s totally reasonable to say instead, “who’s the person that you love being around?” and then to go and see what all these people have in common that you can help them with. Because ultimately, why would you want to work with people that drain you?
    NB: Exactly. And nobody wants that. There are those right people in your personal connections that you could give a free session to who would write you a testimonial who are already high, chemistry people in your life that would love to help you. And yeah, so you’ve already got six potential clients, just, you know, even if you’re a pretty low-key person.
    MW: I think we just solved the problems of the world to know that was gonna happen. Now it’s easy to be captain hindsight to look back and say these are the things that work but I guess from our experience we’re saying to people at the beginning of that journey or who are trying new things, just do it your way, give it a good crack given enough time and get help if you need and especially get help from Natasha Berta at Connected Marketing.

    NB: I’ve got heaps of cool courses now on like all good things for newbies as well. I just doing MailerLite and MailChimp at the moment and it has been really fun – I’m excited.
    So, I’ll be polishing all of those up and rehashing, some old Instagram, and it’s just actually been really fun. Just talking about little nibbles of things.
    MW: Super fun, bitesize learning to empower your growth.
    NB: Oh, I need your copy team!
    MW: Thanks so much for making the time today to catch up!

    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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    Episode 114: Client and Work Boundaries

    In this episode, I talk about setting boundaries with clients and at work so that you can feel in control, confident and create cash flow and greater client success

    Running your business in a 24/7 world, how do you maintain work life balance? 

    In this episode, I talk about setting boundaries with clients and at work so that you can feel in control, confident and create cash flow and greater client success.

    Modern World Work

    Pre internet, small businesses set up as bricks and mortar businesses that relied on print marketing in the physical world and pounding the pavement to find new clients. 

    Businesses were open to the public during standard trading hours and probably worked more than this, but there was a defined window of client time.

    Now, the internet has created a virtual world that operates globally, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

    And small businesses seem to be feeling the pressure and buying into it.

    Small Business

    A lot of my clients are running small businesses but they feel compelled to act like global businesses, answering emails and messages at all hours of the day and night in case they lose a client.

    They’re showing up live on social media at all hours, trying to engage people. 

    They’re comparing themselves to others who seem to be, in my clients’ words, ‘more organised, all over it, very productive, getting lots of business, showing up consistently all over the place and nailing it, with loads of happy clients.’

    That, my friends, is a point of view, not necessarily a fact. 

    We all know that things are often different than they seem to be.

    But even if it were true, and that person you’re watching is seemingly everywhere and all over it, how do they do it?

    Work Boundaries for Small Business

    Having been in business for over 25 years, I can say that with a few well-placed boundaries, you can be the owner of an efficient, effective and profitable business.

    Here are some important work boundaries that will help small businesses get established, grow and thrive.

    Only Work with High Chemistry Clients

    Firstly, not everyone is your ideal client. I learned early on that by saying yes to everyone who enquires, I’d have great chemistry with some clients and not so great chemistry with others.

    The chemistry you have with a client DIRECTLY impacts their results, so when you work with anyone, then your business may not appear as successful.

    With low chemistry clients, they’re less committed, less engaged, less motivated and the rapport is lower, so they are less likely to achieve their goals.

    Now picture how that changes if you only work with high-chemistry clients. A higher portion of them will succeed, they will be more connected and engaged, they will rave about their results (and you), and your business reputation and referrals will soar.

    It’s a basic formula that works.

    So how do you attract and work with high chemistry clients?

    Quite simply, you need to be selective by setting some boundaries about who you do and don’t work with.

    You can do this by putting some filtering mechanisms in place to screen out anyone who isn’t the right fit for you or your services.

    Here are three steps to follow.

    Step 1: When it comes to marketing, you can attract high chemistry clients by being specific, and talking about what they are interested in, and using their specific language, pain points and desired outcomes.

    Do this, and you’re more likely to build a tribe of high chemistry leads who are engaged and interested.

    Step 2: When you make formal offers for a program or other service, you can list criteria – who this is for – to help them qualify themselves as a good fit.

    That way, most of the work is done by them, before they even reach for the phone or message you!

    Step 3: before working with any client, have a good fit call with them right up front to see if the person who wants to do your program is the right kind of person.

    If they’re not, you can refer them to another coach or practitioner, or simply tell them that you don’t think you can give them the right sort of help.

    Imagine yourself as the client – would you rather someone be honest up front, or find out half way through a program that this isn’t really your jam? 

    In marketing, this process is often referred to as ‘creating touch points’ because the more interactions you have with clients, the more easily they will build trust and potentially buy.

    I want to challenge that idea and flip it on it’s head.

    I prefer to call this process as Chemistry 101 because the clearer you are about what you do and who you serve, the more enjoyable your business will be, the more enriching your work, and the more satisfied your clients will be and the better results they will get.

    It just makes sense.

    Establish Working Hours

    I often see exhausted coaches who are working scattered hours, nights and weekends, trying to fit clients in at any given time slot. These coaches have no down time and are constantly thinking about work.

    Imagine how hard it is to coach when you feel like that!

    It’s so important to optimise your energy and set boundaries that allow you to do that.

    Here are two things to think about.

    1. Working Hours

    Think about a big store like Harvey Norman. They advertise specific opening and closing hours. You can’t buy a dining room table at 9pm on a Sunday!

    Establishing set working hours is setting a boundary. 

    Right now, you’re probably saying to yourself, ‘yeah, but I might lose clients if I am strict with my working hours!’

    Here’s the truth.

    When you work with low chemistry clients, they tend to be the types of clients who are too busy, cancel repeatedly, aren’t committed, can’t fit you in and turn up late, or want you to work odd hours. 

    Here’s the truth.

    When you work with low chemistry clients, they tend to be the types of clients who are too busy, cancel repeatedly, aren’t committed, can’t fit you in and turn up late, or want you to work odd hours. 

    You end up running yourself ragged trying to keep up with their demands and changing goal posts.

    On the other hand, when you work with high chemistry clients, then your availability will probably align with theirs. They will show up on time, every time, and only cancel if something unforeseen and major happens. They are more willing to negotiate the session times and find something to suit.

    Why?

    BECAUSE of the chemistry – and the value they place on your service, and the respect they have for you.

    2. Non Working Hours

    Here’s the second part of that. Having dedicated, not-negotiable time off from work is setting a boundary.

    Why?

    Because if you are constantly working, not sleeping well, giving up fun for the sake of your business and clients, you’ll feel tired and start feeling resentful, disillusioned and you may start questioning your ability.

    I’ve seen this way too often.

    When you set a boundary around your time off, it shows off your integrity. It positions you as a role model for work life balance. It commands respect.

    And more importantly, it gives you the opportunity to rest, relax and replenish your energy so that you can show up and be your best for your high chemistry clients.

    Those are the people you value, and want to serve best. You can only do that if you take adequate time off.

    By serving yourself in this way, you are serving your clients and offering them premium value – your best self. 

    Do What You’re Good At, Let Go of The Rest

    Do you know anybody who is good at EVERYTHING?

    I don’t.

    As a small business owner, one of the boundaries you might need to set for yourself is to focus on doing what you’re good at, and say no to the things you don’t do well. 

    You might tell yourself you can’t afford to outsource things, or to buy systems that do it for you, but here’s a different perspective.

    How do you feel when you are constantly doing things that you don’t enjoy, aren’t skilled at and don’t do very well?

    How does that energy affect the running of your business and servicing customers?

    I offer that by investing in the right support, you will more likely do a better job servicing customers and getting referrals as a result.

    You will stop wasting hours on Canva, or Facebook, or MailChimp, or any other thing that you wish you could do, but can’t master, and you will have heaps more time to do important business building activities like networking, blogging or interacting in groups.

    This was a turning point in my coaching business.

    As soon as I outsourced design work, Facebook ads and email campaigns, I stopped spending money on courses I never finished and then felt irritated about spending on.

    I stopped stressing about getting things done, or taking hours to do something that takes someone else minutes.

    I figured it was way easier to pay someone $70 to do a task in one hour, rather than me spending several hours over several days, procrastinating and feeling overwhelmed that it wasn’t right, didn’t look good or might not work. For ALL of that time, I was useless to everyone and not coaching at capacity.

    I can’t express what a relief it was to find someone who was like me (a high chemistry contractor) to turn my ideas in reality before I’d had a chance to even transfer the money.

    Setting that boundary with myself was SO worth it.

    And even if you can do it all, it doesn’t mean that you should.

    Summary

    Today we discussed three areas for setting boundaries in business that will make a big difference to your energy, motivation, self-confidence and ability to show up for your client.

    Those boundaries are:

    1. Only working with high chemistry clients
    2. Establish working hours, and
    3. Do what you’re good at, let the rest go.

    Think about your own business situation and imagine what would happen if you started moving toward these boundaries?

    Setting boundaries in business will make a big difference to your energy, motivation, self-confidence and ability to show up for your client.

    How would you feel if you could operate like this?

    What might open up for you?

    What else could change?

    I invite you to consider what’s possible, and to map out a couple of first steps you can take to get there over the next 8 weeks, so you can regain control, confidence and create cash flow and better-served clients in your business.

    Ready to strike the right balance?

    Being clear about your boundaries will give you more time and improve what you are able to offer. 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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    Episode 113: The Benefits of Boundaries

    Today we’ll discuss how setting boundaries around your habits, and meet your own needs first, can lead to integrity, feeling happier with life, and finding greater meaning and purpose.

    Do you have one of those friends who seems to be ‘disciplined’ and ‘motivated’ to do their exercise, not work weekends, prepare their meals and spend time supporting their community – and wondered just how they manage to do it?

    Do you wish you could be more like that yourself?

    In this episode, I am going to unpack this with you, and talk about how learning to set healthy boundaries can create a more fulfilling, authentic and purposeful life.

    Values, beliefs, standards come first

    Let’s set the scene by recapping the last episode.

    When you know who you are and what you want, and what’s important to you – that is, when you are clear on your identity, values and opinions – then it’s easy to define your own related standards of behaviour and living.

    For example your values around health and community might mean you’re committed to walking every day no matter what, exercising 3-4 days per week at the gym no matter what, and being active in networks and groups for causes that matter to you.

    With those standards clearly in your mind, you can more easily identify what you want to say no to, and how to set boundaries with other people.

    It’s clear that if you want to walk daily no matter what, you’ll say no to things that get in the way. You’ll feel motivated to do it and will set yourself up for success. It’s unlikely that you’d go into work early and miss your walk, or that you’d sleep in and not be bothered.

    Or if you want to spend quality time with your kids on the weekend no matter what, you’ll more easily say no to social events, switch off from work and complete chores during the week so that you have the time available for the kids.

    These are just a couple of examples of what standards and related boundaries might look like.

    Notice how strongly held values and beliefs set you up for consistent behaviour in the areas that matter most to you.

    What does this tell you about becoming that disciplined, motivated person?

    What I see in these examples – and in the thousands of hours of coaching I’ve done – is that if you want to become a certain way, you can get there by digging into your values, purpose, meaning and beliefs.

    When you understand and change your mind, it’s a catalyst for massive changes in your life. 

    If you’re on the fence with this – wanting to make change but unsure about whether it’s worth it, or too hard, or that you might fail, let’s examine what it takes to get there.

    The ‘Do Nothing’ Approach

    Firstly, let’s talk about the do nothing approach. 

    We know that the human brain is wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. 

    That is, our brains tend to believe something is impossible if we lack proof – that is, if you’ve never tried or if you have failed in the past.

    In those circumstances, you let your brain’s natural response take over, then you get to stay where you are in the safe, comfortable and familiar – even if it’s unsatisfying and unfulfilling.

    But what happens if you choose the ‘do something’ approach?

    What if you decide to do the work on your mind, to understand your values, examine and shift your beliefs and change your standards of behaviour, and start setting healthy boundaries around your new behaviours?

    What You Might Say No To

    Setting boundaries around new behaviours, so that they can become entrenched, automatic habits, probably means you’ll have to say no to some things.

    For starters, you might have to say no to yourself. Let’s look at how this might play out in three different areas – health, work and relationships.

    If it’s health behaviours that you’re working on, then you might have to set boundaries by saying no to sleeping in, that extra drink, the second serving of dessert, the block of rocky road chocolate, staying up late to watch Netflix, or that big boozy party the night before a big presentation at work.

    What would you be missing out on if you said no? 

    Well, you’d be missing out on stress, excess weight, insomnia, food cravings, tiredness, indifference and sluggishness.

    If it’s work-related behaviours that you’re working on, then you might have to set boundaries by saying no to working after hours and on weekends, your big to-do list, and messaging clients at all hours of the day, night and weekend. Maybe you’ll have to say no to those coaching clients who want you to do sessions with them at 9pm Wednesday, or 7am Sunday  morning. You might have to accept that you’re not superhuman after all. 

    What would you be missing out on if you said no, and set boundaries around your work behaviours?

    Strongly held values and beliefs set you up for consistent behaviour in the areas that matter most to you.

    You would probably miss out on competing priorities, disorganisation, overwhelm, stress, resentment, frustration, impatience, procrastination, self-doubt, anxiety, insomnia and feelings of helplessness.

    If it’s behaviours in relationships that you’re working on, then you might have to say no to requests for help, the demands of others, tantrums, engaging in pointless arguments, and giving all your time and energy to others.

    What would you be missing out on if you said no, and set boundaries within your relationships?

    You’d miss out on a range of things including fear of judgement, being affected by criticism, toxic situations, eroded self-confidence, diminished self-worth. 

    In addition, no matter which area you’re working on, by making change, you will probably lose overwhelm, fear, self-doubt and anxiety.

    All of those things are borne in your mind, after all, and by working on your mind you will reduce the spring of negative thinking patterns that currently hold you back and start standing up for yourself, meeting your own needs and feeling better about yourself.

    What You Stand to Gain

    If you do this work, what do you stand to gain?

    Let’s look at those three areas – health, work and relationships.

    In terms of health, by setting boundaries around your new habits, you’d create the space to be consistent with those new healthy habits so you’d become more self-confident in the first instance because you’d be winning and improving. 

    You’d start losing weight. Your skin would look better. You’d be energised, feeling alive and vital. Your eyes would be sparkling. 

    You’d feel lighter, freer. You’d be happier within yourself because of the investment in yourself. 

    You’d gain a sense of self respect, hope and optimism. You’d feel more in control of yourself, more assertive, and your confidence would build. You’d gain a sense of gratitude, and an abundance of energy and love that you could then give back to others.

    In terms of work, by setting boundaries around your working hours and other work-related behaviours, you’d create the space to be more efficient, saving lots of time and probably money, too.

    You’d feel more relaxed and in control as a result. That means you’d probably perform better at work, finding more creative headspace and presence to bring to your clients. You’d serve them better, and they’d feel better around you, and likely get better outcomes.

    You’d get more done in less time, attract more business, and be able to grow your business for greater impact and income.

    In terms of relationships, by setting boundaries you’d gain more respect from others. You’d be less affected by the opinions of others, and feel more confident about who you are and your value. 

    You’d feel calmer and better able to respond to other people rather than reacting, and you’d be able to disengage from toxic situations, and handle conflict in a more balanced way. You’d be sleeping better at night. 

    In all of these cases, there might be some break-ups as the differences in your values become clear. The people who are not your people may rebel against your changes, like the ‘old you’ better, or be upset that you’re no longer investing so much in their demands.

    But trust me – you’d feel ok about that – because you’ve probably had enough of feeling worn down by the demands of people that you may not like, agree with or want to spend time with.

    And no matter which area you’re working on, by making change, you will probably gain clarity, certainty, confidence, a sense of identity, meaning, purpose, inspiration and motivation. You will feel challenged, accomplished, satisfied and content.

    Summary

    There’s a lot to think about here. 

    The question to ask yourself is this – if you were to start setting clear boundaries, how would your life be different?

    What could be possible for your own health?

    What might happen at work?

    How might your relationships change?

    When you understand and change your mind, it’s a catalyst for massive changes in your life. 

    A couple of things are clear – when you start setting boundaries around your new habits, and meet your own needs first, then you are better equipped to act with integrity, to feel happier with life, and to find more meaning and purpose.

    If you need help with your identity, values or boundaries, then hit up my contact page and waitlist for a short course I’m developing, called ‘Get To Know Yourself and Build Integrity.’ It’s a 21 day program for people who need some guidance to do this important work.

    Ready to work on your boundaries?

    Setting boundaries can give you more time to do what feels good and meaningful to you. 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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    Episode 111: Succession Planning

    Early succession planning – that is, planning the way you will run your business and gradually transition out of it or sell it – has lots of great benefits. Here are FIVE that I can think of.

    Today, I’m going to start with the end. And the reason is that when you’re thinking about exiting your business, after many years of service, or even just a few years, that is, you might be selling your shares out, or you might be selling your business to another company or an individual.

    Then, as part of that, you’ll naturally be tidying things up and positioning your company to be really attractive to buyers, or to be able to hand the business over in a really seamless way. As part of that process, you need to be making sure that all of your systems are in place working well, you’re making sure that your business is running properly, and that all of the policies, procedures and financials are in order.

    It’s not like selling a house, when you make the decision to sell him at least cleaning up waiting the garden planting and renovating so that you can put your best foot forward and make the house attractive to buy, hopefully for a high price of what it’s worth.

     And when it comes to business, sure, you could do it that way. You could say, well, we’re ready to sell it. Now let’s improve everything. You could do that without any planning.

    But I want to explain why early succession planning is important. And I would say exceptional, and how it might just change a whole lot of things for you and your business. So let’s ask the question and answer the question: Why should I succession plan early?

    Early succession planning or planning the way that you’ll run your business and gradually transition out of it or sell it has a lot of great benefits, and here are five that I can think of.

    1. It gives you focus and intention.

    Having the focus of preparing your business for eventual sale helps you to bring a stronger intention to the way that you run your business.

    You’ll be focused on being professional proactively.  You’re very clear on this long term vision. It means that you’re more likely to put purposeful steps in place to succeed and to reach that goal.

    You’ll be motivated to develop a clear plan of building and maintaining strong foundational systems, policies and procedures that will ultimately make it really easy for you to hand your business over someone else when it’s time.

    In the meantime, it will also help you to run your business more efficiently and to take holidays when you need to. With good systems policies and procedures in place, almost any qualified person should be able to step in and hold the fought. And that’s one of the indicators that your systems in your business are robust.

    As the E-Myth author Michael Gerber says  – systems drive the business and people drive the systems.

    So get that set set up right and you’ve heard a lot of value to business.

    2. Early succession planning helps you to create and really feel that belief in the value of what you’re doing.

    Think about it, your goal is to create a business that offers value to the customers, and the more valuable your services and products are to your customers, it will be so much easier for you to sell your business later, or hand it over to management teams as you prepared an exit.

    By purposely creating value for your customers, building on the value of the systems that you’ve set up, you’re going to feel good about your business. You’ll feel more confident about what you do and you’ll have a true sense of the value of your business in and of itself and to the world.

    You’ll be striving for quality and impact and that will in turn attract more customers and more profit.

    It’s just going to be an upward spiral of you really feeling like your business is truly worth something. And that will make it easy to ask for what it’s worth at the time, the right sale price.

    3.It helps you to enjoy the journey of running a business.

    It helps you to think about how you’d like to live your life in the future and how you might need to evolve on the journey to get there.

    You might ask well, why is that important? Simply because most people spend their time focusing on what they’re doing right now in the immediate future without any regard to them. Then they get to retirement age and realize that they don’t have a plan. They realize that they’ve worked hard and work has been in life often at the expense of the hobbies and the health fitness, possibly also family friends sanity. Why work long and hard in order to retire, but then just finish up all broken with no energy left?

    Early succession planning is a tool to help you keep focused on your vision of a future balance life of what your retirement is going to look like, and  it helps you to proactively create and update visions for your business in your life and plans to get there.

    So you’re progressively spending less time on work more time enjoying your life, and gradually over a period of time putting people and systems in place to take over some of the tasks so that you can gradually move towards that really pleasurable, healthy retirement. And when you operate like that, you’ll never get stale, you’ll always be having something to work towards.

    That’s exciting, something to look forward to. And you’re more likely to enjoy your work and have enough time for yourself. So there’s a lot of balance to be had.

     4. It gives you a reason to start your business and give it a shot.

    If you know that there’s a financially viable exit plan ahead of you. You know that if you no longer want to do business or you’re bored with it, you’ve got an option. Think about how much a new business owner in your industry would love the ease and confidence walking into a ready  set up operational business that was systemized and you could create that.

    And if you approach your business from your mindset, in the beginning, it makes you probably take a more balanced view of things and be more intentional and purposeful about creating a business, without getting caught up in that typical startup self taught like, “what if I don’t like it,” or “I’ll just give it a bit of a go and see how it turns out.”

    Obviously having those sorts of thoughts means that your business won’t succeed, because you’re going to approach it with a half hearted attitude. But if you have the confidence for security of knowing that you could sell your business or lock it up, license it out for other coaches to use, it shines a whole new perspective on things.

    And it can give you the impetus to give your best shot and make it work right from the get go.

     

    5. It means less stress for you for you.

    I think that one of the best parts of having a succession plan in place is that you’re going to be allowing yourself progressively more time over a period of years to work on the business rather than in it in an uninterrupted way.

    Think of it this way, when you’re in a solo business on your own and you start your business with a big picture strategy in mind, it’s easy to get bogged down in all of the day to day detail of running all of the aspects of your business yourself.  You end up working all day, every day in well into the night. You need to stop doing that , and make plan to step away from that work ethic because it’s just goin to burn you out.

    A succession plan gives you a framework for progressively extracting yourself from a day to day grind, and what you’re doing is bringing in others to do some of the work for you. It could be outsourcing, or hiring people, contractors or employees, or perhaps automating some of the work or building in leverage.

    When you do that, it means it you’ll be able to step away from people focused on the day to day work that you’re doing and do work on the business.

    When you’re working on the business, it means you’re able to continue adding value to it, which is just going to build profit margins income and enhance the value of your business when it comes down to sell it.

    I could go on there are many more benefits like certainty about the future, confidence in what you’re doing, clarity on your direction, clarity on who your best strategic partners are going to be, and clarity on what you shouldn’t do, because it’s not part of the plan and it doesn’t align with your goals.

    But I’ve just mentioned five benefits for early succession planning today. And there are others that I didn’t go into today.

    So what does succession planning actually look like?

    I’m going to keep it fairly big picture so you get a bit of an idea and I succession planned out of my business in Perth, and over a two year period.

    I founded the company co founded it with someone else. And after 13 and a half, 14 years in the business. I knew everything about the company. So I wasn’t just going to walk away.

    I had my lifestyle – my new life, I should say – planned out as a sea change. And over two years, I made progressive moves to work myself out the business.

    I suggest that you keep a really simple and use the framework, if you’re starting out have a five year plan or a 10 year plan, or at a minimum two or three years if you’re in a workplace or a job or business right now that you’d like to get out of and move to something else.

    Write it down two pieces of paper. If you’re new in business, or if you’re in a job, start by mapping out the next two years of productivity, quality revenue or other income goals that you need to have any plan to achieve them. For me, I knew that when I sold my shares and business I would have a certain amount of money I had to save, so that I could have a buffer and then be able to move.

    So it’s easy to put away savings over three or four or five years to do that. And then to gradually succession plan out, and have financial stability when you make a plan like that.

    So mapping out what those income productivity or quality goals in your business or your workplace are is the first step. And you need to identify that tipping point at which you could start to outsource your tasks, employ staff or start to automate areas of business by upgrading systems or creating rich service products.

    Typically, a tipping point would be that you reach a certain amount of revenue in your business, and you have six months or more of future work ahead of you. When you’re at that kind of steady level of performance, it’s probably a good time to think about what happens next.

    So that could be the first page and on the second page, you can map out some key criteria and a bit of a timeline towards succession planning yourself out of business. Some of the things you might want to write down are what sort of take home income you would need each year for years 3,4,5 or longer, based on your current lifestyle and commitments that might require you to do a budget income budget to see how much you’re actually spending. And this is something that my husband did, we created an Excel sheet and we logged everything we spent in that sheet per month. We set up a budget for every nine year living, and we stuck to a budget, knowing that we would still be stepping away from big salaries into a low income situation for at least a year

    . So that was stepping out of a job and into the unknown. But if you are selling out of your business, you might just be thinking about how much revenue your business would need to generate. If you remained a partner, or perhaps if you sold it, what do you need to sell it for. So thinking about your income needs as the platform for that.

    You also want to think about how much how you would maintain revenue in the business if you started to spend less time with it. And usually, as I’ve already mentioned, that means you’re going to be hiring staff, upgrading your system so that businesses more automated before requiring less manual work. Or perhaps you’re starting to really to more leveraged business model or leveraged income products.

    If you’re going to do any of those, you’d need to think about which the best one would be to fit your business and then how much time and money you’d need to set those things up. That might require a little bit of research or to ask someone’s opinion. But after working in your business for two or three years, you should have a pretty good idea of the options available to you.

    The last thing to think about is whether you would sell your business outright or simply hire people to run it for you so that you still maintained a stake in it.

    So you might need to think about who might need to be upskilled or brought in to step into the leadership business. This might be especially the case if you’re planning on selling it too, because they’re going to need to know how to run the business. And often in the transfer business, there is a period of training and bringing the new person up to speed with things. So you want to have some pretty good training manuals and operating procedures and those sorts of systems in place. Also, you could start to think about how many hours a week you’d be working in business in year 3, 4 and  five or beyond. So you’re gradually and progressively working less and handing over that period. So identify some key dates typical, it’s useful.

    Then you have the succession plan. You could define an end date if you wanted, or you could make a date to define the index.

    So let’s summarize what I’ve talked about today.

    I decided to talk about succession planning. And mainly from the point of view that a lot of people who started businesses get scared of doing their best in their business. They say what if I like it, or what if I can’t make it. And that way of thinking about it is going to set you up to fail.

    Marketing and making friends follow roughly the same sort of process. You have to have some general conversation to build trust and rapport over a period of time – at least a few months – before you can expect anything in return. You need to give first in order to receive, as Stephen Covey would say.

    Early succession planning helps you to create and really feel that belief in the value of what you’re doing.

    But when you think about your exit plan from the beginning, you can see beyond that mindset, you can create an exciting vision with minimal goals for yourself. And you can get past those mental challenges. You could put a lot of effort and energy into doing great business making it a profitable businesses, that’s highly efficient and systemized. And then it’s ready for sale.

     It makes sense for a whole bunch of reasons to succession plan from the beginning. And if this is something that you’d like to talk about, or get help with, hit my website up. Hit me up on the contact page on my website and just send me an email. I’ll be happy to talk to you about what succession planning in your business.

     

    Need to move forward with succession planning?

    Simple changes to your business like this can be life changing! 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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    Episode 109: Overdrinking Coaching with Sarah Rusbatch

    Today I interview Sarah Rusbatch about alcohol consumption and how and why she is developing her coaching business in this space.

    Melanie: Hi, Suzanne, lovely to have you here on the podcast today.

    Sarah: Hi, Melanie, it’s lovely to be here.

    Melanie: Thank you, and I’m really interested in talking to you, because you’re developing your coaching business at the moment, and you have a niche that you’re quite connected with, and it sounds like you’re very passionate about making a difference in this area. So, I thought it would be a great way to illustrate one of the many ways that coaching can be applied and also to find out a little bit more about your vision, and we’d like to take your business. Does that sound okay?

    Sarah: Yeah, sure, that’s fine.

    Melanie: Alright, so could you tell us a little bit about your niche to start with?

    Sarah: Sure. So my niche is working predominantly with women because I guess that’s what relates to my own story. That’s where I can kind of picture my ideal clients sort of being in that same area as where I was, who have got to a point where perhaps they’re drinking more than they want to. They’re drinking to a point that isn’t making them feel so good about themselves anymore, but because we do live in such an alcohol centric society, it’s actually really hard to, to stop doing that when it’s become quite a habit. When it’s become something that everyone around you is doing all of the time, and that everyone expects you to be doing when you’re socializing. It’s something that I addressed in myself, I stopped drinking about 18 months ago.

     

    Sarah: And it really did have a massive impact on my life in so many ways, and I’m now really passionate about spreading that word and letting people know that there is actually another way to live.  Of course, I appreciate that for some people, they’re absolutely happy with the level that they’re drinking, and they don’t want to change that. Of course, I’m not preaching and that’s definitely not my philosophy. But when I was contemplating and giving up alcohol, I didn’t have anyone at that point talking in the way that I’m talking now and showing me the way I had to really look for that. So I want to be that person for other people who perhaps do want a bit of help and a bit of support with addressing how much they’re drinking and how to reframe that.

    Melanie: Right. And as you describe that I’m hearing, it’s clearly not somebody who’s ready for Alcoholics Anonymous, and it’s not somebody that’s enjoying a bit of social drinking. It’s somebody that you said, I think is feeling like within themselves, they are just drinking a little bit too much and it’s having an impact on how they feel about themselves.

    Sarah: And it’s something that’s where I’m from in the UK, it’s been talked about a lot, and they call it an alcohol use disorder, or grey area drinking. So it’s that whole area where people don’t identify themselves perhaps as alcoholics, which I think is a whole other conversation of what IS an alcoholic. But I think that people who are not drinking every single day, they don’t have a physical dependence to drink every single day, but they are definitely drinking more than the recommended guidelines. And they’re definitely using alcohol as a crutch to perhaps help either relieve stress or escape emotions that they’re feeling that they don’t want to be feeling, or finding that once they start drinking, they really struggled to stop, and they’re always having more than they ever set out or intended to for that kind of area, which is definitely where I was before I thought.

    Melanie: Okay, so it’s just that little bit past the comfortable level, and noticing that it is a problem. And I think one other thing I heard you say was that they’re people who are going out socially, and there are these expectations of others that perhaps they don’t know how to manage. They don’t know how to set boundaries, in a social context, perhaps.

    Sarah: That was one of the hardest things for me was how other people reacted to me, and I was really shocked. I didn’t think it was anybody else’s business, or that anyone would be in any way concerned as to whether I was drinking or not. But they really were, and people had a lot to say on the matter. And I would get told, “let’s catch up when you’re drinking again”, and “when are you going to stop being so boring?” Yeah, things along those lines. And because I think that we are just in a society where it is just expected that any social occasion will have alcohol. And I think that there’s a stigma around if you don’t have alcohol, you’re not going to have a good time. And that’s what I’m really keen to show people that you can still have a really active and full social life without alcohol.

    Melanie: Mmm, interesting. And how did she feel when people were saying those things to you?

    Sarah: Horrified. It was… it was really hard. It’s hard to, to not drink. And it’s really hard when your friends are making you feel like they don’t approve of you not drinking, and they’re not being fully supportive. There was a lot of debate around, a lot of people would say to me: “but why don’t you just have one?” I was like, “Well, A why is it any of your business, whether I have one or not? And B and I’ve never been someone that really wanted to ever just have one.” Like, I’ve always loved having a few drinks, and I’ve always had one or two more and more. And for me, it was so much easier to have none than to just have one or two. But people… some people just really didn’t get that at all.

    Melanie: It’s interesting, isn’t it? It says more about them than it does about you. It’s they’re uncomfortable with you’re not drinking, and they feel like they need to do something to make themselves feel better, is how I kind of look at that.

    Sarah: Yeah, absolutely.

    Melanie: Yeah, I can think of two occasions a bit like that, that stand out for me and not for me directly, but with others. I remember maybe seven or eight years ago when Facebook groups were first a thing, I was in this group called “Clean Eating”, I think it was called. And one of the moderators came into the group, and she had 30,000 members, it was a huge group. And she said she’d gone out on the weekend and said she didn’t want to drink and was trying to drink less alcohol. And one of the friends said, “What are you pregnant?” And “what’s wrong with you?”, “Why aren’t you drinking?” and “What’s wrong with you?” And I thought, wow, that’s that’s amazing. And  then we had this whole discussion on the thread about judgment. And then, more recently, one of my clients stopped drinking for eight weeks, because she was eating a special way trying to lose some weight. And one of her friends was pressuring her and saying, “Why are you drinking?” And she said, “Well, I don’t want to drink for eight weeks.” And she said, “Well, why not? Why can’t you just have one?” – that same thing you’ve said, and she was saying: “Because I don’t want to.” And they ended up having a falling out. They’d been friends for 20 years. And the friend could not accept that her friend was not drinking for eight weeks. Yeah, she took it personally. It was incredible.

    Sarah:  Yep. And I just wasn’t expecting that, when I stopped drinking. It was it was my journey, and my thing. And in quite a lot of sober groups that I in, people say, well, if you turn around and said that you were stopping smoking, people would be like, “Good on you! Well done!” Or if you said, “I’m giving up cocaine,” I would be like, “Well, good for you.” As soon as you say alcohol, it’s the only thing that you can give up and people say “Oh go on!” It’s quite astonishing, isn’t it?

    Melanie: I agree. And actually, to be fair, I have heard this same conversation in my in my weight loss program that I’ve run in the past where people would come in and say, “I don’t eat that food” or “I don’t want any cake,” and people say “Go on, Just a skinny slice won’t hurt… why no? What’s wrong with you?”And so I’ve have heard that’s similar conversation around food. And once again, I think it’s more about the person who is not is eating the food or drinking the drink that feels uncomfortable about are now it’s just me, they’ve got no one to share the guilt, as I call it.

    Sarah: Absolutely, absolutely. And at the beginning, I used to have to kind of get my readymade little black book of excuses, though, that I was prepared for when I would start to get grilled and sometimes I couldn’t be bothered. And I’ll just say “I’m on antibiotics.” Or I’d say “I’m training for a triathlon.” And “I just don’t want to drink for a little while because I’ve got to get up early to train.” But I just got to the point where I was like, why should I be having to justify in that way and actually lie about the fact that I just don’t want to drink just so others can accept my reason? If it’s a reason that they can understand that they’re okay with it. But if you’re just saying I’m choosing not to drink, a lot of people don’t understand that.

    Melanie: It’s almost like just saying “no thanks,” is really all you need to say, I guess is what you’re saying.

    Sarah: Yeah. So that was definitely an interesting part of the process for me.

    Melanie: And what sorts of symptoms were you experiencing? Like, if you’re thinking about the types of people you’re working with? And they are, where you were in the past? What sorts of things would they be noticing as signs or symptoms that they need to do something or that they are ready to do something?

    Sarah: Yeah, so I think for me, and as soon as I hit 40, it was that typical thing of I started to get really bad hangovers. I’ve never really got hangovers in my 20s and 30s. I had pretty much sail through it. And then it was as if I as soon as I hit 40 I started to get really bad hangovers. It was really affecting my sleep. So I would just have even just having two glasses of wine, I would be awake at 3am and just restless and just couldn’t get back to sleep. And depending on how much I had had to drink, I might have a dry mouth need to get up and have water, but it was really affecting me. And I’m someone that really needs my sleep. So that was having been a real negative impact the next day because I was tired and grumpy. I definitely started to feel a little bit depressed The next day, which I’d never had before, I would have a bit of anxiety. And I would sometimes worry about what I’d said the night before. And I would sit kind of ruminating over it, which I’ve never done before. And it was just something that just in my 40s It felt like it had gone from drinking had been something that had been fun, and something that I did with all of my friends. But then I could see that my body was starting to give me signs that that there had to be some other way.

    And I just felt like even just having a small amount of alcohol, I would feel so rubbish the next day, and I wasn’t being the mom that I wanted to be I wasn’t being the wife that I wanted to be. I was kind of getting through the weekend, but not being present in the weekend, if that makes sense. And then it would be back to school back to work.

    I never really drank during the week. So that was that. But you’re so busy, you know, keeping your head above water with kid’s activities and work and pick up and everything else. So the week would go by and then it would be the weekend again. And there has to be another way to live than just having this low level feeling of a bit of anxiety, a bit of depression and bad sleep tired making bad food choices, because I was a little bit hungover. So not eating the food that I wanted to be eating that I knew made me feel good. Then with that came a bit of guilt. So all of that started to happen and that was when I kind of had those first signs of going, maybe this the alcohol is the thing that needs to change, because everything led back to that.

    Melanie: It’s interesting, you mentioned food, there was the food or consequence of being too tired to want to make healthy food? Or was that while you were drinking, you are making unhealthy choices or combination or something different?

    Sarah: No, it was definitely the next day. So I was never someone that ate and drank at the same time – I just drank. So I wasn’t someone who would sit, you know and get out all the biscuits and the crisps. Alcohol just never made me hungry. Whereas I know with others, they get munchies and chips. But for me it was the next day. And maybe because I hadn’t eaten much like before. And the next day, I would just crave really bad food. And because I was tired and feeling a bit rubbish I couldn’t not give into that craving. And so it was, you know, eating the foods that I would never normally eat, and that that didn’t make me feel good about myself either.

    Melanie: Mm hmm. Yeah, I can relate to that. I can think of times where I’ve, but but not exactly that way, like the next day, I may not eat that well. But for me when I have too much alcohol, then I want carbs, I want sugar, which obviously makes the sleep worse. So I remember even as a young person drinking one night with my boyfriend, and we’d had a full dinner, it was midnight, and I ate a whole family pizza to myself.

    Sarah: Yeah.

    Melanie: At midnight, like, that’s a lot of pizza. And yeah, I just had this intense craving for carbs  – I couldn’t stop eating it, I was so full, but I just kept going and going. And I think part of it was that maybe the lack of inhibition around the alcohol, which is something you’ve alluded to in it maybe in social context as well. But then this craving as well as not having an off switch was a diabolical combination.

    Sarah: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely.

    Melanie: And so how much do you think? Well, maybe it’s not possible to put a limit on our amount on it, but what does somebody in this zone actually drink? Is it… How many standard drinks a day? Or is it sit number days? Or does it not really matter is in a particular trend you’ve noticed?

    Sarah: I don’t think it matters. I think it just is whatever is the number for you. That is crossing the line of being taking you feeling comfortable and happy with how much you’re drinking to the point where it’s having a terrible effect, and that might that number will be different for everyone. And some people drink every single day and a bottle or two of wine a night. Some people might only drink on a Friday and have two or three bottles and then feel so terrible for the three days after. So I don’t think there’s any rule around that.

    I think it’s just when you are questioning yourself. Am I drinking too much? That probably means you are if it’s even come up as a question at all.

    Melanie: Yeah, that’s a great, great way of looking at a great indicator is your own concern that you feel yourself stretched outside your Yeah, healthyzone ort your comfortable zone or whatever that is. And I heard you say earlier you’d have a couple of glasses of wine only and then not be able to sleep from three o’clock. Yeah, so that’s an indication to I guess there’s also as you’re in that, or if you’re in that perimenopause, or menopause age, you’ve got all of this other stuff going on. And it just seems to compound things like the hot flashes. I know if I have alcohol, one glass of anything. I’m gonna get hot that night, at least once my cup of tea flushed.

    Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. ‘ve just finished reading a book on perimenopause that pretty much says that if you want to kind of have the least impact of some of those symptoms, then cutting out alcohol is one of the first things to do. Because when your hormones are so imbalanced, and your body just can’t also cope with having to break down the alcohol that you’re taking in, and that will then have, you know, more of a knock on effect on things like hot flashes, and impact of sleep, impacting mood, things like that.

    Melanie: It’s quite an important time of life, I suppose to I mean, if you’re going through hormonal changes, and that’s women and men go through menopause, you know, in their 40s, or 50s. You kind of feel like you’re at a crossroads, you’re saying: “Am I going to continue doing what I’m doing and head down the path of setting myself up for chronic disease? Or am I going to take the initiative now and nip things in the bud?”

    What are your thoughts on that?

    Sarah: I totally agree. And I think that most people who I know, who are asking themselves that question are in their 40s, or 50s and have just to have got to that point where perhaps the hangovers haven’t been as bad before, and then they’re starting to feel worse, or what might be a whole host of reasons… it might be that they’re wanting to lose weight, it might be in lots of different reasons. But it definitely has got to the point where alcohol is not serving them anymore in the way that it used to just be a fun social aid to increase your fun on a night out. It just then becomes a bit different, and you start to see the negatives of it, whereas before you haven’t.

    Melanie: Right, so that the negatives are starting to outweigh the positives. Yeah. Feel good in the moment and feel terrible for the next three days?

    Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. And that was one of my techniques, which now that I’ve started learning and doing the coaching qualification, I’ve realized I was using but I didn’t, couldn’t put it into words at the time, which was always talking that in many of those sober groups or playing it forward. So when you have that real craving of wanting to have a drink, play it forward, how are you going to feel that next morning, like when you wake up, with the hangover? You’re not going to get all the things done that you wanted to do, you’re going to feel all these different things. So that was always the thing that I would do was, you know, the cravings still come even now.

    And it’s been 18 months since I have a drink and you know, in a certain situation after that glass of wine now, but then all I have to do is think how nice it will be at three in the morning when you’re wide awake, and think about when the kids are jumping on the bed and think you know, and then when you start to do that you actually realize for the fleeting moment of happiness or joy or whatever it is that you get from that glass of wine… Is it worth it? And in the end, for me, it passed that tipping point where it wasn’t worth it.

    Melanie: So good. So you’re talking about really looking at the longer term gain rather than the short term? Fix or, or benefit? Yeah, yeah, looking longer term and how it’s affecting you.

    Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. But I wish that I’d had more support to articulate some of that when I was going through it. Because I’ve realized now through the coaching that I’ve been doing that that’s exactly what I was doing, and there’s so many of the coaching techniques that I’ve realized now can be applied to this situation. And that’s why it’s got me so passionate and excited about it, because I can see how much support it could give to other people who were in the same situation that I was.

    Melanie: Yeah, absolutely. And just building on that something you said is that you still have cravings now and I guess that what came to mind when you said that is that whole micro habits or atomic habits, as James Clear calls them. You know, if you think about something like smoking and all of the situations in which someone smokes, when they wake up after a meal when they’re drinking, when they’re stressed before bed, you know, there are all those little tiny situations where someone might be triggered to have a cigarette or want to crave one. And all of those are micro habits that need to be unraveled and rewired.

    And it’s the same with alcohol, right? You drink when you’re tired you drink when you’re stressed. You drink when you’re this or that and you get this immediate feeling good feeling and your brains fighting with you saying I want that good feeling and you’re going no you can’t have it and then there’s deprivation… but there are all of those many situations that you may not even realize are a trigger for you. Not just the visible ones, but the unconscious ones too. Right?

    Sarah: Absolutely. And I think that it’s the more that you practice –  we call it like flexing that silver muscle -it’s kind of like the more you practice “The Firsts” all those firsts – the first Christmas, the first holiday, the first girls night out, the first hen weekend, just any of those things. And once you get through it, it’s just another thing that you’ve done to kind of retrain your brain to, to condition yourself that you can go and do those things without alcohol and you can still have a really good time.

    Melanie: And so Suzanne, how are you feeling now that you’ve been sober for 18 months? What’s the difference in your life?

    Sarah: So many! So the differences are, I think we’ve lost a lot of weight because I haven’t had the Sunday morning trips to Maccas, for the Bacon and Egg Mcmuffins and the rest of it. So I think I’ve lost about 12 kilos now. And I have always been an an exerciser. But I am definitely getting more of the results from the exercise and enjoying it more. I think before I was exercising, as a kind of punishment for the alcoholics, you know what I mean?

    Whereas now I think I exercise as something that I just absolutely love and enjoy. I would say that I sleep so much better, I have more energy, and more present and more connected to my kids. I’ve done a lot more work on myself, to understand myself and what things trigger me and what doesn’t, because I think when you stop … And, and so, yeah, all around I’d say that I’m just a more content person than I was before.

    Melanie: It sounds like the only cost really has been that occasionally. There’s a sense of missing out. Absolutely.

    Sarah:  Yeah, and I have to make that decision.

    Melanie: It’s an interesting topic, and I love that you’re working in this space. I think so many people don’t have much else in their lives. And I remember it other than alcohol and social occasions around it. And I remember going to do a job once. And I met a girl who would who’s 18 and when there was a lull in conversation, she would start talking about this awesome time when she got so drunk and so sick. And so this and I thought “Is that all you got?” All she could talk about were all these famous war stories of when she’d drunk too much and vomited everywhere. And, yeah, that wow, that’s the conversation you’ve got. Yeah, you know, to me, that was a really important moment to say, do I want to be like that? Or I’ve been like that myself in the past and had that kind of a conversation. But to hearing it from the other side, I thought, yeah, I think I could aspire to something better.

    Sarah: And that was definitely it for me as well. I’m 42 years old, I thought,  is that all I’ve got? I just like going out and getting drunk on a Saturday afternoon is like, is that my hobby, like just drinking? And that was definitely, you know, a question to ask. Myself, and then stopping drinking, it’s definitely allowed me to explore the things that I love doing and want to do more of. I’m just devouring books all the time and, and lots of friends in my sober circles if have taken up theater, one has started learning tap dancing… people have gone back to uni, but like everyone is just having this whole new lease of life, energy and time that they just never had before.

    Melanie: And so I guess, apart from strategies that you would help people to discover and develop, I’m guessing a lot of your work is also helping people to build confidence and courage to set boundaries, to help them come up with safe ways to be a little bit uncomfortable in social situations and still feel okay about not drinking. And there would be a lot of work around that area I’d imagine.

    Sarah: There is and I think that if you’re prepared for the obstacle before it happens, you’re halfway there already. I definitely think that’s an area that I would be looking to help people identify what the obstacles will be before they reach them so that they’re better prepared to deal with them when they arrive.

    Melanie: And it makes me think that one of the great benefits is that you become a role model for others, and you help others find if you’re a non drinker in a social situation. It’s like you help others to find their voice and their courage to stand with you. If they’re kind of feeling the same. And you’re saying, hey, well, I’m not drinking tonight, but I’m still gonna have fun. That just might help somebody else who’s been feeling the same way. Right?

    Sarah: Yeah, and the massive sober community online, like through Instagram, and through various Facebook groups, I’ve met people who I’ve just instantly connected with I can reach out to them anytime. I’ve never met them in real life, but I’ve just been on such a journey with them over the last 18 months or so. And even if it’s not physical, but just knowing that there’s someone there that you can send a quick message and that that definitely helps.

    Melanie: And so Suzanne, thank you for explaining what you’re passionate about why and what difference it’s made to alive. And it’s really clear to me, and I hope to everyone that listens to this, how many ways people may need support, and now can get support going on a journey to drink less or to stop drinking. And so if people are interested in finding out more about what you do about joining your Facebook group, or getting on your email list, or whatever that is, what what’s the best place for them to go to get in touch?

    Sarah: So I’m running a challenge at the moment, sober October, and which is I think we’ve got about 3540 people in the challenge. Everyone’s been hugely supportive of each other, some people have never gone more than three or four days without alcohol before. So it’s their first time of doing something like this. So that’s called the SLR wellness, sober October challenge. And I’m on Instagram, SLR wellness. And then I’ve got a Facebook group called the Women’s Wellbeing Collective, and that group was looking at everything to do with health issues for women in their 40s. So that’s looking at pre menopause hormone imbalance, nutrition exercise, and then for those that want to talk about it, and the area of alcohol free as well.

    Melanie: Fantastic. So lots of ways that you’re available to get to know people and support them to get started on a journey of getting healthier. Thank you so much for being here today, Suzanne, and I’ll put all those links in the notes and hopefully, some people who are on the fence thinking about their relationship with alcohol, especially in the lead up to Christmas, they’re gonna reach out to you and have a chat.

    Where you can connect with Sarah:

    Sarah’s facebook group “the women’s wellbeing collective” – https://www.facebook.com/groups/342319476897067/?ref=share

    Link to sober October: SLR wellness sober October 2020 https://www.facebook.com/groups/870302750042381/?ref=share

    Link to the Perth meet up group for ladies who want to socialise without alcohol: SLR wellness Perth meet up group

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1093211501076062/?ref=share

    Link to Sarah’s Instagram page @slrwellness – install the app to follow her photos and videos.

    https://www.instagram.com/invites/contact/?i=jyvp6068ofy9&utm_content=gygtk7h

     

    Do you need support to change your life?

    Would you like to hear more about the Habitology membership? It could be the change you are looking for. Learn more here:

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    Episode 108: AmIOK?

    This episode is about taking care of your own mental well-being. 

     I want to start by talking about the RU OK campaign in Australia and then to talk about the need to manage our own mental well-being as well.

    RUOK?

    R U OK? is an organisation whose vision is a world where we’re all connected and are protected from suicide.

    Their mission is to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life.

    Their goals are to: 

    1. Boost our confidence to meaningfully connect and ask about life’s ups and downs
    2. Nurture our sense of responsibility to regularly connect and support others
    3. Strengthen our sense of belonging because we know people are there for us
    4. Be relevant, strong and dynamic

    I love that the RU okay campaign exists. It gives us all an opportunity to think about the people around us and consider how we can offer support. 

    It means that we are proactively reaching out to check in with people and to help them to speak up about what’s going on for them so they can get help.

    I had a conversation with somebody one-day who I knew was severely depressed and going through a major incident and I had reached out to say are you okay. 

    It was a difficult conversation because I hadn’t yet trained as a coach and this person was very upset but I was concerned about their mental well-being so I did the best that I could with the skills that I had at the time. 

    Months later that person phoned me and said they were considering suicide the day I had called – they were getting ready to do it – and the conversation we had stopped them from taking action and caused them to reach out for help. 

    Truly, I was taken aback that the conversation had had such a powerful impact on that person and it made me thankful that I’ve been able to help but also concerned about my skills and education and knowledge in this area.

    So where and how do you start getting these skills?

    What if you’re not a coach or working in a support capacity but want some basic understanding and skills?

    Mental Health First Aid

    It’s worth mentioning the mental first aid course.

    Several organisations deliver this course: Mental Health First Aid Australia says that: 

    Each year 1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental illness. Many people are not knowledgeable or confident to offer assistance. Physical first aid is accepted and widespread in our community, however most do not cover mental health problems. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) teaches people the skills to help someone who they’re concerned about.

    What About Me?

    All of this got me thinking recently about the fact that there are many campaigns that are outward directed – helping us to check in with the other people about their own mental health and well-being.

    But just as important is the ability to be self-aware and identify our own mental health challenges.

    As a coach, I know that one of the main reasons people hire coaches is simply that they lack self-awareness of how they are thinking and operating in the world, and what their habits are.

    People are either too busy to notice themselves and reflect on their behaviour, needs and wants, OR, they notice an issue coming up for themselves but say ‘she’ll be right, I’ll just push through.’

    The old ‘she’ll be right attitude’ is a mask that many Australians have been wearing for a long time.

    In either case, most people simply don’t know HOW to check in with themselves or to ask for help.

    They say, I’m okay, don’t worry about me, everything is fine. I don’t need any help, I’ll put on my big girl pants or I’ll pull up my boots and I’ll just get on with it. 

    I can totally see how we came to be that way. That attitude comes from the hands-on, roll-up-your-sleeves, hard-working people who founded modern society in our nation.

    Think about it – once upon a time, not that long ago, we were a nation of pioneers in a new country who travelled long distances, lived off the land and managed many hardships to establish towns and cities. We were the kind of people that pitched in and did things and got on with things and to build a great nation.

    But these days, there is a changing of the guard.

    We have the rise of Gen Y (with more of a values focus, in my opinion) as dominant players in the workforce and leadership positions. 

    We have an increase in multiculturalism in our society, and a need to consider people with different cultures, ethics and values.

    And we are giving more attention to well-being, health and mindfulness. 

    With all of this going on, we are starting to realise that the old ‘she’ll be right attitude’ is a mask that many Australians have been wearing for a long time.

    The old stigma around mental health issues, not wanting to show any weakness or to be judged, has to come off.

    We have to learn how to ask for help.

    But first of all, we must be self-aware enough, to know when we need to get that help.

    AmIok – a new paradigm 

    I propose a concept that sits alongside RUOK, to acknowledge that it’s just as important to check in with yourself rather than to ignore the warning signs and push through. 

    I want to ask you to think about a new paradigm. 

    The AmIOK paradigm. 

    Certainly check in with the others and ask are you okay, but at the same time give yourself the attention to – how am I travelling? 

    Am I ok? 

    And if not, what do I need, how am I feeling, what’s my capacity, and what do I need to do differently? 

    I had this experience myself recently. 

    I noticed a few things were becoming difficult for me. 

    I was starting to avoid certain situations and certain tasks that I didn’t like. 

    Normally I can do tasks that I don’t like or don’t enjoy, but when I’m stressed, under a lot of pressure then I go into avoidance of those basic tasks. And to me that is a sign that I need to step back and check in with myself. 

    Other signs that I need a break or to get help are that my cooking is boring, I’m not sleeping well, and I feel frustrated, and starting to look for more coffee.

    Basically, I lose my enthusiasm and creativity. 

    When those things start to ebb, I know it’s time to take a break or to get help.

    Summary

    RUOK is a wonderful initiative that helps us to lower the risk and rate of suicide, by reaching out to others.

    It’s important to check in with yourself rather than to ignore the warning signs and push through. 

    Mental Health First Aid is a great training course to gain basic skills.

    I propose a new paradigm – AmIOK? – as a means of learning to give our own needs more attention and to get help sooner rather than later.

    Ready to pay more attention to your own needs?

    It’s OK to be not OK, but it doesn’t always have to be like that. If you need help to feel more in charge of your life, I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    Episode 107: Just-ification

    What you say to yourself matters. It has consequences. Learn how to rewire your reticular activating system in this episode for a calmer, less rushed, more grounded way of living.

    How are you going right now? How are you feeling?

    There’s been a lot going on in my life lately and it seems to be the same for a lot of people I’ve spoken to.

    Today I want to talk about a topic related to hard times, but that is also relevant at ANY time. 

    I want to help you to identify when you’re telling yourself some fibs, playing small and talking yourself into overwhelm, so you can quickly back out of that rabbithole and get back on track.

    Sound ok?

    What is Just-ification?

    A few years ago, I remember a point in the year and in my life where I was feeling low, harried, and overwhelmed.

    For a little while, everything felt hard.

    I felt swamped by urgent deadlines.

    I felt like I had to push through things and rush to get things done and meet targets.

    I was rushing from one appointment to the next, doing some things at the last minute, and racing out the door to simply meet friends for coffee!

    Yes, as you can see, the key theme here was feeling pressured and rushed.

    Of course, if you’ve listened to my previous episodes, you know that this stuff that we ‘feel’ happens because of what we tell ourselves.

    And this is where I noticed something interesting about my language – when I felt like this, I was always using the word ‘just’. 

    I was saying things to myself and others, like:

    • I just need to finish this document (to justify my working late)
    • I just have to do this job, then I can come out and meet you for coffee
    • I will just squeeze in some quick emails in this 5-minute break before I have to leave for an appointment
    • I just need one more minute

    This pattern in my language, and variations on it, made me realise that they were metaphors for how I was living. 

    With most of the ‘just’ statements that I thought or verbalised, I was unwittingly loading myself up with JUST one more thing.

    And I was justifying behaviours that were causing me to rush through life and become overwhelmed and overloaded!

    I’m sure you can see the pattern.

    Do you do this too?

    Is your language full of just-ifications that are creating stress, unnecessary busy-ness, a sense of being rushed and pressured?

    Your Words Are Instructions

    Just-ification is a real thing (to me at least), and it has me wondering what other language clues there are to indicate when we are talking ourselves into stress, strain, drama or heaviness.

    What are you telling yourself about your business or your life?

    What are the words that you use regularly, and what do they mean to you?

    “Be careful of what you say, because your body will hear you and obey.”

    If you say openly that you are playing small, procrastinating, ‘not ready yet’, I can’t do that, I’m no good at that, or any version of this kind of self-talk, please be aware of the implications.

    When you say things to yourself, I believe you are giving your body and mind instructions on how to behave.

    Let that sink in for a moment.

    Let’s say you describe yourself as a chocoholic, or a workaholic, a sweet tooth or an insomniac. At that moment, what kind of instruction are you giving your body and mind?

    What kind of information is getting plugged into the reticular activating system in your brain – your brain’s GPS?

    When you make any sort of written or verbal assertion, your RAS takes note and filters in everything that fits with that assertion, and at the same time, filters out anything that doesn’t fit that paradigm.

    On that basis, let me ask you this – what kind of behaviour are you condoning or even actively promoting for yourself?

    What kind of claim are you making about yourself as a person, and what does that say about your identity?

    Lots of questions from me today, but I have to say how important this is.

     Summary

    By virtue of the way our brains work, specifically, your reticular activating system, when you think or say something about yourself, your body responds in a way that reinforces that statement.

    I coined a phrase years ago while teaching a bellydancing class, that sums it up.

    “Be careful of what you say, because your body will hear you and obey.”

    Ready to have better self-talk?

    What you tell yourself matters. 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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    Episode 104: Purpose Case Studies

    These case studies present a more organic approach to finding your purpose – an alternative to the method described in episode 102.

    Today I want to continue the conversation about purpose. I would like to invite you to do some deep thinking work about what matters to you, where you come from, what your journey has been and why you do what you do.

    I talked about purpose in episode 102 and walked through a process for discovering your purpose. 

    Perhaps you will see yourself in this journey. Perhaps you will be clearer by the end of this episode about what is most important to you and what your contribution to the world really is.

    The first thing that I want to say is that unless you already know what you want to do and are clear on that, a big part of discovering your purpose is discovering yourself. It’s a process of self-awareness and self reflection. 

    So if you want to get really clear on your purpose, you’ll need to spend some time thinking about where you’ve come from, what you’ve achieved, what you love to do and what’s most important to you.

    Here are a few examples of how that could play out.

    The first story is about someone who is super good at organising and planning. This person was trying to figure out her purpose and her niche. 

    What she has come from is a life of needing to help out in the family and get siblings and family members organised. She’s come from a place of needing to be self-sufficient with her schooling and study. So organisation is a natural strength and skill that she has.

    Through a process of being organised, this person has been able to juggle work and study, family commitments, and to start up and run a business. People come to her when they’re stuck and not sure where to turn, she helps him to get clarity and to make a plan to start taking action – normally starting with getting organised first.

    What she loves to do is see the relief on people‘s faces when they get stuff sorted out. And what’s most important to her is having a great routine for her own self care and well-being – in other words being self organised – so that she can show up with energy, confidence, and a sense of calmness.

    Example number two is somebody who comes from a public service background, and who has had a lot to do with project management. She comes from a very formal work environment, working for the government, and is very familiar with the policies and procedures.

    She was recognised among her peers as one of the best project managers in the division, largely because of her great attention to detail and love of doing things properly and finishing things in a high-quality way. She loved doing that type of work but not necessarily the role that she was in. 

    She wanted to start her own business because that’s what she loved – the creativity of building a business and the control that she could have by owning the business rather than working for someone else.

    So her purpose is to bring that detailed focus, high-quality and finishing aspects to helping people get their business admin sorted out in a really professional and structured way.  She does tasks for you as a VA and holds you accountable to getting your stuff delivered so she can do her job of making you look really good.

    If you want to get really clear on your purpose, you’ll need to spend some time thinking about where you’ve come from, what you’ve achieved, what you love to do and what’s most important to you.

    Example number three is somebody who really values spirituality and connection, is very honest and values driven, and comes from a religious background.

    She’s become known in her community as a connector as an empathetic listener, and has a wonderful support.

    She loves maintaining a spiritual practice of her own and she loves helping others to do the same. What’s important to her is creating peace and calm in the world and a sense of connection with people supporting each other.

    So it’s really clear that her purpose is to coach people in groups around their spiritual practice and the impact that they can have on others by being in a place of calmness, self-care and resilience.

    Example number four is somebody who has lost over 50 kg. She has had a journey with food, her body and her emotions over many years and has struggled with her weight. 

    She has been through cycles of weight loss and then re-gain, and finally realised that her secret to moving forward into a permanent healthy weight situation was simply to manage her mindset – in other words her thoughts and beliefs about herself and food.

    What’s important to her is family, relationships, creativity, freedom of expression. Food and weight and her challenges with mindset was stifling those things for her.

    What she loves to do is help other women who are busy, ambitious and overcommitted, to do less, be more organised, reduce stress, and find healthy ways to manage their emotions.

    Her purpose is to help women to stop over eating and to start living their lives so that they can show up for their loved ones in a really present connected way.

    Example number five is somebody who has always loved cooking, even as a little kid. She was always creatively experimenting with food, trying out new ideas. She also spent many years battling low-grade health issues and anxiety. She realised that her gut health was an issue and that she was feeling sluggish and tired because she wasn’t always making healthy choices or cooking the healthiest food.

    She experienced a significant improvement in her health by following a plant based diet. And as a result of this and her love of cooking she realised that she loves interacting with people and helping them to avoid chronic disease and take control of their health by eating more plants.

    What’s important to her as a value is health, and also spirituality. She regularly meditates and practices yoga and this fits really well with her beliefs about food and health in a holistic sense.

    She feels passionate about helping people realise that a disease diagnosis is not a life sentence, and that they can make significant improvements simply by eating more plants more often.

    So she feels that her purpose is to educate people about healthy eating, and to coach them around adopting lifestyle habits that will help them to feel more connected to themselves, but also to nip any looming health issues in the bud.

    As I work through these examples I realise that I have many hundreds of stories like this. Of people who have figured out their own journey, their own values, what lights them up and what’s important to them in the world.

    The stories are shortened and simplified. They don’t reflect the many years of searching or wondering what they’re here for.

    What I can say is that if you zoom out from your life and you look at the major highlights, the struggles, and the lowlights, you might see some things that help you to get closer to defining what your purpose is.

    Ready to find your purpose?

    Finding a way to use your strengths to do something you love can be a life changing! 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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    Episode 102: Purpose

    This episode is all about purpose, and how understanding your purpose can change your life.

    Our self-coaching topic for the Habitology membership in September is PURPOSE. 

    Today, I want to talk about what purpose is, why it’s important, and how to figure out your purpose so you can live a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

    My First Thoughts on Purpose

    This is one of the earliest memories of asking my mother a question; ‘Mummy, why am I here?’

    I was about three years old and was stuck on the reason for my existence. This floored my  mother and she had no idea of what to say. She was concerned about why I was asking such deep questions. 

    Fast forward to today, and I am on a path to fulfilling the purpose I identified several years ago.

    Purpose Defined

    According to Dr Paul Wong, purpose and meaning are linked.

    Purpose is simply the reason you exist, while meaning is the intention or reason for doing something – in other words, the beliefs that sit behind your purpose and cause you to take action toward it.

    Some people refer to it as ‘your why’ – the big reason why you do what you do in life.

    So why is purpose important, and how do you figure out what your purpose is? 

    Why Your Purpose Matters

    There are lots of reasons why your purpose matters. Here are a few.

    Beyond Blue has a great fact sheet that I’ll link to in the notes.

    They say that your sense of purpose is the motivation that drives you toward a satisfying future and helps you to get the most from the things you do and achieve – large and small – right now.

    When you know your purpose, you feel enthusiastic about waking up. You have plans, intentions, the drive to keep going, motivation and importantly, resilience.

    Positive psychologists say that knowing and working toward your purpose helps you to identify and use your strengths, to grow, to feel happy and to thrive.

    Think for a moment about the flow on effects of that.

    Imagine yourself being someone who knows what they want and how to get it. 

    Imagine that you are clear on what you will be doing today, next week and next year, and why you will be doing that.

    How does it feel, right now, to think of those things?

    By now you should be feeling motivated, alive, vital and all warm and fuzzy, thinking of that result that you could create by having a purpose.

    That said and done, let’s talk about how you discover your purpose.

    Discovering Your Purpose 

    Let me be very clear. 

    You can’t necessarily just discover your purpose and live happily ever after. 

    For a lot of people, discovering their purpose is a journey that takes time, reflection and life experience. Having said that, there are some things that you can do right now to start getting clarity about your purpose. 

    Knowing and working toward your purpose helps you to identify and use your strengths, to grow, to feel happy and to thrive.

    Remember I said earlier that your purpose – or the reason you exist – is driven by your reasons for doing something – that is, your beliefs and values.

    On that basis, a good starting point for discovering your purpose is to explore your values, character strengths and beliefs.

    I also believe you can access more information about your purpose by reflecting on your hobbies, past experiences and successes, times you felt proud, moved, and motivated.

    In other words, the times you feel most moved and emotional in life are probably sign posts that you’re close to discovering your purpose.

    There are plenty of online quizzes you can do to discover these things about yourself if you’re unsure.

    But let me ask you some questions now, to help you get the idea of how it works and to start narrowing it down.

    1. What is most meaningful to you?

     

    At the big picture level, you can start working out your purpose by figuring out what is most meaningful to you.

    According to Psychologist and researcher Dr Joel Vos, there are five main sources of meaning:

    1) Materialism: finding meaning through your animals, possessions, professional successes, finances, nature, leisure activities, sexual experiences, health, and/or sports.

    2) Self-growth: finding meaning through resilience/coping, self-insight, self-acceptance, creative self expression, self-reliance, reaching daily goals, and/or self-care.

    3) Social: finding meaning through feeling connected with family and friends, belonging in a specific community, contributing to society, and/or taking care of children.

    4) Transcendent: finding meaning through purpose in life, personal growth, self-development, the temporality of life, justice and ethics, religion, and/or spirituality.

    5)  Being here: finding meaning through your own uniqueness, for simply being alive, connecting with others and the world, and/or freedom.

    Reflect on yourself right now – are your interests spread across these areas evenly, or do one or two stand out for you?

    This is a starting point.

    2. What are your values? 

    Now, reflect on your values, or what’s most important to you.  

    Values are things that are important to you and that you feel strongly about.

    A rough definition of values is that they are the principles by which you live your life. They guide all of the thoughts and beliefs you have and actions you take.

    When you live in alignment with your values, in other words, when you are being authentic, then you are living in integrity – which simply means your behaviour is consistent across all areas of life, driven by your values.

    Think for a moment about different people that you know. 

    You probably know some people who place high value on achievement and spend all their time striving to innovate, or get ahead. Others you know may be passionate about creating community, and others are focused on spirituality.

    It’s great that we’re all different and have different values, because each of us contributes in some way to humanity, the world and our human ecosystem.

    With all that said – what are YOUR values? 

    If you’re unclear on this, I will place a link to a ‘defining your values’ booklet on my website that you can download to help you get some clarity. 

    I think about what’s important to me, and it’s definitely being of service, achievement innovation, and fairness. 

    These are huge for me, both important and meaningful. 

    They drive nearly everything that I do in my life.

    2. What are your strengths?

     

    The next step in working out your purpose is to consider your strengths, as these are the things you’re good at, and which you use to overcome challenges. 

    Strengths are things that you role model for others – that means others come to you to get help with the things that you’re masterful at – so they are also part of your purpose.

    Strengths are strong character traits that you use often in life, and in most cases you’re using those strengths to help you succeed or overcome challenges.

    Strengths are defined as things that you are good at AND enjoy.

    You can take a VIA test and work this out but better still, ask your closest friends and family to describe three of your greatest strengths.

    What do people say about you?

    I collect words that people say about me in my coaching log. The list I have says that people think I’m calm, non-judgemental, persistent, productive, creative, inspiring and knowledgeable.

    If you’re still unsure about your strengths, you can reflect on the qualities you like most in others, as a clue to what your values might be.

    For example, if you admire people who are honest and forthright, then you are probably that way yourself, and they are probably strengths of yours.

    Another way you can work out your strengths is to reflect on what people rely on you for.

    Do they always come to you for help with sorting out their messy schedules?

    Do they come to you for a friendly ear when they’re down?

    Do they beg you to bake your famous biscuits?

    Do they seek support with massive cleanups?

    Do they get your advice on gardening?

    Everybody has something that people turn to them for. What is it for you?

    People often come to me when they’re doubting themselves, overwhelmed or unclear. 

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve helped people write resumes, or reviewed blogs or marketing copy, or are unsure about something – and I’ve helped them to acknowledge and get perspective on their strengths, achievements and their greatness.

    3. What gets you fired up?

    Finally, purpose is ignited by passion. The things that you get fired up draw on what is meaningful, your values and also your strengths, so even if you aren’t clear on those other three areas, your passion can be a very good indicator of your purpose in life.

    Zoom out from your thoughts for a moment and think about what gets you ranty.

    What is the injustice that you feel emotional about, or the outcome you’re passionate to see?

    Be very specific about this.

    Think about situations or injustices or exciting innovations or visions that get you fired up.  What are they?

    Pulling it Together 

    I’ll give you an example of how to pull this all together, walking through these four steps.

    For me, all areas of meaning are important to me, but self-growth and contributing to society are big.

    Below that, my core values are being of service, achievement, innovation, and equal opportunity. 

    Feedback says my strengths according to the VIA test are creativity, gratitude, perspective and fairness. Client feedback is that I’m calm, non-judgemental, persistent, productive, creative, inspiring and knowledgeable. I think I am innovative and have a pioneering spirit and I value achievement.

    People come to me when they lack self-belief, when they are bogged down in overwhelm or self-doubt.

    What gets me ranty?

    Well, I get ranty about the fact that we waste so much food. I get ranty that there are people who could be healthier if they just knew what to do and had support to do it, that we could solve our nation’s health issues if people ate better and were less stressed.

    I get ranty that there are people who have amazing businesses that could help so many people – if those business owners just had the self-belief and the means of getting their greatness out into the world.

    If I pull this all together, a few things are clear: I am passionate about creating health and wellbeing in the world, but I realise I can have the greatest impact in the world by helping people start business in the health and wellbeing space, and to believe in themselves and back themselves.

    That, my friends, is my purpose.

    What’s yours?

    For a lot of people, discovering their purpose is a journey that takes time, reflection and life experience.

    Summary

    Finding your purpose can seem a bit like finding a needle in a haystack.

    But if you follow this four step approach – to look at the pillars of meaning, to define your values, to get clear on your strengths and to find out what makes you ranty – then you’re well on your way to finding the answer.

    If you need help to figure out your purpose, join the Habitology membership now, because September 2020’s self-coaching topic is finding your PURPOSE.

    Ready to find your purpose?

    Our September intake is all about finding your own purpose. 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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    Episode 101: Two Hot Marketing Success Tips

    In this episode I’ll be sharing two powerful aha moments that my clients have had this week, so that you can get really comfortable with marketing AND do it with confidence, and sell your stuff like a boss.

    This past week I have had two really interesting conversations with a couple of my clients about what marketing is and what marketing isn’t and how to get into the right mindset to really embrace marketing and do it well. 

    These conversations were eye openers for my clients and it helped them to totally get a different perspective on  marketing, so I wanted to share them with you here today. 

    The tips are to help you 1. feel totally comfortable about marketing and how to do it, and 2. To sell your services with a sense of conviction.

    Tip #1 – a comfortable marketing perspective

    One of my clients is SUPER good at connecting and networking with people, yet she has always shied away from the idea of ‘marketing’

    I explained to her that, essentially, marketing is exactly like the process of making friends.

    You need to invest in friendships and earn the right to be a friend before you can ask them to help you move house, or babysit your three kids for a weekend, right?

    So in the same sense, marketing is a process of getting to know your kind of people who have a common problem and interest. And it’s about networking with colleagues in the same way, having general conversations on points of interest and staying in touch.

    You’re staying connected with those friends (potential clients) and talking about things that matter to you both. 

    You can do this on an email list, or in a FB group, or via a WhatsApp feed, or a meetup group, or whatever way you want.

    The point is, whichever way you choose to build and maintain a community of ‘friends’ (prospective clients), you need to show up consistently and talk to them about what matters.

    By being a good friend – supporting them, offering help and value, helping them stay motivated or inspired – they will want to reciprocate.

    So every now and again, when you DO make an offer, free or paid, they’ll either want to buy it, or recommend it to others, because they think you’re amazing.

    Once I’d explained marketing this way to my client, she had a massive shift and it suddenly opened up so much understanding and possibility for how her marketing could look, going forward.

    Tip #2 – celebrating success to sell more, more easily

    I have helped several clients with sales conversations recently and there seems to be a common theme – the feeling of I’m not good enough.

    Sound familiar?

    Most of us are taught that we shouldn’t be boastful, or that we should be humble, or that we shouldn’t talk ourselves up.

    I totally agree! Humility is an important and attractive trait.

    BUT you can be humble AND promote yourself at the same time in an authentic way, so that you can sell more easily.

    The main obstacle most people face is that they’re stuck in the ‘I haven’t done anything amazing’ headspace.

    The way to get around that is to celebrate your success – then the authentic sales copy will come tumbling out.

    Here’s an example.

    I was speaking with someone trying to reach people in a new niche, and she was feeling pretty disheartened by what she described as a ‘lack of ideal clients’ in her latest program.

    With some coaching conversation around her successes, it was revealed that she had more clients than she thought. In fact, 50% of her current clients were her ideal clients.

    Further, those 50% of clients were all very well networked and could introduce her to potential opportunities in the corporate space.

    Celebrating success created a fresh perspective on things.

    Coupled with Tip #1 above, suddenly a whole new world opened up for this client of mine, in terms of marketing and she left our session feeling energized, excited and very proactive about connecting with people (instead of marketing) and expanding her niche.

    By celebrating her own wins, she was able to see what she had achieved and how to go out and talk about the wins of her clients so she could attract more of the same.

    I had two other experiences like this in the past week and it made me realise that I had to share this with you!

    In all cases, it all comes down to that good old coaching question – what are you making this mean?

    The facts of the situation never change – it’s your interpretation of them – or what you make them  mean – that affects whether you feel like a loser or a winner.

    The great thing is that you can control your thoughts.

    And to succeed in anything, in business or life, you need to believe in yourself and your methods. 

    In Summary

    Marketing and making friends follow roughly the same sort of process. You have to have some general conversation to build trust and rapport over a period of time – at least a few months – before you can expect anything in return. You need to give first in order to receive, as Stephen Covey would say.

    Marketing is a process of getting to know your kind of people who have a common problem and interest.

    In addition, when you celebrate your successes, you see valuable wins which can help you to either feel more confident in talking about what you do, or even better, to help you speak about the results your clients achieved, so you can attract more of the same.

    It all comes down to your thinking patterns – they rule your results.

    If you want to master your thinking and beliefs about your business, visit melaniejwhite.com/habitology and join my monthly membership where you’ll gain the skills, structure, support and confidence you need to take action and get traction in your business.

    Ready to get more comfortable with marketing?

    There are habits can help you sell more easily! 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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    Episode 100: Client Centric Business with Bridget Healy

    Today’s interview with Bridget Healy is a great example of how you can create a global brand using a client centric approach to business.

    Visit Bridget and buy quality, values-led products online!

    https://www.noopii.co.nz/

    Ready to up-size your business?

    Everything is possible with the right tools. 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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    Episode 99: Money Values

    Today we’re going to talk about how your money values affect the quality of clients you attract and how to hack your own brain to improve both!

    Today‘s episode is a short one, but a powerful one.

    There is a pile of research that shows the old adage – that ‘like attracts like’ – is true.

    An article in the Huff Post, written by PhD Margaret Paul, provides a great summary of how and why this occurs in relationships.

    This is very relevant to today’s episode, because let’s face it – your life and your business are FULL of relationships, including relationships that are based around money.

    I want to read you a direct quote from the article:

    “While no one deliberately seeks out someone who is closed, negative and needy, if this is you, this is what you will attract into your life. If you want a loving relationship, then you need to do the work of learning how to take emotional responsibility.” 

    Dr Paul’s antidote for attracting the wrong kind of people into your life is to take stock of the way you treat yourself, and to work on your own mind, thoughts, feelings and actions.

    Who Are You Attracting?

    Start by looking at the types of clients you typically attract.

    Are they penny pinchers? 

    Are they fearful of spending money? 

    Do they find it hard to say no?

    Do they see spending on themselves as wasteful, or a risk?

    Let’s first acknowledge that this is NOT a sustainable business model.

    But further, if your clients behave like this then it is a pretty good indication that your money values are similar and you’ll continue to attract people like this.

    What you say to yourself repeatedly is both an instruction to your body on how to act, but also, it creates or reinforces your beliefs.

    If you don’t value yourself, if you find it hard to ask for money, or if you just want to help people who have nothing, then you’ll remain stuck in this space and it will be difficult to build a business, let alone a viable one.

    So, what’s the answer?

    It’s that you’ll need to work on your thoughts so you can change your own beliefs.

    What you say to yourself repeatedly is both an instruction to your body on how to act, but also, it creates or reinforces your beliefs.

    The first question I’d invite you to ask yourself is – is business really for me?  I recommend thinking long and hard about whether you are willing to do the mindset work required to run a successful business.

    This means actively working on your self-talk and your self-worth, so that you can start to change your money values over a period of time – perhaps a few months.

    If you feel that this is definitely what you want – not to work for someone else but to truly run your own business, then let’s talk about what you can do in the meantime to start shifting your money values.

    Becoming Buyable

    Even if your money values need a bit of work, there are some things you can do right now to help you communicate value to your clients – and yourself – more easily.

    1. Describe services as affordable and set prices that feel good to you, right now.

    The word affordable has a positive ring to it and creates openness around pricing for both you and your client.

    Now, to get your pricing right, I developed something I call the goldilocks pricing method, and it works like this.

    If your fees are too high in your own mind, you’ll feel scared to ask for the money and it will block you from selling. Your clients will sense the doubt in you and it will transfer to them!

    If your fees are too low in your mind, you’ll feel resentful about being paid too little and it will show up as negative energy around your product.

    Remember that this pricing is relevant right now, and that you can revise and increase it whenever you like.

    2. Communicate value, not price

    When we focus on talking about price, we draw attention to the price, and it becomes the main event and the main factor affecting someone’s decision to buy or not.

    It’s WAY better to prove the value of what you offer.

    To do this, you can talk to potential clients about the value of what you’re doing in terms of:

    what it will save them e.g. they’re no longer going to spend $100 per week on wine

    • what they might be able to let go of e.g. no more toxic relationships, or may be able to come of medications with doctors help
    • the value of tangible elements e.g. physical resources that are included such as a welcome pack, a journal etc
    • what it’s worth e.g. testimonials, where clients gush about the value of working with you and how it’s changed their lives
    • what they will gain e.g. typical results from other clients, outcomes they wish to realise that are valuable to them.

    3. Make charity a longer term goal

    I have seen people start businesses with the sole aim of helping those who are less fortunate – and not wanting or being able to charge very much – then failing in business because they couldn’t meet their income needs.

    Quite simply, it’s better to make your money first, then you are way better positioned to help people who are less fortunate!

    Summary

    Today we discussed the fact that like attracts like – it’s a proven phenomenon.

    That means if you have poor money values, you will probably attract those kinds of clients into your life and it will hinder your ability to build a profitable business!

    The first thing to ask yourself is whether you are really cut out for business – whether you are prepared to do the mental or mindset work required to do it justice.

    And if you are, then changing your self talk around money will be a priority for you. 

    In the meantime, how can you attract clients who are willing to pay?

    Coaches help people accumulate good habits that will help them achieve. 

    Firstly, by describing your services as affordable, and setting a price that is comfortable to you, using my goldilocks method.

    Secondly, by shifting the conversation away from price and onto value.

    Thirdly, for those of you who want to help the disadvantaged, it will probably be easier if you create profitable business first, then make charity your longer term goal.

    Coaches help people accumulate good habits that will help them achieve. 

    Ready to change your money values?

    You can change your relationship with money by changing the way you think! 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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    Episode 98: Consistency with the CARE Model

    Today I want to walk you through a model I’ve developed – the CARE model – to help you be consistent with self-care and build resilience.

    As I mentioned in episode 96, resilience is the ability to adapt to and cope with life’s challenges with ease, and to bounce back and thrive in spite of them.

    As I’ve mentioned previously, if resilience were money, it would be a $50,000 buffer in your bank account. In other words, building resilience requires a regular investment in your own physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.

    One of the challenges people face is being consistent with self-care.

    You know what it’s like – the kids need something urgently, or you get loaded with extra work, or your partner wants you to spend some quality time with them and your exercise session or meal prep or book chapter gets shelved – yet again – for later.

    In the short term, that’s ok, but if that keeps happening, then you’re adding nothing to your resilience bank account, so your ability to cope with stress, be creative, make decisions is going to decrease.

    Now is a great time to decide how you want to respond to stress in the future – whether it’s a downwards spiral or to lift yourself up out of the chaos you feel.

    And assuming you want to choose the latter, then you will want to choose some self care activities that are absolutely not-negotiable, and that you can be consistent with.

    Let’s look at a simple, five-step process to get it right – the CARE model.

    Self Care to Build Resilience

    Self-care is any activity that builds and maintains your physical, mental, and emotional health and it’s therefore essential for building resilience.

    It could be described as a more positive set of habits that can create an upward spiral rather than a downward one.

    Some self-care activities that build resilience could include exercise, being in nature, painting, gardening, singing, reading, cleaning up or getting organised, cooking and eating healthy nutritious food, speaking aloud, writing, drawing, playing with your pets, sleeping well, doing puzzles or playing games, speaking to friends or families, being part of a community. 

    A friend of mine came up with a novel self-care activity recently.

    She sat with her partner and they looked through photos from their 2018 European holiday, while reading their travel diaries together and reflecting on the memories of some wonderful experiences.

    Reflect on your own life for a moment – how would you rate your current level of self-care? Are you attending to it as much as you’d like, and in ways that you enjoy?

    Here are some clues that you might need more or different self-care habits:

    • You’re experiencing insomnia
    • You have food cravings
    • You are overeating or overdrinking
    • You feel stressed
    • You are short of breath, feeling rushed or have fast resting pulse
    • You have aches and pains
    • You feel run down, tired or unwell.

    Any of these indicates something needs to change!

    To that end, what are some creative self-care activities you can think of that would help you to build resilience?

    Step 4 is to ask: What does my ideal self-CARE routine look like to meet all my needs?  

    Now, for each of the activities you’ve listed, use the CARE model.

    Is the activity:

    • Convenient – does it fit easily into your existing lifestyle?
    • Attractive – do you want to do the activity? Would you enjoy it?
    • Realistic – can you enjoy a benefit from as little as 5 minutes up to 50, depending on available time? Does it fit in?
    • Energizing – do you feel good afterwards? Remember, this could be accomplished, productive, uplifted or have a calm energy.

    Score each activity according to this model.

    If an activity ticks all those boxes – great! 

    If an activity doesn’t tick all those boxes, it could become a source of guilt, so you’ll want to change it or replace it.

    Firstly, look at any activities you currently do and ask yourself how you could change them to fit with the CARE model.

    Then, look at any new activities and ask yourself how you could make them fit with the CARE model. 

    Step 5 is to develop a realistic, not-negotiable schedule.

    Start with what’s already working – the things you are currently doing consistently.

    Schedule those into your calendar, making sure you feel at least 9/10 confident that you could do them each week, in that time slot.

    Now, consider whether you have room for any more right now, and can add to your self-care routine without stress, pressure or guilt.

    If you can’t, keep your routine as it is and review it in a couple of weeks.

    If you can, then consider one or maybe two things you could add, even just once or twice in the coming two weeks, to build more self-care into your life.

    It takes about 12 weeks or 86 days to habituate a new routine on average, but often much longer.

    This is a gradual process, and you’re building up your self-care activities in a way that is low-pressure, comfortable and achievable. 

    Remember:

    1.     Keep it simple – rather under-commit and exceed your own expectations, and
    2.     Be extremely specific about what you will do and when so you always win.
    3.     Build your habits gradually, starting with what suits your current capacity.

    Summary

    Self-care is any activity that builds and maintains your physical, mental, and emotional health and it’s therefore essential for building resilience.

    It’s a positive set of habits that can create an upward spiral rather than a downward one.

    When people struggle to be consistent with self care, it’s usually because they expect too much of themselves, try to do too many different things, or do things they think they should rather than what they like.

    Self-care is any activity that builds and maintains your physical, mental, and emotional health and it’s therefore essential for building resilience.

    I described a CARE Model to help you overcome those obstacles, and to help you get clear on the habits that will be sustainable in the long term.

    Then, there was the five-step process I outlined to help you implement habit change on your own.

    What I’ve described today is exactly how a Health and Wellness Coach works. We can support you to become motivated and self-accountable for building your own realistic, not-negotiable self-care routine that will build resilience, capacity and a better quality life.

    Ready to be consistent with self care?

    Habitology can give you the support you need to create your own realistic self-care routine that will build resilience and improve your quality of life! 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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    Episode 95: Validation and Profit

    This episode shows you why and how validation using rigorous, high quality data is your secret weapon for helping your clients to get better results and make long lasting change, and to create more value, more sales, higher prices and better profit.

    Today’s episode is called validation, and I’m talking in relation to results that your clients get in your coaching business.

    In my last episode I talked about how to sell more coaching programs with the inclusion of monitoring data, and that’s the backstory for today’s episode.

    I’ve chosen the title ‘validation’ because I want to show you why and how rigorous, high quality data is your secret weapon for helping your clients to get better results and make long lasting change, and to create more value, sales and higher prices.

    What is validation?

    Let’s start with a simple definition.

    • The action of checking or proving the accuracy of something.
    • The recognition or affirmation that something is valid or worthwhile.

     Change is hard for our brains, and data gives our brains the validation they need to decide a habit is worth continuing.

    Why Validation Matters

    Let’s start by talking about why validation is important.

    Let’s say that your client is living a stressful life, and she quite likes the idea of regular meditation and wants to start up a regular habit to help her relieve stress.

    To create a consistent habit, you know she’ll need to convince her brain that it’s worth it.

    That’s because the human brain prefers to run efficiently, on autopilot, doing the things it already knows how to do well, so it can focus on threat, survival and fun stuff.

    Therefore, according to your client’s brain, having to bring focus on developing a new habit is a chore and possibly a risk. 

    Change is hard for our brains, and data gives our brains the validation they need to decide a habit is worth continuing.

    Aside from learning how to do the habit, her brain requires a process of ‘learning’ a whole bunch of micro habits and rewiring entrenched behaviours that happen before and after the meditation, before it can get the habit to happen automatically.

    For example, she’ll have to learn to stop what she’s doing, say no to people, set aside time, stop saying she’s too busy, and then do the darn 10 minutes of meditation.

    As she juggles her competing priorities and her already entrained habits that create stress, her brain will start to realise that starting a simple habit like 10 minutes of meditation is actually hard to fit in, commit to, and do consistently. 

    That will probably feel uncomfortable. She’ll have the urge to continue with her ‘more important’ stuff.

    And a day after she meditates, she may feel totally stressed again, so her brain will question how effective it really is, because the results may not be huge or immediate. 

    Her belief system could jump on the bandwagon. She might start telling herself that this is too hard. She might tell herself that I might as well give up, because I am probably going to fail anyway.

    This is why validation with evidence-based data is so important.

    It does more than just prove to your client’s brain that a habit is safe and worth the effort. 

    It also provides tangible evidence that your client is capable of change and that the results are worth pursuing.

    This is especially important for habits that have little to no visible, immediate impact.

    For example, there are habits like physical exercise where you feel the endorphin rush and sweat afterwards. There’s a tangible impact.

    Compare that with deep breathing exercises to lower your blood pressure and stress hormones. Those are two pretty invisible measures that your habits had a gradual, positive impact. No immediate reward there.

    That begs the question – how do we help our clients monitor and measure progress? What kind of data are going to be meaningful?

    Let’s look at two types of data – qualitative, and quantitative.

    As she juggles her competing priorities and her already entrained habits that create stress, her brain will start to realise that starting a simple habit like 10 minutes of meditation is actually hard to fit in, commit to, and do consistently. 

    That will probably feel uncomfortable. She’ll have the urge to continue with her ‘more important’ stuff.

    And a day after she meditates, she may feel totally stressed again, so her brain will question how effective it really is, because the results may not be huge or immediate. 

    Her belief system could jump on the bandwagon. She might start telling herself that this is too hard. She might tell herself that I might as well give up, because I am probably going to fail anyway.

    This is why validation with evidence-based data is so important.

    It does more than just prove to your client’s brain that a habit is safe and worth the effort. 

    It also provides tangible evidence that your client is capable of change and that the results are worth pursuing.

    This is especially important for habits that have little to no visible, immediate impact.

    For example, there are habits like physical exercise where you feel the endorphin rush and sweat afterwards. There’s a tangible impact.

    Compare that with deep breathing exercises to lower your blood pressure and stress hormones. Those are two pretty invisible measures that your habits had a gradual, positive impact. No immediate reward there.

    That begs the question – how do we help our clients monitor and measure progress? What kind of data are going to be meaningful?

    Let’s look at two types of data – qualitative, and quantitative.

    Qualitative (subjective) data

    Normally coaches use tools that are subjective, that is, where the client rates themselves.

    We use various quizzes, questionnaires, 1 – 10 rulers, sleep diaries, logging sheets and other self-rating tools to help clients understand what they feel, who they are and what’s changing for them.

    They use these to rate hunger, energy, mood, stress, sleep quality, response to food and similar types of information.

    Qualitative data is very important because it captures how the client feels at any given moment. The problem is, that information is subject to bias.

    A client who self-rates may feel exuberant one day, and miserable two days later, so their mood will skew the data.

    Even the more high level, scientifically validated questionnaires can be influenced by bias.

    I had a client do a quiz several times because she wasn’t sure that her answers were accurate and she got a different answer every time.

    How would you feel about the data if that was you? 

    How much would you trust it? 

    Could you rely on it?

    That’s why coaching programs can be bolstered by rigorous data collected in an accurate way.

    This kind of data provides the validation our clients need to believe that they can do something, and to believe that their new habits are ‘working’ and ‘getting results.’

    Quantitative (objective) data

    This is essentially what quantitative data is – objective data that is measured accurately using numbers.

    Even better, using calibrated devices to measure physiological data that shows the impact of our habits on our bodies and minds.

    One of the best examples is the bioimpedance scale which measures body composition – in other words – bone, fat, muscle and water. 

    While not as accurate as a Dexa scan, bioimpedance is an easy and accessible method to quantify body weight, muscle mass, bone mass, hydration and body fat percentage.

    Obviously the more expensive models give more accurate data, and a Dexa scan is the most accurate.

    I used this scale early in my business – from 2005 onwards – as a marketing tool. At health expos I had lines of people out the door wanting to get their body composition measured, while other vendors stood at empty stands, wondering what was going on.

     

    Data provides tangible evidence that your client is capable of change and that the results are worth pursuing.

    I used this scale in my coaching program to help clients see tangible changes in their bodies – inside and out – in conjunction with other qualitative and quantitative measures.

    These methods gave my clients plenty of evidence that their bodies and minds were changing and, it gave me a huge data set that could be used to demonstrate typical client outcomes in my marketing.

    For example, I could specify that 99% of my clients lost weight during my program, ranging from 3 – 15kg, and with the majority of that being body fat based on the numbers recorded.

    These were all things that they measured during the life of their program, so they had great awareness of what had changed.

    They loved the physiological data as it proved their lifestyle changes were having an impact and it validated how they felt.

    You can imagine what that did for my marketing!

    My clients would say things like – “there is real science behind this”, and “I have gotten so much more out of this program than I ever expected!”

    That’s just with a simple scale.

    More recently, some higher tech options have come up to get even better quality data.

    One that comes to mind is the heart rate strap and watch that measure exercise performance.

    There are a variety of wearable watches that measure various physiological data. 

    I can imagine what my clients will say in future when I use these devices as part of their coaching program and I’m very excited about the value, precision and accurate response measurement that can be developed.

    It will help us to add tangibility to our somewhat intangible services.

    It will help your clients to quickly identify which of their habit based interventions are having the greatest impact, and help them pinpoint where to focus their energy.

    They will have a greater appreciation for the effectiveness of habit-based intervention, and a greater awareness of their own best solutions for managing physical and mental health.

    And finally, it will give coaches a competitive advantage over others, help them to sell more programs, at higher prices and retain clients for a longer period, as has been my own experience in my own coaching business.

    I am excited to share some new research in this area in coming months.

    For now, if you would like to know more about monitoring and measuring, please get in touch at melaniejwhite.com/contact.

    Ready to use data to improve your coaching business?

    Knowing howto use data effectively can make all the difference. 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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    Episode 93: Client Strengths = Better Marketing

    In today’s episode, I want to show you a great way to capture important information about your clients so that you can learn more about who your ideal client is, who you naturally attract, and how to become more of a client magnet.

    There are really two parts to working with clients in a coaching relationship. 

    The first part is to help our clients become more self aware so that they know what thinking and doing habits need to change. 

    When our clients are more self-aware it facilitates the second main part of coaching clients, which is helping them to experiment with new lifestyle habits and make those changes in a way that suits them, their needs and their personalities.

    Coaches use a variety of quizzes and questionnaires to help clients become self-aware. I call this ‘grow’ content because every time a client learns something about themselves it helps them to grow a little.

    And one of the main tools that coaches use is the VIA strength test.

    In this episode I want to walk you through a step-by-step process of enhancing the professionalism of your practice, and using the VIA strengths test information to enhance your marketing.

    VIA strengths test

    The VIA Institute on character is an organisation that combines the science of strength with the practice of well-being. 

    According to their website:

    The VIA Institute on Character helps people change their lives by tapping into the power of their own greatest strengths. Established as non-profit organization in 2001, we set out – and continue to – advance both the science and practice of character, and empower those on their strengths-building journey. That’s why we make our research accessible to everyone and offer the VIA Survey free of charge, worldwide.

     

    Every time a client learns something about themselves it helps them to grow a little.

    They say that “your character strengths are the qualities that come most naturally to you. They say that every individual possesses all the 24 character strengths in different degrees, giving each person a unique character strengths profile. And when you know your strengths you can improve your life and thrive. The research reveals that people who use their strength a lot are 18 times more likely to be flourishing than those who do not use their strengths.”

    The VIA character strengths test is a core piece of strengths-based coaching and it sets the scene for introducing positive psychology into your coaching sessions, and helping your clients create an upward spiral with their health and wellbeing habits.

    Enhancing Your Professionalism

    As a scientist by training, I’m a strong believer that every time you do something in your business it makes sense to do it in the most professional, replicable, efficient and streamlined way possible. 

    And the first tip that I want to share with you today is something that is going to help you build your professional, credible reputation.

    You can actually create your own professional account on the VIA website and you can store basic client results in that website. 

    Firstly, what that means is that you can give your client a personalized link to the VIA website that has your practice name or business name in the URL.

    Here’s how you set that up.

    Firstly visit www.viacharacter.org

    Click on the ‘Professionals’ menu link in the top right of the screen.

    Choose ‘Pro Sites’ from the dropdown menu.

    Read the information on that page, scroll down and go to the Create Your Pro Site Now button, and follow the prompts.

    Now, you can send your clients a unique URL with your business name in it, taking them to the VIA test.

    My link is http://melaniejwhite.pro.viasurvey.org

    Now, when your clients take this survey you will be sent an email letting you know that they have completed it and you will be able to log into this website and see a list of clients who taken the strengths survey, the date that they took the survey, and you’ll be able to click through to see their results. 

    This is all free. 

    There are other things that you can get with a paid account but you probably don’t need those things yet.

    Know Your Niche, Enhance Your Marketing

    Here is the really interesting thing about the data that you collect over time.

    I have a couple of coaches that work in my business as licensees for an 8-week weight loss program that I developed. 

    Recently, I downloaded The VIA survey data for all of our clients from that program.

    Then, I made a spreadsheet that lists the top 5 strengths of the clients who have recently taken the test. And then I sorted them by coach. 

    My theory is that we tend to attract people who are 80% like us and I wanted to see if this strengths data reflected that different coaches are actually attracting different kinds of clients.

    And the results are pretty amazing. 

    For the clients that I have coached recently around weight loss, their top 3 strengths fairness, gratitude and honesty. All of my clients have had at least two of these in their top 3 strengths.

    For another coach in my business, all of her clients top 3 – 4 strengths were honesty, kindness, love and humour.

    So very clearly the two of us are attracting slightly different kinds of people. Honesty is something that all of our clients have as a very high ranking strength. 

    But hers are slightly different to mine. 

    I also see that my clients are much more consistent in the top 3 strengths than the other coach, and perhaps that means that she works with a slightly broader range of clients or that her niche is less defined than mine.

    What does this all mean, and how can we use this to improve our marketing? 

    Well looking at my client list, and knowing that I seem to attract people whose top strengths are gratitude, fairness and honesty, I know more about my ideal client AND I can more likely attract them with sales copy that creates those sorts of emotions.

    I can present my offer in a way that seems fair.

    I can be open and frank about who it is and isn’t for, and what is or isn’t included.

    I can share my gratitude for being able to help others around through the power of their transformation.

    This is just a bit of an idea of how you could use this information but it’s really amazing to see these trends and to understand the power of this information.

    Regularly checking in with strengths survey results and collating the data in this way might make a big difference to your ability to attract and engage potential clients. 

    Summary

    To wrap up today’s episode as coaches we like to help clients become self-aware and to use their strengths to experiment with and form new habits.

    We use a variety of quizzes and questionnaires to create aha moments and raise self-awareness.

    The VIA character strengths questionnaire is a recognised tool that many Health and wellness coaches use.

    You can go to the VIA website and create your own professional account, as part of your professional positioning.

    Being more self-aware helps our clients to experiment with new lifestyle habits and make those changes in a way that suits them.

    In addition to that, you can collate client data in a spreadsheet and identify trends that tell you important things, like how clearly defined your niche is, the common ground between you and your ideal client, and the types of strengths and emotions that might resonate with them in your marketing copy.

    I’ve included links in the transcript of this episode to help you get started on getting to know your clients better.

    Ready to know your client better?

    Quizzes are just one of many tools that can make your coaching business easier and more effectictive. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and make your life easier I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    Eppisode 92: Feeling Connected and Creating Clients

    If you are finding solo business hard, and want to feel more connected and create clients through networking, this episode is for you. We explore five ways to start building professional and personal networks to achieve these aims.

    When you work in an office as part of a team, you get a sense of connection each day as you interact with others and share ideas, jokes or brainstorm work problems.

    But when you start your own business, things can be a little bit different.

    Some people run their business from within another business such as a wellness clinic or studio, and so they experience that much-needed peer interaction.

    But what happens when you are flying solo, and operating from home?

    We need a way to feel connected and supported in business so that we can find the motivation, energy, confidence and enthusiasm to persist.

    On top of that, building professional and personal networks is a wonderful way to meet potential clients and referral partners who can send qualified referrals your way.

    Let’s look at the various ways that solo business owners can build networks.

    Joining a Health Professional Network 

    Allied Health professionals often have either formal or informal meetings, social events and/or online groups for the purpose of networking, referring and collaborating.

    Their meetings are typically monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly.

    By reaching out to the Allied Health professionals in your area and catching up for a cup of coffee or brief Zoom introduction, you can quickly find out which ones are ‘your kind of person’ and find out where and how these professionals network in your local area.

    If you are a member of the Coaching Success Accelerator, you can find a downloadable, step-by-step process for reaching out to Allied Health Professionals.

    • Action step: make a list of 10 practitioners in your local area, relevant to your niche or specialty area of coaching, and phone or email to book a time to chat.

    You might also like to listen to episode 74 where I do a deep dive into how to build a referral network with Allied Health Professionals.

    Also, check out episode 65 which is about communicating your value.

     

    Allied Health professionals often have either formal or informal meetings, social events and/or online groups for the purpose of networking, referring and collaborating.

    Their meetings are typically monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly.

    By reaching out to the Allied Health professionals in your area and catching up for a cup of coffee or brief Zoom introduction, you can quickly find out which ones are ‘your kind of person’ and find out where and how these professionals network in your local area.

    If you are a member of the Coaching Success Accelerator, you can find a downloadable, step-by-step process for reaching out to Allied Health Professionals.

    • Action step: make a list of 10 practitioners in your local area, relevant to your niche or specialty area of coaching, and phone or email to book a time to chat.

    You might also like to listen to episode 74 where I do a deep dive into how to build a referral network with Allied Health Professionals.

    Also, check out episode 65 which is about communicating your value.

    Joining a Professional Industry Association

    Every reputable profession has an industry association that acts as a voice for its members.

    Their meetings are typically monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly.

    Being a member of a professional association can provide opportunities to vote on important issues, but also, it lets your clients know that you work in a serious, credible profession that has a formal self-regulation process and quality standards.

    Being featured on the home page of an industry association is another way for people to find you online, positioned in a professional environment.

    In Australia and New Zealand, the premiere industry body is Health Coaches of Australia and New Zealand Association.

    • Action step: Contact HCANZA to enquire about membership.
    • Action step: apply to sit the NBHWC exam and become board-certified

    Joining a Social Networking Group

    LinkedIn is a globally-recognised platform for networking with other businesses and potential clients.

    It has an advantage of being “more professional” than other social media channels, so may lend credibility and good business positioning.

    You may make valuable connections for referral, collaboration or potential clients here.

    There are industry-specific groups where you can network with peers in specific areas of health and wellbeing.

    This is a great place to go if your niche group is a professional, entrepreneur and/or manager.

    Facebook also offers support in the form of industry-specific groups, like the Students of Wellness Coaching Australia group.

    • Action step: Jump into LinkedIn, brush up your profile, and explore groups.
    • Action step: Join the Students of Wellness Coaching Australia group.[MW1] 

    Joining a Local Business Network

    Your local Chamber of Commerce is an active business hub where you can meet and rub shoulders with decision makers in your community.

    Their meetings are typically monthly.

    Depending on where you live, your local Chamber may be quite active or not so much.

    In any case, it’s worth exploring the network to see who is involved, and to ask to attend a first meeting as a guest to see if it could be mutually beneficial.

    Often, Chambers of Commerce have an active role in community projects, Council grants or industry-level initiatives that may be relevant to you (e.g. health related).

    • Action step: Google search your local Chamber to enquire about meeting dates, opportunities to attend and what is typically discussed

    Start Your Own Group

    An easy way to build professional alliances is to start your own group.

    This is a good tactic for you if you are outgoing, love people and enjoy networking (otherwise it may feel like too much work – and you’re better off joining someone else’s network/group).

    In a professional sense, this could be a mastermind, a specific collaboration project, or simply a peer support group.

    Or even better – you can start your own Facebook or LinkedIn group to attract potential clients.  This is a bigger job than the others, but if you are ready to build a tribe of like minded people and have the energy to show up every day, this is a good option.

    There are a variety of training courses that can help you do it right.

    • Action step: Consider whether you’re ready to start your own group and find a training course to help you do it right. 
    • Action step: If you are not ready, join a big group where your clients might be, and observe how it’s done.

    Summary

    It’s easy to feel isolated when you transition from a workplace to your own solo business.

    However, I’ve listed FIVE options that you could start exploring to build professional and client networks for the purpose of feeling supported, brainstorming ideas and creating clients.

    We need a way to feel connected and supported in business so that we can find the motivation, energy, confidence and enthusiasm to persist.

    To get started, choose the one that feels like the best fit and make plans to join and explore what it’s like to be a member.

    If that works well, schedule in the number of meetings or days you would like to attend (keep it small and simple!) and start getting into the hang of participating, contributing and collaborating.

    When that’s working well, you may like to explore another option.

    Now, it’s over to you.

    What is your easiest and most obvious starting point?

    Ready to get more connected and create clients?

    It becomes a whole lot easier when you know how. 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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    Episode 91: Being Authentic

    If you want to be more authentic, there are three things you need to do – create courage, be honest and act with integrity.

    Nearly everyone I speak to wants to be more authentic. Authenticity is something most people value, and it is a key part of building strong personal and professional relationships.

    But what does being authentic mean, and what does it involve?

    I created this episode to help you understand what being authentic really means, the squeamish parts of being authentic, and the three things you need to do to start being more authentic.

    What is Authenticity?

    Authenticity means being yourself. It’s when your actions and words are congruent with your beliefs and values.

    The VIA Institute on Character describes authenticity with this statement:

    “I am honest to myself and others, I try to present myself and my reactions accurately to each person, and I take responsibility for my actions.”

    VIA Institute on Character 

    In other words, courage, honesty, and integrity are the three skills that create authenticity.

    Here’s an example of what being authentic looks like.

    One day I made a biriyani for dinner. My first one ever. We ate the meal and at the end, I asked my husband how he enjoyed it.

    He said, firmly but kindly, “I really appreciate the effort you went to in making dinner, but I would prefer not to have this again. I don’t really like it, but I’m glad you tried it and am thankful you took the time to make a lovely meal.”

    My first reaction was to feel deflated. He saw my face drop, and we talked about the importance of honesty.

    It turned out that he didn’t want to pretend to like a meal then lie to about it later. It would mean that I’d made it again, thinking he liked it, and he’d have to lie again. He might become frustrated, or resentful about that.

    It totally made sense to me, and I appreciated his honesty and courage and I could see that he was genuinely speaking with empathy and giving feedback from a place of love.

    This one conversation opened a whole new way of thinking and personal growth for me.

    It deepened our relationship and helped me to examine my own beliefs, thoughts and actions about honesty and integrity.

    It helped me to identify the skills that I wanted to develop, so I could be more authentic.

    As you can see it might be easy to assume that authenticity just happens.

    But it doesn’t.

    It’s more than just appearing to say something nice, or honest. 

    Have you heard of the smell of fear? It’s a real thing. When we are afraid, we give off chemicals that send a warning to others.

    If you have any fears, doubts or lack conviction in your beliefs and values, or are ‘faking it’ or hiding something, then you will be given away by your body chemistry, posture, tone of voice and facial expressions. Your body will contradict your so-called authenticity. 

    Have you ever heard people say one thing and seen them do another?

    Or have you ever had the sense that someone was lying to you?

    How did that feel? 

    And how did that affect your opinion of that person?

    Authenticity is a wonderful thing but the fact is, being authentic can be challenging.

    That’s because being authentic means that you need to be honest, to speak up for yourself, to voice an opinion, perhaps to be vulnerable, to expose something or to face a challenge.

    Being authentic often requires us to develop certain skills, like courage.

    If building relationships is important in your business and life, then it will serve you to improve your authenticity skills.

    Let’s look at the three main skills of being authentic.

    Courage

    In interpersonal relationships, it’s courage that allows you to name what is happening to raise awareness, acceptance and understanding.

    It’s when you can express observations, feelings, needs and requests and to shake up the status quo without offending, violating, blaming, shaming, or demeaning others.

    For example: I don’t like it when you do X, it makes me feel Y. I would like it if you didn’t do that around me anymore.

    If you have been in a cycle of people pleasing, it can be hard to find the language of courage, especially knowing that the other person may feel sad, disappointed or angry.

    It’s about being able to stay on the right side of that fine line.

    And let’s be clear: people pleasing is dishonest because it usually involves pretending to be someone that you’re not to meet someone else’s needs. It involves putting your own feelings and needs aside.

    As you could guess, it takes courage to break out of that cycle and say no, or to be clear about what you will or won’t, can or can’t do.

    If you have been in a cycle of people pleasing, it can be hard to find the language of courage, especially knowing that the other person may feel sad, disappointed or angry.

    You will also need to learn to be ok with other people’s discomfort.

    But courage is a powerful skill that can transform your relationships and build personal integrity.

    I recommend that to build courage, you start with some small challenging situation in your life where you want to speak up for yourself or set a boundary, or a place in your business where you need to ‘show up’. 

    Choose something that is just a little uncomfortable.

    Then rehearse what you will say in that situation and how you will say it in a way that is calm, rational and non-judgemental.

    Then schedule that into your diary and do it. Reflect on how it felt. Reflect on what you learned.

    I promise you, if you do this one small thing, and do it regularly, you will build phenomenal courage, diplomacy, self-assurance and emotional balance.

    Honesty

    The second part of being authentic is being honest.

    Honesty goes hand in hand with courage.

    It means you are speaking the truth and more broadly, it means that you are presenting yourself in a genuine and sincere way, without pretence.

    The research shows that honesty achieves more than just trust and positive relationships – it also helps you to set more accurate goals – in other words, goals that reflect your true values and interests.

    When you set realistic goals, you can more easily achieve them, and this in turn builds self-confidence.

    Honesty can be challenging because we are often afraid of the consequences; of hurting other people’s feelings, or of letting others down.

    The most important thing you can be, though, is honest with yourself. If you aren’t happy about something, or if you are living out of alignment with what you believe in, then it’s going to create more tension within you than if you lie to protect the feelings of others.

    This is worth thinking about.

    And the truth is, if people can’t handle your honest and tactful truth, spoken diplomatically, then they are probably not your people.

    Integrity

    The third part of being authentic is integrity.

    Integrity is when you are who you say you are and act consistently across all areas of your life, rather than behaving differently around different people.

    Integrity is when you live your life in alignment with your values, morals and ethics.

    It’s been described as ‘doing the right thing, even when no-one is looking.’

    In other words, integrity is a personal choice.

    And it is a choice that builds confidence, courage, and authenticity.

    Here’s why.

    When you live with integrity, you never have to question yourself or doubt yourself. You are doing what you know is right for you. 

    And when you take responsibility and are accountable for your actions, other people will trust you and respect you.

    You become a role model and develop a positive reputation.

    I feel that it’s easier to forgive someone’s mistakes if they have integrity, because you know that they are coming from an authentic, honest place.

    Integrity directly impacts on your success in life because it improves your chance of promotion, leadership and attractiveness, generally.

    Right now, think about someone you know who seems to have a lot of integrity.

    How do you feel about that person?

    How much do you trust them?

    What is it specifically that causes you to feel this way about them?

    You can hone your integrity by being clear on your core values, your decisions and by developing your strengths.

    For example, if your strongest values are around family, community, contribution, love and responsibility, then it makes sense that you will cultivate thoughts and actions that align with those values.

    In another example, if your strongest values are around achievement, competitiveness, courage, hard work and helping society, then it makes sense that you would cultivate thoughts and actions that align more with those values.

    Neither of those two people is better than the other, they are just different.

    But if person B presented to be family-oriented, but was more interested in creating ventures that helped communities, you would easily identify the incongruence between words and actions.

    Similarly, if person A said that they badly wanted to get promoted at work, they might secretly rather prefer to focus on their family and loved ones, and might not be able to get the promotion they say they want.

    As you can see, one of the foundations of being authentic is being self-aware.

    When you understand what your values are and what drives you, then it’s way easier to act congruently and to be authentic.

    When you take responsibility and are accountable for your actions, other people will trust you and respect you.

    Summary

    Being authentic is a wonderful way to build personal and business relationships, to feel fulfilled, and to follow your purpose.

    But it’s more than just saying certain things or acting in a way that impresses others.

    Being authentic requires three core skills; courage, honesty and integrity.

    When you are self-aware, and act consistently with your values across all areas of life, with honesty, you are well on the way to being authentic.

    Ready to be more authentic?

    When you understand what your values are and what drives you, then it’s way easier to act congruently and to be authentic. 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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    Episode 86: The Central Governor Theory

    As we enter the so-called third phase of isolation, what can we learn from Dr Tim Noake’s Central Governor Theory to help us cope better and go the distance?

    I was reading an article on the ABC news, where they were talking about the stages of isolation, and that we are entering the third stage of isolation right now.

    A pile of studies have been conducted Into the mental health of people who live in Antarctica and in other isolated areas such as submarines and polar bunkers and they’ve worked out what happens when these people are in isolation. 

    Apparently in the beginning when you are isolated there is this period of anxiety and confusion – which we on dry land but in isolation, have seen as ‘panic buying.’

    It’s followed by the second phase they call the ‘honeymoon period’- a stage where we settle into a routine that feels a bit novel and different. 

    For example, you may revel in the opportunity to work in your pyjamas and not battle morning traffic and it feels good, a little bit special.

    The ABC article says we are entering a third quarter of “hollow-eyed stares, odd fixations and brooding resentment. Where time grows sludgy, day blurs into night, and weekdays into weekends as you start to become lonely and to feel more offended and a bit desperate.”

    In psychological studies of extreme confinement it’s called the third quarter phenomenon and apparently it’s where we may see a rise of emotional outburst, aggression and rowdy behaviour, as we anticipate the end of isolation but it does not come. 

    As the article rolled on, I could see the parallels with a phenomenon called the central governor theory – described in 1997 by Dr Tim Noakes, an emeritus professor in the Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at the University of Cape Town.

    The Central Governor Theory

    The theory applies to exercise but I believe our brains could be operating under the same model right now, while we are in isolation.

    Here’s how it works. The premise of the model is that your brain will override your physical ability to run and “shut the body down” before you’re able to do serious or permanent damage to yourself.

    And I would like to explain how this works in the context of running, then you will see how it also works and applies to the context of regular life.

    CGT in Running

    Runnersconnect.net describes CGT really well so I will quote them directly here:

    “At around mile 8 of a marathon, the race pace becomes difficult and the thought of running further seems impossible even for just a minute. Yet within a few hundred metres of the finish line, you are somehow able to summon a kick that finds you running minutes per mile faster than goal pace.

    Once your brain realises it won’t die if you pick up the pace, the biological pathways open up so you can run faster.

    That’s not to say that the physiological demands of a race aren’t real. Rather, the central governor theory posits that racing is a balance between: 

    (1) physical preparation and biological systems; 

    (2) emotional components, such as motivation and pain tolerance; 

    (3) and self-preservation. 

    The exact combination of these factors is what leads to how hard you’re able to push during a race.

    I love the way they describe the central governor theory in running and break it down into those three elements – which you can see are totally applicable to our lives right now.

    CGT in Isolation

    The parallels with the so-called third stage of isolation seems to tie in with that 8 mile mark of a marathon.

    We knew isolation was coming so we went through some physical preparation.

    We may see a rise of emotional outburst, aggression and rowdy behaviour, as we anticipate the end of isolation but it does not come. 

    Now we are needing to manage the emotional components, like motivation and tolerance.

    We anticipate the end but it seems so far away, it’s uncertain, and we can’t judge how long there is to go. As a result, we feel stuck, flat, in pain and unable to cope for just another minute.

    We also have the element of self preservation, where we want to protect ourselves from harm, and also to manage our own expectations and avoid disappointment. We are trying to temper both our enthusiasm and our frustration as we await the lifting of restrictions.

    But when we have a date around when the restrictions will be lifted, and what that entails, we will feel safe and confident about moving forward enthusiastically to that finish line.

    I think the question here is not so much ‘when will this all end’ – because that keeps us in a lost, stuck and catatonic state.

    The question is really – ‘how can we move through the current pain and uncertainty, and just keep running?’

    Tricking Your Brain

    It’s clear to me that the central governor theory applies as much to life as it does to running. 

    Maybe we can discover a solution from the runner’s world.

    The problem that many runners face on race day is that they try to push themselves beyond their comfort zone when their mind is telling them that they can’t go any faster.

    Here are three techniques that runners use, and how we can apply them to our own brains in the context of isolation.

    1. Workouts

    In the running world, regular workouts don’t normally train you to give it your all at the end of a session, but you can integrate bursts of energy that push through the barriers at the end.

    In an isolation context, we can persist with our daily lives without holding back, and continue to do what we can, when we can, without falling into fear. 

    The next two steps will help you with that!

    2. Mental training

    In the racing world, they say that no matter how well rested or prepared the body is, racing hurts, so you need to prepare for that mentally so that your brain doesn’t override your physical abilities at the end.

    In an isolation context, the same applies. Be prepared for it to be challenging at times, but remember that our bodies and brains are wired to push through challenges and succeed. 

    Recall a time when you have felt this way, and visualize yourself pushing through that moment. Remember what it felt like to push through the challenges and how it felt to make it to the other side.

    This will help you to deal with any difficult times in the months ahead.

    3. Pacing

    In the racing world, there is a focus on improving your sense of pace, because pacing is one of the ways the brain self-regulates the central governor. 

    That is, your brain “anticipates” all the known variables of a race and calculates an optimal pace that will get you to the finish without dying.

    If the path deviates from what you anticipate, that is, if you try to go faster on race day, the brain reacts by forcing you to slow down. 

    In an isolation context, you also need to pace yourself and in this case, it is difficult to anticipate the end without information about what it will be like and when it will occur.

    However, you can anticipate how you will operate based on what you know right now.

    It may help you to focus on smaller, more immediate periods of time, such as next week, so that your brain has something concrete to anticipate.

    Summary

    The central governor theory, first proposed by Dr Tim Noakes in 1997, describes how our brain tries to protect our body when things don’t go as we anticipate them.

    You can anticipate how you will operate based on what you know right now.

    In the context of social isolation during the current period of self-isolation, our brains are doing the same thing.

    We can learn from what marathon runners do to outwit their brains, and stay strong until the finish, with a burst of energy as the finish line approaches.

    If you need help to manage your emotions at this trying time, contact me on https://melaniejwhite.com/

    Ready to cope better?

    You can train your brain to better manage your emotions. 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: