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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 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 90: Working From Home

If you want to master working from home, this episode is for you. 

 I want to walk you through a four step process to set up a really effective working from home situation so you can more easily adapt to a new way of doing business.

Before we start I want to share a bit of my story with you so you get some context for the rest of this session.

Twelve years ago my husband and I did a sea change. 

We moved from our businesses with busy offices and staff, and our nearby friends and family, to the opposite side of Australia where we knew nobody and at the same time I was doing a career change.

So as you can imagine we went from being very well-connected and very confident in our skills to having no external connections with others, no other close relationships, spending all day with each other and grappling with the steep learning curve of doing something new and different then we were used to.

It took a long time for me to get my head around how I was going to operate in the world. I felt like I had lost my sense of purpose, who I was and what I stood for. 

I want to mention this because a lot of people right now are feeling this way too. 

Maybe you’ve had to give up your job or change your job, or have suddenly faced the new and uncomfortable reality of being faced with your life in the home environment as you work from home. And perhaps as part of that you’re really questioning your capacity or whether you can cope with this situation. 

My answer to you is yes you can. You can absolutely cope with this.

The secret is to figure out how to adapt, and to do your way. 

That’s what I want to talk to you about today

I want to walk you through the four steps that I went through to be able to work at home and be productive and feel connected as an example of what’s possible.

I hope this helps you to come up with your own ideas about how to transition into this way of working, yourself.

Let’s walk through the four steps!

1. Connection

Connection is the first important step, because without a sense of feeling supported, you can quickly spiral into fear, doubt and lack of confidence.

When I first moved to rural New South Wales I intuitively knew that I needed some sort of connection to feel sane and normal, and that things were working. My logical brain was telling me that I needed to make contacts for my business. 

But emotionally, I was missing the day to day camaraderie of like minded people in the office. I was missing catching up with friends and I was missing interacting with my family. 

So one of the things that I did when I first moved to a new place was to start going to different sorts of association events, social group events, sporting groups and meeting people in different contexts, so I could figure out where my people were and how best to connect with them.

For me, this was finding smart, positive people who are interested in health and wellness, who like brainstorming and being creative, and who like a laugh.

Connection is the first important step, because without a sense of feeling supported, you can quickly spiral into fear, doubt and lack of confidence.

Even if physical meetings are impossible for whatever reason, there are still plenty of online communities that you can join and be part of. 

One of the things that’s great about connection is the chance to get to know your neighbours, the people in your street, the people who run your local businesses, and those who own the coffee shop down the road. 

Even without friends in an extreme case like a sea change, these become points of contact and help you feel socially connected even if you don’t know them that well. 

Let’s be clear – when you move interstate you will be starting off with fairly superficial relationships because it’s pretty difficult to replicate the friendship of 25 or 30 years. But what I have made peace with is that you can build those relationships again in a new place or in a new context simply by showing up regularly in social situations where your tribe is.

First, you have to find them.

Beyond getting started in a new place, I think it’s really important to know that when you work at home and you’re with yourself and perhaps your partner 24 hours a day.

You can feel a bit claustrophobic, so it’s important to schedule in meeting opportunities so you can get enough connection with others. 

What could this look like for you?

It could be having a daily trip to a local cafe to write a blog. 

It could be that during the week you schedule time slots to get you out of the house and go to places where you will see people, whether that be the shop, the gym, getting a massage or any other sort of social interaction. 

Add another level if you feel that you need to be able to brainstorm ideas with other people in business. 

Perhaps then you could hire a co-working space for a day, book a room in the local library, or join your local Chamber of Commerce and meet other people in business who might like to get together and brainstorm ideas at one of these venues, or a cafe, or at someone’s home or a Zoom meeting.

All of these things are possible, it just requires creative brainstorming. 

2. Planning

Once you have a plan for connecting with people you will be able to fill that very primal need to be part of a tribe.

The next thing to do is figure out what you need to do each day. 

It sounds simple but it can be challenging when your whole environment, schedule and context has changed. 

Planning is super important if you are somebody who is used to following directions or collaborating with teams on how projects will be delivered. It’s also important if you’re prone to distraction, or to procrastinate as soon as an obstacle comes up.

The easiest way to get your planning right is to start with one month at a time. 

Within that month, block out your must do activities like taking kids to school or shopping or other sorts of life appointments.

The reason that I recommend you plan one month at time is because initially, you’re going to need to experiment with what works for you. 

You’re going to find that some days or some times a day you have more energy or more focus or more creativity than others. 

So in that first month your goal will be to understand your natural rhythm and then to adjust your schedule to fit with that. 

There are also some ways that you can proactively change your state to be focused or analytical or creative but I will cover that in a separate podcast.

Once you have your month planner in front of you, the next thing to do is to schedule:

1. any set work meetings that you have and any of those connection points that you’ve defined, and then;

2. the obvious things that you need to do like reconciling invoices once a month or doing social media posts for business or submitting monthly reports for work.

By now you should be feeling pretty good, because it feels great to have identified some concrete regular tasks to do each week and to know when exactly you will do them.

3. Now think about how and when you will check your email and social media.

You may not normally schedule that kind of thing in a normal work environment, but at home, these are rabbit holes for a lot of people. 

One idea to get you started is to think about coming up with one or two time slots per day where you will check emails and allow a bit of time after that to attend to any immediate business. 

For example you might decide that you will spend 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at the end of the day checking email, and allow another 20 minutes after each of those sessions to follow up with schedule any tasks that arise. 

So that’s 2 x 30 minute email slots, for checking and taking immediate action.

I was speaking with a client yesterday about the best time to do the morning email. 

What actually happens in the morning is that it’s often a very good creative thinking time and if you launch into email right away, it can lead you into a hyper-responsive, detailed focus pattern that stops your creativity. 

Experiment for yourself; you may find it best to do a block of work or a creative task first before you do your first email check.

4. The next step is where you need to be a little bit creative and work out how to deal with bigger, project-level tasks. 

These are bigger tasks that you need to do that aren’t so easy to identify, or quantify. 

They are usually things that you haven’t done before, that you might usually brainstorm, or that you usually have guidance and direction to complete, or that usually involve getting other people‘s opinions or advice or expertise.

With these sorts of tasks you will need to break them down into smaller steps, and identify which segments require external help, review or ideas.

I like to use the Getting Things Done model to tackle projects and I’ll explain that here, because it’s been a game changer to help me quantify and chunk down project-style jobs. 

You may have a different way of working with projects but I’m just going to explain this model now.

The idea is that you identify separate projects and I have a folder for each one and a sheet of paper or a blank document to outline what the project is and what the main steps are. At the very big picture level I have a time frame on that project and A series of main steps. Here’s an example. Let’s say that my project is to overhaul my website. And this was an actual project that I snoozed for 40 weeks because it lacked clarity and definition of the step-by-step process. 

So if my project is to overhaul my website I could break that down into main tasks of revamping the homepage, revamping the services page, and revising the blogs. I could prioritise those main steps from most to least important and then what I could do is take the main priority step and brainstorm some smaller steps within that. 

So let’s say that revamping the Homepage was my first goal. I would need to decide what that actually means. It could be that I want to read and possibly update the copy. It might be that I want to add some new photographs. 

For somebody else this task could mean that they want to totally change the layout. So as you can see doing that sort of breakdown process allows you to get clear on what the individual tasks are and it makes it easier for you to assign times and timeslots to each of those. 

For example I might decide I will allow an hour to read my homepage copy and revise it. If you’re unsure about how long something will take it’s best to add an extra hour to the end and be prepared to need to have a second session later on if required

Then what I would do is pick the very first task of the project and schedule it into my calendar. And when I do that task I would go back to my project list and identify the next task and schedule that in. 

Working in that way avoids overwhelm and it helps you to get clear as you’re navigating that project on what the tasks are as they arise. Because let’s face it we can’t necessarily know all of the steps in the right order up front and it’s possibly better to define them as you go. Our brains have a tendency to want to latch onto predefined schedules even if they stop making sense.

3. Brain Breaks

Planning aside there is something else that needs to happen when you work from home. And that is taking breaks. If you get really focused on your work and are working effectively and there’s nothing else to do chances are you’re going to work too much. 

I put my hand up this happened to me a lot in the beginning and still does sometimes. 

That’s why doing number one first and establishing those outside connections and commitments socially is really important because it gets you out of the house and gets you away from work so that you don’t overwork.

There’s two types of breaks. 

The first is taking a brain break while you’re working so that you’re not staring at your screen all day. It can be useful to put house work or other small tasks in between work tasks to give your brain a break, want to go and take a shower or to walk outside into the garden or something to give your eyes a rest and give your brain a chance to shift the focus.

The second type of break is taking a more extended break and knowing when to switch off at the end of the day and having a set lunch break. 

It’s really easy to work through lunch and to sit at your desk all day and for the slumped over desk posture become your new ‘asana’, and for digital eye strain to creep in, and to start feeling disconnected and snappy.

Discipline is often required to disconnect. Create rules and boundaries, and know that when you stick to them, you will be powerfully productive when you ARE at work.

4. Self Care

I coach a lot of business owners who work from home. And their universal lesson is that they need to do something for themself FIRST thing in the day in order to maintain emotional balance, to feel calm, and to eat well and exercise.

Many of them have learned the hard way; that when all work and everyone else’s needs come first, they start reaching for the chocolate, the wine and the weight watchers subscription, they sleep poorly and feel flat, snappy or moody.

I am thinking of several clients who do one thing for themselves before starting their day, and that allows them to do so much more and feel satisfied without needing to reach for comfort.

They typically start with either:

  1. Journaling or writing goals, or
  2. Exercise of some sort, or 
  3. Meditation, or
  4. Doing something creative or doing creative work FIRST before the meetings and clients. 

There are other options; these are just a few things that my clients are doing to stay sane, grounded, happy and productive.

Create rules and boundaries, and know that when you stick to them, you will be powerfully productive when you ARE at work.

Summary

We’ve talked about the challenges of working from home, and it may take you up to a year or more to get your head around how to make it work for you.

In this episode I’ve talked you through four steps that have helped me to gain enough connection, structure and balance ro adjust and adapt to a productive, happy work environment.

Ready to be more productive while working at home?

You can proactively change the way you function and even the way your brain works! 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 89: Stretch Goals

Do you want to develop courage, confidence, persistence, agility, strategic thinking and self-belief? Then you might just need to set a stretch goal.

Imagine if you could achieve a huge goal, something bigger than ever you thought you were capable of?

How much self-belief would you have if you could do that?

What else would be possible?

And how sweet would it be to overcome your fears and overwhelm, so you could bask in the glow of achievement?

It would be amazing.

Many more doors would open for you, and the world would have many more possibilities because you’d taken a leap of faith, and grown as a person along the way.

Would it be an easy process to get there?

Probably not.

It would be a baptism of fire – a situation where you must immediately cope with difficulties and obstacles.

But you would be a stronger, better person for it, more confident, accomplished and ready to tackle the next thing.

Welcome to stretch goals – the topic of today’s episode – guaranteed to supercharge your business and your life.

What is a Stretch Goal?

According to Harvard Business Review, a stretch goal is a blend of extreme difficulty and extreme novelty.

Extreme difficulty means going beyond your current capability and performance.

For you, this could mean going all out to lose 15kg, or holding a big marketing event to attract 100 people to your business, or just saving an extra $300 this month.

Extreme novelty means working differently, creatively, following new paths or approaches never tried before.

For you, this could mean trying a totally new exercise approach, or making a complete change in your business model.

Why Set A Stretch Goal?

You’re probably thinking that the whole stretch goal idea sounds a bit hard, a bit crazy and a bit scary. It sounds like a risk.

And it is ALL those things.

BUT the results you get from a stretch goal are worth it:

  • courage
  • determination
  • agility
  • the ability to manage risks, and
  • self-belief.

So in summary, a stretch goal is a hard goal that pushes you outside your comfort zone so you can truly discover what you’re capable of.

Top performers know that failure is part of the process so more than anything, stretch goals are an exercise in developing self-belief, acceptance and persistence by achieving bigger things than you thought were possible.

A Crazy Example (Do Not Try This At Home)

In 1997, my then-boyfriend, an avid motorbike rider, suggested that we do a trip across Australia from Perth Western Australia to Cairns Queensland through the middle of the country on dirt and sealed highways. 

It seemed like a great idea – but I had never ridden a motorbike before in my life.

This was going to be a monumental stretch goal that would shape my beliefs, attitudes and the course of my life going forward.

At the time, I had to take stock and think seriously about whether I could actually do this. Whether I had the resources within me to be able to take on such a big crazy goal.

I had to consider the time it would take me to learn to ride a bike. What would it cost me to buy a motorbike, lessons and to get my license and riding gear.

Then of course there was the whole rest of the trip to plan, like where the fuel stops were, how to modify the motorbikes to carry enough fuel between the fuel stops, how physically strong I’d need to be to ride the 10,000km and endure the harsh conditions of the desert. 

We had to think about safety check ins, sleeping arrangements, dried food and water given the limited carrying capacity of our motorbikes. 

I figured that between us we had what it took to do this trip and to plan it really well, so I said yes, let’s do it. And we developed and rolled out our travel plan over a 12 month period.

This was going to be a monumental stretch goal that would shape my beliefs, attitudes and the course of my life going forward.

In the weeks leading up to the trip people told me I was crazy. They laughed at me. They said things like, ‘you’ll never do that’ and ‘you’ll kill yourself’ and ‘who do you think you are?’

I didn’t dare tell my parents I was going because they would have been horrified. 

After all, I was 26 years old and was about to ride my own small off road motorbike – a Yamaha XT-250 – across the desert with no off road experience and only three months of lessons, license and riding time.

But I forged on. I created a 6-week gym training program for myself to build up some strength for the long haul ahead and I added 2kg of muscle to my skinny little frame. I felt strong, and physically and mentally ready.

A week before we left, I came down with a really terrible flu and was bedridden with a chesty, green-phlegmy cough in the week prior to our departure. I was SO sick. I had barely any energy and I lost all of the gains that I’d made in the gym. 

But we delayed our departure by a week, had a farewell party, and decided to go ahead anyway. 

The first 2 days it rained solidly and we made it on the sealed roads via Merredin and Kalgoorlie to Laverton where we holed up for a day and waited for the rain to pass.  

But when the rain showed no signs of letting up, we decided to hit the dirt highway so we could get ahead of the front. 

That meant riding a bike with 3 months of experience under my belt, heading into slippery mud holes, slimy sliding muddy roads, rocky hills, deep sand river beds  and of course coping with any cows, camels, kangaroos, wild horses and other wildlife sprinting across the road. 

There was not a soul in sight for most of the ride, and being the middle of winter in Australia it was freezing cold at night and crisp and sunny during the day – great for riding but not so good when you have the flu and a fever and a constantly runny nose. 

We wore balaclavas during the day under our helmets to keep warm and my balaclava was stuck to my top lip because of my runny nose. 

As you can imagine, I felt miserable and like giving up. I spent the first few days crying, sending daggers at the back of my boyfriend’s head, realising that there was no way out and I had to keep going. 

It felt bloody awful and terrifying. I was riding at about 40 km per hour while my boyfriend rode on ahead then impatiently waiting for me to catch up. 

On about day 6 of the trip something interesting happened. We were riding through the desert near Peagull Caves in WA, and up ahead on the dirt road I could see this little shape.

As we drew closer, I realised it was an Italian guy riding a little Vespa with a small suitcase and a hat box (of all things!). He was smoking a cigar, grinning broadly, and pottering along at 30 km per hour. I passed this guy and waved, then suddenly I felt like the queen of the world because finally there was somebody going slower than me on a smaller bike and he was enjoying himself.

You would not believe how good I felt in that moment. It was a huge lesson – that I could actually enjoy this journey and make the most of it. I didn’t have to be the fastest or best rider, I could simply ride, and be happy for being here and doing this huge feat.

Then I started to gain more confidence in my riding and although I was still to be sick with the flu for another six weeks, I really made progress. I felt like I was accomplishing something.

Then after a couple of nights’ stopover at Ayers Rock and Alice Springs, we hit the dirt again, and one of the most rugged tracks in the Northern Territory desert called the Cattle Water Pass. 

My boyfriend convinced me it was a 60 km shortcut but it ended up being one of the most hectic, eroded, difficult, windy tracks I could have ever imagined (he did apologise for taking me down it later on). The upshot is I ended up nearly falling off my bike and collapsing in exhaustion covered in sweat and feeling defeated. 

I was in the middle of Australia and the only thing I could do was to keep riding.

We ended that day at the Urandangi Roadhouse and all I could see ahead was a dusty road with rocks and big bulldust holes that could easily cause an accident. Bulldust holes look like the normal road, but they are actually gaping holes that can be up to a couple of metres wide and maybe half a metre deep, filled with very fine dried silt.

So on the surface, they look like road, but when you ride a motorbike through them at 70km/hour, your front wheel plunges in and you go flying over the front. Which is NOT what you want to do in the remote central desert.

I was terrified of the road ahead, so I asked every person I saw at the pub – both of them – what the conditions were like. 

The first guy said “it’s a great road, you could drive a regular 2WD car on it, you’ll be fine”. Phew, what a relief!

But then the next guy said “it’s the worst road I’ve ever been on it’s full of bulldust holes and you’re at high risk of a serious crash – it’s not safe to drive on”. 

It was at that point that I realised that nobody could predict what the road ahead would be like. Nobody could guarantee me that I would be safe. I had to just get on that road and ride it; to make my own decisions about how to ride, and how I was going to talk to myself about that journey (mostly, I prayed). 

But, isn’t that a metaphor for life? 

The trip got easier from then on. We made it to Cairns, stayed a few weeks and by the time it came to do the journey home I was a confident and competent rider and I was riding at 80 km per hour off-road and was able to handle all different sorts of terrain with confidence.

What Stretch Goals Create

I mentioned that that trip was a defining moment for me.

At the time, I felt like I was the queen of the world. I had a huge sense of accomplishment and achievement. I had so much more self-belief. 

I knew that if I persisted I could get through anything, even when it seemed there was no way out.

That trip helped me to develop character strengths and skills that I would not have had otherwise.

And in the years after that, I have used those strengths, skills and that self-belief to start businesses, to change careers, to move interstate, backing myself the whole way.

Why was I able to do these things? 

Because I knew that I could make them work. I had proof. And without that baptism of fire, I might never have achieved everything I have so far in my life.

That, my friends, is what stretch goals can create. 

For me, that was a stretch goal worth pursuing.

Summary

Yes, the whole stretch goal idea is a bit hard, crazy and scary. 

It involves getting out of your comfort zone to tackle something huge – something that seems impossible – knowing that you could fail along the way.

Some people will tell you it’s easy, others will tell you it’s hard. In the end you’ve just got to back yourself. 

Is it worth it?

You will have to decide for yourself.

But if you want to grow as a person, and to develop more courage, determination, persistence, agility, strategic thinking and self-belief, I highly recommend setting yourself a stretch goal.

It will totally change your life.

If you want to study stretch goals with me, jump on into my monthly membership at https://www.melaniejwhite.com/habitology.

Ready to set a stretch goal?

It’s a great way to grow as a person, and to develop more courage, persistence, and self-belief! 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 74: Confidence in Your Coaching Skills

If you want to build confidence in your coaching skills, quickly and effectively, you need to start doing these things right now.

I have been having lots of conversations lately with graduate coaches about their levels of confidence around their coaching and their ability to run a business.

So I decided to create this episode – dedicated to you new coaches or wellness practitioners out there – about how to build confidence in your coaching business.

When I say confident coaching business, I mean that you feel confident in your modality, in your skills, and about your business. We are going to cover these things in TWO podcast episodes because it’s a big juicy topic.

Today, we are going to focus on confidence in your modality and your coaching skills.

The NEXT episode will cover confidence in your business skills.

Before we dive in, I want to share one of the most important lessons that I’ve learnt in life.

It’s simply this – if you feel confident about what you’re doing or selling, then it is extremely convincing, magnetic and compelling to other people.

Here’s proof. Think about someone you know who is self-confident. 

How inspired do you feel around that person? 

Would you trust their opinion or advice? 

Now, think about somebody that you know who is confident in running their business. 

Do you look up to them? 

Are they a role model for you?

When you are confident in who you are and what you do, you can sell anything – no matter what it is. Your unwavering belief and confidence is highly magnetic and highly attractive. It’s the secret of effective marketing!

That’s why feeling confident in your coaching will help you to build a powerful business.

Now let’s explore three areas in more depth: feeling confident in what you do (your modality), feeling confident about your skills in that area.

Confidence in What You Do

Let’s start by talking about your confidence in what you do – that is, in your profession. 

Even if you don’t have much experience in your field as a coach or wellness practitioner, you will likely have great confidence in the modality that you use. 

When you are confident in who you are and what you do, you can sell anything – no matter what it is.

You probably have great confidence in the power of that modality to truly help people make change, to become healthier, calmer, less anxious and more at peace.

That’s a really important starting point. Because if you lack confidence in your abilities, at least you know that your modality is effective and you believe in that – and you can learn and improve your skills.

If you feel confident in what you do, congratulations, that’s great! 

If you don’t believe in what you’re doing then your commitment, confidence in your abilities and your ability to sell it are going to be virtually zero.

I’ve had this experience myself. I joined a network marketing business many years ago and they introduced new product lines that I didn’t like.

Because I didn’t believe in many of their new products, I found it harder and harder to sell those products because it didn’t feel authentic and aligned. I had to quit that organisation within a year of joining.

That taught me a valuable lesson – simply, that I must believe in what I do in order to be good at it and be able to sell it.

So I invite you to step back and look at the big picture of what you do for a moment – your modality – and consider how effective that modality is. 

Consider what happens when experienced practitioners use that modality. Think about the results that their clients have achieved. 

The upshot of this is, even if you have had few or no clients yourself, really get clear on how much you believe in your modality as an effective tool to help people. 

It’s a great point of focus if you are new as a coach/practitioner, and/or in your business, because at least you believe in the power of what you do!

To help you boost your confidence and get rid of doubt, you may like to include a focus on the benefits and possible outcomes of your modality as part of your pre-session ritual, to truly get connected to the value of what you do.

Confidence in Your Ability as a Coach

The next thing to talk about is building confidence in your own ability as a coach or practitioner. 

You will need to take a slightly longer view because it takes time to develop skills and competence in ANY area of life.

Let’s face it, you can’t study a year of piano theory and step onto the stage as a concert pianist, having never done that before, right?

The thing with confidence in your ability is that you need to find evidence for your BRAIN. That’s because our brains want evidence that something is true before truly believing it. 

I recommend that you listen to my previous podcast #73 where I talked about how your inner critic can get you stuck in a negative thought loop that your brain will eventually turn into a belief!

If you think that you’re no good and focus on that then your brain will find evidence to support that. And if you think you could develop confidence and skills and are curious about that, then your brain will find evidence for that instead. 

So focusing on how you could develop skills or become a better coach, or to acknowledge what is working well, is way better training for your brain.

This raises the question – how can you help your brain to get the evidence that it needs to believe that you’re good at what you’re doing or at least competent – so that you can start to feel more confident in your skills and abilities?

Our brains want evidence that something is true before truly believing it. 

In my role as a Coach Trainer for a health and wellness coaching school, I explain a few different ways for student coaches to that can quickly and effectively build confidence. 

These ways revolve around mindfulness, self-awareness, reflection and acknowledging success. These are things that don’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s important that we develop these skills as part of our personal and professional development – and to help us become more confident as coaches.

I want to share FIVE ways that you can become a more confident coach or practitioner.

You may want to write these down, so you can set some goals around these things and weave them into your schedule.

#1 – The first thing to do DO IT – to actually coach – with practice clients – until you start feeling confident enough to do paid sessions. 

Find anyone with a pulse who you like and who is willing to change. Do two or three sessions with them just to get the feel of coaching and using the skills. 

Don’t worry about ongoing sessions or continuity in the beginning – just use the sessions to become familiar and comfortable with your methodology and running a coaching session.

That leads me to the second point.

#2 – When you work with clients, make sure that you choose people that you have good chemistry with and who are ready to change. 

If you don’t have a good personality fit with your client or if they’re ambivalent or a bit resistant to change, or just trying to do a favour, then your session with them will likely feel difficult or uncomfortable and you will probably question your own ability.

By all means experiment with different kinds of clients and personalities so you can see who fits best, but be mindful that not everyone will be the right client for you – and that this is NOT a reflection of your skills as a coach.

It’s a fact of life – we tend to attract certain types of people and not others. That’s one reason why only certain people will want to work with you, and why it’s worth targeting a niche.

I learned about client chemistry the hard way. 

I was running my coaching business and had somebody else selling clients into my program. 

After a while, I realised that I felt drained and tired when I was walking into those sessions. I started to doubt my ability as a coach. And I was ready to quit. Fed up. Disheartened.

THEN I reflected on the facts and realised that I had exceptional rapport with certain clients AND that they were getting the best outcomes. It was then that I realised I needed to target a niche and find my ideal client so that my work was always energizing. 

It is valuable to work with different types of people in the beginning to figure out who your people are – but be aware that the differences in your personalities or learning styles and how that may affect your confidence in your skills. 

What do you think that means for a new graduate coach or practitioner? If their client seems difficult, they will likely start blaming themselves for their poor skills. I’ve seen it a hundred times, and it’s the absolute wrong thing to do. 

If you DO find yourself feeling uncomfortable about a client, please simply step back and acknowledge them as a person with their own challenges that they are responsible for, and know that your job is to hold space and work with them in a way that they need. 

Your job is not to fix them but to be there for them and support them and to help them find their own solutions. Better still, start becoming more selective about who you work with and choose people that you have great chemistry.

That’s a really organic process for finding your niche and ideal client, loving your work and to rapidly build confidence and capacity as a coach or practitioner.

#3 – The third way to build confidence in your coaching skills is to start reflecting on your own performance. 

When you graduate, you no longer have a teacher supporting you and guiding you in the use of your skills. You’re on your own. Developing your own feedback loop is therefore an essential part of your professional development.

Do a post session reflection and fill in your coaching log. 

This is an essential professional development practice that can raise self awareness, identify your strengths, and find areas that need sharpening up.

#4 – the fourth way to build confidence is to get feedback from your clients. There are a few types of feedback that you can get in a session. 

  • You can get non-verbal cues from your client.

Watch their body language through the session with you. Do they become more open? Do they seem more relaxed? Does their energy or excitement build?. 

These are all non-verbal cues that indicate your client is growing and getting something important out of the session with you. 

  • You can ask your clients for feedback at the end of each session.

Build it into your session close to ask what they learnt about themselves and if they have any feedback on the coaching. What you’ll find is that clients are usually so thankful and grateful for your listening or the realisation they had. 

Many new graduate coaches I speak to think that listening to someone doesn’t have any value and isn’t worth anything but when you hear your clients expressing their heartfelt gratitude for your holding space you’ll start to really see how valuable it is for the client and that’s what this is all about-them.

  • Ask clients to complete a written survey at the end of their whole coaching program asking them what they liked, didn’t like, what changed, and how they changed, and what their next goals are.

This will give you a LOT of information about the entire process as well as your skills, and about their own openness to change, commitment and self-responsibility.

#5 – The fifth way to build confidence in your coaching ability is to help your client measure and monitor changes they experience on a week by week basis. 

Monitoring and measuring could include the assessment of weekly goals using percent success for each goal,  it could also include physical measurements that they may take such as number of steps or 1 to 10 scales for stress or energy. 

Anything that they are physically recording and seeing changes in is giving you evidence that your process your methodology and your skills and their readiness to change a facilitating shifts that have value to the client. And all of these give you ongoing evidence that will help you to build confidence in your coaching skills. 

The caveat for this one is that some clients struggle to change due to their own beliefs or past trauma that have nothing to do with your skill. It may simply mean that their challenges are outside your scope and referral is required.

Summary

The way to build confidence in your coaching ability is to actually do it. 

We discussed two ways to build confidence.

1. Start with confidence in your modality. 

It will help your brain and your mindset to focus on the positives that your qualification or modality can create. 

Look to experienced practitioners in your industry and observe your role models to validate that what you’re doing is effective and credible.

2. Build confidence in your coaching ability by coaching, and collecting feedback.

The five ways to do this included:

  1. Start coaching people now and start learning from that. Get comfortable with a couple of free sessions with a client, then work up to a series of sessions with paying clients.
  2. Work with clients you have good chemistry with.
  3. Create your own feedback loop – your coaching log.
  4. Get client body language, verbal feedback in a session, and written feedback at the end.
  5. Help your client measure and monitor change as evidence that ‘it worked’.

Just like playing the piano, you can only become good at coaching by actually doing it.

Ready to sell your service with confidence?

Feeling confident in your coaching will help you to build a powerful business. 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 73: The Three Best Ways to Build Self-Confidence

Do you really wish you were more self confident but aren’t sure where or how to start?

Then this episode is just for you.

Self-confidence is a skill that anyone can learn.

And I want to walk through three things that you can do to start building self-confidence, so you can show up and be more powerful in your own life and in the world.

What is Self-Confidence?

A  nice simple definition of self-confidence is to be secure in yourself and your abilities.

I believe self-confidence comes from three things; trust, a sense of competence and your ability to value yourself. 

You may like to go back and listen to Episode 72 for more information on developing Unwavering Self-Confidence.

Why would you want to become self-confident?

Well, there are lots of great reasons.

When you are self-confident, you can handle your emotions better.

You will feel more in control of yourself and your life. 

You will become more self-reliant, which means you can make better decisions for yourself, trust your own instincts and look after yourself better.

When you’re self-confident, you will probably speak to yourself more kindly and be a happier person who achieves what they want in life.

It sounds like a great place to be, doesn’t it? 

So, how do you get there?

The Shy Little Rabbit

I would like to share my own experience of developing self-confidence as it may be relevant to you.

As a small child, I was what you would call painfully shy. 

What I mean by that at adult parties I would be terrified of playing with other kids or even speaking to other kids, so I would sit next to my mum all night while she spoke to the adults and I would enviously stare at all the children having fun around me. 

At primary school, I didn’t raise my hand in class even though I knew the answer because I was terrified of being wrong or being judged. 

As a teenager I was uncomfortable about who I was and having any attention paid to me so I sat quietly at school and had just a couple of close friends because I didn’t feel confident enough to join in with social groups and activities that my peers were involved in. 

And when it came to my first serious dinner date with a new boyfriend, I was so self-conscious about having him see me eating that I struggled to eat much of anything at all.

Through my growing up years, I wasn’t secure in myself, I doubted my abilities and I found it hard to value myself or my opinion.

I struggled at job interviews in my 20’s, and I feared judgement in social circles so was never willing to put forward an opinion or take a stand for anything.

So a lot of the time I sat on the sidelines.

I was a watcher; a listener, a passenger on the bus.

But I felt that life was passing me by and that I was capable of so much more and helping so many more people – if only I had the self-confidence!

Does any of this resonate with you?

Have you felt like this before?

Fast forward to today and I am confidently and competently running my own successful business.

I am a contract coach trainer for Australia’s leading Coach Training organisation. I’m very comfortable on camera, doing Facebook lives, and in any sort of public speaking event. 

In the past few years, I’ve danced in a troupe in front of 10,000 people on stage, performed in various concerts, and have presented at local and international conferences with ease and confidence.

These days, I trust myself, back myself and I recognise what I am capable of. 

I’d like to share three things that I have done to help me develop self-confidence.

1 – Change your self-talk and thinking patterns

 

The most powerful thing you can do to build self confidence is to change the way you talk to yourself and to observe and start to change your automatic thinking patterns. 

I didn’t know about the power of changing your self-talk when I was growing up, but I really wish I had started there because I would have become self confident far more quickly & easily.

The reason self-talk and thinking patterns are so powerful is that most of our thoughts are unconscious, and negative.

I believe that as a society we tend to condone the behaviour of self-deprecation, of de-valuing our efforts or diminishing ourselves in front of others. 

People call it being humble. But I disagree and I really want to challenge this paradigm.

The dictionary definition of the word humble is “having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s importance.”

But the VIA Institute on character has a more accurate definition of humility as a character strength. 

They say a common misconception is that humility involves low self-esteem and worthiness or a lack of self-focus. 

But true humility means that you can accurately assess your own skills, you can recognise your limitations, you can keep your accomplishments in perspective and you’re not distorting any part of your own image, representing yourself and your capabilities accurately.

True humility means that you can accurately assess your own skills, you can recognise your limitations, you can keep your accomplishments in perspective.

So back to the concept of self-talk and thinking patterns.

It’s as simple as this: if you are thinking accurate, factual and positive thoughts about yourself and your abilities, you will develop self-confidence.

If you are criticising yourself, doubting your abilities or judging yourself, you will create self-doubt.

Thoughts are just statements that, when repeated, become your beliefs.

So how do you change your self-talk and thinking patterns?

The first step is to start watching your thoughts and noticing how you talk to yourself, and what you are thinking about yourself.

The next step is to replace any negative or unhelpful thoughts into something factual and non judgemental.

For example, if you catch yourself thinking something like “I can’t do this”, then you could change that thought into a question, like “what do I need to learn so I can do this?”.

Since our thoughts are largely unconscious and automatic, it is really helpful if you work with a coach to uncover your hidden thoughts, and to learn how to self coach as we do in my membership.

2 – Set and Achieve Stretch Goals

You probably would agree that a lot of people start with action rather than thought because they’re not aware of the impact of thought work, or perhaps they think that actions are easier to start with.

We see it everywhere: people tend to start with a gym membership, or a diet, or some other sort of action rather than examining the thoughts and motivators that drive those actions. 

Before I had any awareness of the power of my mind I would use stretch goals to help me do things that I lack confidence to do otherwise. 

I didn’t know that by changing my thinking I could develop more self belief more quickly and I wish I had started there, because I would have managed failure a lot better and become stronger and more resilient. 

In any case, I learned that if I dug deep and found courage, and took action despite my fear, then I felt good about what I was achieving. 

The added bonus for me was that taking physical action gave me tangible proof that I had some sort of skill or ability or confidence to do something, and the sense of accomplishment felt more real.

So while it’s important to change your self-talk, it’s equally important to set and achieve stretch goals.

Here are a few of the bigger stretch goals that I have done through the years. 

They mostly involve being in the public eye somehow, I think because I found it harder to back out of something and perhaps a little more of an accomplishment to put yourself out there.

  • At high school; volunteered to do a role play with two other students in Year 11 English class (I got a standing ovation! LOL)
  • On a Bali holiday, I was asked to do catwalk modeling of locally made leather clothes at a big tourist party and saw this would be good for developing posture and presence.
  • At university, I did a presentation on my honours project at an International Wetlands Conference with an audience of around 300 people (scary – but a way to build credibility and hone my speaking skills)
  • After my honours year, I put my name down to be a first year student tutor (a paid role) which involved me teaching cell biology and animal biology to classes of 25 – 40 students at a time. This taught me agility. 
  • From the age of 25 onwards, I started presenting my research and findings at environmental conferences in front of audiences of 100+ people
  • When I was 27, my boyfriend at the time and I rode motorcycles from Perth to Cairns, through the desert. I had three months to get my license and learn how to ride off road.
  • When I was 27, I became a company Director and Manager in our business.
  • When I was 28, I danced in a troupe in front of 10,000 people at the Perth Entertainment Centre on Australia Day.
  • When I was 38, I went for a Guinness World Record for the longest bellydance shimmy at a local health expo and was promoted in local and interstate media.

These are just examples and they may be bigger goals than you might like to stretch for. For me, these gave me a sense of validation and external feedback, of proof in the world that my goal was real, and a more tangible sense of accomplishment.

Right now you might be asking, what should my stretch goal be?

I will say that what’s most important is that you work where you are now. 

Challenge yourself to the level that is comfortable for you and will guarantee your success.

If you set goals that are a stretch, but winnable, you will build confidence. If you aim too high and fail, it may be an emotional setback.

Maybe your stretch goal would be to strike up a conversation with someone. 

Maybe it’s to ask for a raise, or to have a sales conversation.

Maybe your stretch goal is to say no to that second scoop of ice cream.

Decide on 2 – 3 goals that are meaningful for you – one action you will take each week for the next three weeks – and notice what happens.

 3 – Intentionally recognise success

The third part is so important.

Our modern epidemic is constantly striving for more, for greater expectations, without recognising how much we have done already and what our capacity is.

I call this the Pattern of Pursuit, and it’s a habit that I recommend you break.

My definition of the Pattern of Pursuit is when you are constantly achieving but not recognising your efforts, such that you feel not good enough because you are too busy doing and not taking the time to be, to reflect, and to acknowledge.

Self-confident people have humility.

And if you recall the earlier discussion on the VIA Character Institute’s definition of humility, it was being able to accurately assess and represent yourself and your capabilities.

You can only do this if you reflect on and acknowledge what you have achieved.

Further, every time you recognise your achievements, such as accomplishing your stretch goals, it generates a sense of self-confidence.

What I love most about intentionally recognising your success is that you learn to trust yourself and back yourself, and to value your own opinion and skills.

When you do this, you stop worrying about whether you are good enough. You stop worrying about what other people are doing, whether you are keeping up, and whether they are judging you.

You value your own opinion, and you start to become more self reliant, where you set your own internal standards and develop your own motivation to succeed.

It’s powerful stuff.

My favourite ways to recognise success are to:

  • Tick of tasks completed in a physical work diary
  • Monitor exercise, movement and standing on my Apple watch
  • Speak about accomplishments over dinner with my husband
  • Journal about achievements and goals.

Summary

To summarise, even the most timid little rabbit can become a self-confident person. 

Self-confidence is simply a skill you can learn.

The three easiest ways to build self confidence are:

  1. Watch and change your self-talk – through coaching, self-coaching or journalling
  2. To set and achieve stretch goals that are 100% winnable – start where you are now
  3. To use simple ways to measure and recognise your daily and weekly achievements.

Challenge yourself to the level that is comfortable for you and will guarantee your success.

If you would like to work on your self-confidence and master it, pop into the Habitology membership in February 2020 where we will be studying and self-coaching these important skills. 

I’ve included the link in the notes for this episode.

In the meantime, please comment below and let me know your favourite confidence-boosting technique. I’d love to hear all about it!

Ready to build self confidence?

Self confidence is so important when setting out to reach your potential. 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 68: Cultivating Self Discipline & Self Regulation

How to develop two important skills that will help you achieve results in any area of life!

I really wanted to do an episode on self-discipline because it’s an interesting topic and it really conjures up mixed feelings. 

In over 4,000 coaching hours, one of the most common wishes my clients have is to have more self-discipline or self-control, so they can be consistent with healthy habits and achieve their goals.

Have you had that thought, yourself?

If so, you’re in the right place. Let’s talk about what self-discipline is, how it relates to self-regulation, and the key steps you need to build both of these skills.

 

Let’s start with a question

When you hear the word self discipline – how do you feel?

A lot of people hear the word self discipline and immediately feel uncomfortable or a sense of dread, or that hard work or punishment is ahead. 

I believe that attaching negative thoughts and feelings to words is a big part of the reason we find it hard. We’re making self-discipline into something to be disliked, feared or avoided.

But in reality, discipline is something that we need in order to persist for long enough to achieve anything in life.

You know that if you are disciplined with exercise then you will have a fit and healthy body and a lower risk of disease. 

If you’re disciplined with food then you’ll maintain a healthy weight and your energy levels. 

If you’re disciplined in your business or at work then you’ll be productive, you’ll get a lot done and you’ll achieve things – and probably make more money. 

If you’re disciplined with budgeting and saving then you will accumulate wealth.

Having heard all of that, how do you feel about the word self-discipline, now?

To me, reflecting on the benefits makes it seem more attractive, and something worth cultivating.

I think it gives you a better understanding of your relationship with self-discipline.

That will allow you to unlock your personal secrets to cultivating self-discipline so you can do, be and achieve more in your life.

Along the way, I invite you to reflect on your own thoughts and feelings to see where the truth lies.

Self-discipline versus self-regulation

To define self-discipline we must also look at the word self-regulation. 

They are two different things that work together, but come from different parts of your brain.

In reality, discipline is something that we need in order to persist for long enough to achieve anything in life.

Self-discipline is the ability to control your feelings and overcome urges. It is more about making decisions and taking actions in the moment.

Strong emotional impulses happen in your limbic system, which is the primitive, reactive part of your brain.

On the other hand, self-regulation is about reducing the frequency and intensity of those urges by managing stress-load and recovery. It is a longer-term, more automatic thing.

The longer term process of self-regulation is what makes self-control possible, or even unnecessary!

Your prefrontal cortex – the rational, reflective part of your brain – is the part that processes thoughts, makes decisions and takes control and that is where self-regulation happens.

Consider how this works in an example.

The Smell of Doughnuts

Let’s say you’re walking through a shopping mall on a mission to buy something, and then you smell the strong, heady aroma of spicy cinnamon doughnuts.

Your mouth waters.

You look around for the source of that amazing smell.

You see the hot doughnuts travelling on the conveyor belt, people closing their eyes with delight as they sink their teeth into the hot, fluffy dough.

Your brain screams – I WANT SOME!

But suddenly your self-discipline kicks in and you tell yourself – HEY – I am going to say NO.

Your self-regulation then kicks in – that is, your pre-determined beliefs, rationale and coping strategies. 

You rationalise the doughnut decision by thinking about your longer term goals – I want to be consistent with healthy eating. I have just had a healthy lunch, why would I want to spoil that with a sugary fat-sponge?

And although you’re tempted in the moment, you use these thoughts and also perhaps a strategy of distraction to refocus on your shopping mission and walk away from the doughnut.

This is an example of self-discipline and self-regulation in action.

So there are two skills to master here:

  1. Resisting an urge in the moment (self-discipline), and
  2. Defining your beliefs, standards, goals and how to monitor and uphold them.

The Benefits of Self-Regulation

If you have good self regulation then you have the ability to keep your emotions and behaviours in check.

It means you have the ability to resist impulsive behaviours so that you don’t need to keep relying on willpower, which is a finite resource.

Good self-regulation means that you are able to cheer yourself up, and find motivation to do everything that you need to do.

There are two parts of self-regulation – behavioural and emotional self regulation.

Behavioural self-regulation means that you’re able to consistently act in line with your values and for your best long-term interests. 

Even if you don’t feel like doing something you will do it anyway. 

For example you might wake up on a Friday morning and not feel like going to work, but you still do it anyway because you know that it’s going to bring you the money that you need to live a healthy and productive life.

Emotional regulation is being able to influence or control your emotions. 

It means that you’re able to talk yourself down from catastrophe, or that you can calm yourself down after being angry, get yourself out of a bad mood or avoid emotional outbursts at other people. It means that you’re not overly reactive to the situations around you.

Why are we disciplined in some areas and not others?

Let’s explore this conundrum.

I bet that you show up to work every day. 

You probably don’t eat lollies for breakfast. 

It makes sense that brushing your teeth is 100% not negotiable.

All of these things show that you are using self-discipline, but more broadly – self-regulation. 

Even if you want to lie in bed all day, eat lollies for breakfast or stop brushing your teeth, you simply don’t give in.

As you can tell, self discipline and self-regulation are really important parts of wellbeing.

Then why, oh why, can’t we be like this in ALL areas?

You’d be surprised how many thousands of unconscious thoughts you have running through your mind; so well practised and ingrained that you barely notice them. 

If you are mindful and watching your thoughts then you’re able to catch those thoughts before they lead to automatic actions. 

Maybe you have trained your brain to give into urges – that is, to reward those urges – so they keep getting stronger.

Maybe you haven’t made decisions about what is appropriate behaviour and what isn’t. 

You might be starting a new habit that you’ve never done before, and you haven’t sorted out your standards, reasons for change, motivators, and how to monitor and get back on track, so you are relying solely on willpower which research shows, is a finite resource.

These are skills gap for a lot of people. And that certainly explains why so many people fail to stick to new habits; they simply aren’t aware of what’s required to develop self-discipline and self-regulation.

It’s one of the reasons why working with a coach is so important – to learn the process of managing urges and developing self-regulation, and to get accountability and support to work through both.

Cultivating Self-Discipline / Managing Urges

The process of managing urges is simple, and it draws on three things:

  1.     self-awareness,
  2.     mindfulness and
  3.     self-compassion.

Here are the steps to manage an urge when you feel tempted.

Step 1 – watch your thoughts and feelings through the day

Step 2 – notice when you are tempted to do something e.g. work late, or give in to doughnuts.

Step 3 – allow the urge – sit with it the moment and notice that you have it. DON’T resist it – feel it. Be uncomfortable for a moment without judgement.

Step 4 – notice when the urge decreases.

Step 5 – reward yourself with something positive.

It’s a really simple process that simply requires practice. You will build an incredible amount of self-discipline if you follow this process.

Developing Self-Regulation 

Now let’s talk about developing self-regulation. 

Building self-regulation is more of a process of deciding in advance what you truly want and what feels aligned with your values, how you want to act, and how you will monitor and stay on track with that.

For any area you want to change, you could simply ask yourself these questions for any ONE area that you want to change:

  1. Why is that important to me/what will I get if I do?
  2. What would a realistic (and enjoyable) standard look like?
  3. How will I monitor myself?
  4. What are my triggers for falling off track?
  5. What are some strategies I can use to stay on track when I notice those triggers?

These questions will allow you to discover what you truly want and why, and to arm yourself with ways to check in with yourself and manage urges.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say that health is a really strong value of yours because you want to remain active and avoid disease as you age.

You know that exercising three to four days per week would be both realistic, and about the right standard for you. 

You decide that an exercise schedule in your diary will be your best way of monitoring your exercise.

You also choose to monitor your thoughts about the exercise on those days so you can work out your triggers for doing it or not doing it.

During that monitoring, you might notice yourself sometimes trying to get out of the workouts:

  • You have a busy day so you tell yourself you’re too tired or it’s too cold. 
  • You are feeling emotional so you tell yourself that you don’t feel up to it, or you feel too fragile

It’s your ability to notice that sort of mental chatter and then to do the work out anyway that defines self-regulation.

That’s where your strategies come in.

Perhaps you decide that after a busy day you will do a different kind of workout, or call a friend for accountability.

Maybe you decide that on emotional days, you will go to a PLAN B session time that you have penciled in just in case that happens.

These are just examples, but you can see how the thinking work right at the beginning can determine your success or failure.

A Word on Standards

Something that really stands out for me in that model of self-regulation is that we often try to live up to other people’s standards instead of our own. 

Or we may have unrealistic standards for ourselves because we haven’t really reflected on what’s realistic and achievable given everything else going on in our lives. 

So if you want to become better at self-regulation and self-discipline, the first thing to do would be to get really clear on what your standards are what’s in what’s achievable and realistic.

This can also be hard for some people. It means you really need to step up and take responsibility for your own actions – including any win, loss, pass or fail. That can feel a little scary, but that is way better than the disappointment of inaction!

Summary

Self-discipline is your ability to control urges as they come up, whereas self-regulation is your ability to control your emotional and physical behaviour in line with your beliefs and moral compass.

Although you may have a negative view of the word discipline, combined with self-regulation, it is really important for your well-being. 

People who are stronger in the area of self-regulation are more self-confident, they have greater life satisfaction, supported and are able to deal with stressful situations or difficult people more easily. They are more likely to persist and achieve goals.

Building self-regulation is more of a process of deciding in advance what you truly want and what feels aligned with your values.

Cultivating self-discipline requires self awareness and an ability to say no to urges and temptation so you can uphold your own personal standards for behaviour or emotions.

Cultivating self-responsibility means taking the time to set those standards, monitor them, and develop strategies to uphold them.

It can be super helpful to work with a coach to help you cultivate these two important skills for greater wellbeing and a more fulfilling and successful life – especially if you are someone who typically expects a lot of yourself, consider yourself to be a perfectionist, or lack confidence in your ability to stay on track.

Ready to develop better self discipline and self regulation?

These skills will increase your confidence, give you greater life satisfaction and help you achieve your goals! 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 66: 5 Simple Ways to Increase Positivity

If you want a more enriching and fulfilling life, keep listening to learn what positivity really is and 5 ways to get more of it in your life.

What is positivity?

Before we can talk about how to increase positivity, we’d better define it. After all, some things will feel positive for me, while other things will feel positive for you.

And that being said, based on the landmark work of PhD Barbara Fredrickson, I’d like to define positivity like this:

“Positivity comes in many shapes and sizes; it is the cousin of the more hedonistic ‘pleasure’, it is based in love, and it is expressed in ten main forms”.

Positivity underpins success in any area of life and what I love about it is that it makes the journey to get there easier and sweeter.

Yes, negativity exists and has a purpose. In the Taoist sense, we could not know and appreciate positivity without its opposite, negativity.

And life was never meant to be 100% positive – but we have the capacity to improve and develop positive habits so that we can enjoy a more enriched experience of life.

Barbara Fredrickson defines ten forms or aspects of positivity:

  • Joy – relishing the bright, light feelings that come up when things feel right
  • Gratitude – the acknowledgement of all that you have
  • Serenity – the sense of peace that everything is as it should be
  • Interest – a sense of feeling engaged, fascinated and compelled to explore
  • Hope – a sense of optimism and belief that things can change
  • Pride – a sense of accomplishment of what you have said or done
  • Amusement – the freedom of laughter, sharing and connection 
  • Inspiration – the ability to transcend the ordinary and rivet attention
  • Awe – noticing goodness on a grand scale, and
  • Love – the glue that binds it all together. Love raises your levels of oxytocin, the feel good hormone, and progesterone, both of which create biological responses linked with lifelong bonds, trust and intimacy.

Researchers have created something called the Positivity Ratio, which quantifies your positive and negative emotions and gives you a tool to increase positivity in your own life.

I’ll talk about the ratio in another episode but for now, let’s explore positivity in more depth so you understand what it is and why it’s important, and some ways of building it.

Why does positivity matter?

There are lots of reasons why, but here are five great reasons I can think of. 

  • Positivity is attractive 

We love to be around people who create a positive energy and atmosphere. It helps us to relax, let our guard down and feel more engaged and connected.

  • Positivity in tribes can empower member persistence

Tribes have greater capacity to achieve more in a positive way than any individual could on their own. 

This is important when it comes to personal goals too; often people lack confidence in themselves, motivation to persist and lack the support they need to gain momentum and achieve. 

Purposeful, positive tribes can help us to stretch and grow beyond what we thought was possible because we are invested in the bigger vision. 

In a supportive tribe, we may be more likely to persist with something until we achieve it.

  • Positivity kills stress 

Without harping on the kajillions of studies out there, stress is clearly one of modern society’s biggest killers and disablers.

Yes, lower stress and more positivity can slow down aging and reduce the risk of many diseases and the bad habits that cause them.

But more immediately, being positive fosters an open, creative brain state that is essential for solving problems, making decisions, building businesses and persisting toward our desired success. 

  • Positivity improves our experience of life 

How does feeling positive impact your day to day life?

I spoke with someone recently who noticed a dozen shifts in their behaviour and experience of life as a result of being more positive.

The first shift this person mentioned was more collaborative relationships. They were able to better connect with their partner and family, with greater forgiveness, openness and without any judgement.

They felt better equipped to uphold personal boundaries and make better decisions, which in turn fostered a sense of self confidence.

They were able to be more proactive with their health and wellbeing habits.

They felt more able to take action with some of the tasks in their business that they perceived as being ‘difficult’, and which they might struggle with on a less resilient day.

  • Positivity builds resilience and an upward spiral, via the ‘broaden and build’ concept

In a nutshell, the more positivity you experience, the more positivity you will create in your life and the more resilience you’ll build.

And for anyone embarking on change – losing weight, building a business, starting a new relationship or job – resilience is about your capacity to cope and thrive.

The more positivity you experience, the more positivity you will create in your life and the more resilience you’ll build.

What Can Positivity Do For Your Business?

Positivity is vital for any business owner.

Working on your own, coping with the good and bad, juggling many roles and handling suppliers and staff, there’s a lot that can create stress, sap your energy or knock your confidence. 

Building positivity can counteract these things.

Positivity attracts people who are forward looking, who wish to change and who want to be part of something. It’s a great recipe for attracting the right clients.

Business is also a creative pursuit – and stress is the opposite of creativity. As I mentioned before, by bringing more positivity into your life, you can roll with the punches of life more easily.

5 Simple Ways to Increase Positivity

If you’re in my Habitology membership then you know we are looking at many options for increasing positivity and you are working through those this month.

I am really interested to know how this is impacting your business and your life and excited about doing this work with you.

For this podcast though, I want to share my favourite ways of increasing positivity. 

I like these because they are simple, take very little time, and they’re very effective.

1. Dispute negative thinking

This one is a no-brainer. Most of us have faulty thinking patterns that we repeat, and it is our work to notice these and turn them from emotive statements into factual statements. 

This can help us to unlearn those patterns and create healthier thinking without any drama involved. There are several ways you can do this.

2. Connect with others

Often people these days feel isolated and lonely, yet connection with others is said to be a key part in the longevity of our oldest living people across the world. 

Even if you are struggling, reaching out via a text message, phone conversation or visiting a friend can bring a sense of wellbeing and positivity.

3. Connect with nature

There is much to be said about connecting with nature; we experience awe, gratitude, serenity, inspiration and love. It facilitates mindfulness.

It is easy to do and requires no tools. This is simple and powerful.

4. Assess your media diet

Media catastrophizes everything and divides and conquers people based on opinion pieces and bias. Being selective with what you read and watch, and who you listen to, can make a massive difference to your state of mind.

5. Reconstruct your day

This is a bigger exercise but can be transformational. You write down how you spend the major chunks of time in your typical day – for example, waking, breakfast, driving to work, eating lunch, etc, and you rate your level of positivity for each of these events.

This gives you so many clues about where circumstances might conjure up negative emotions, so you can then take steps to do something about these, and to build and increase the positives that you experience.

Here are two examples.

Let’s say that you notice that you feel anxious at your weekly staff meeting because there is a difficult person who always creates tension.  You could decide to change your thinking about this person to decrease the negative emotions – for example – wondering what positives might be coming out of this, or perhaps feeling compassion for them that they are behaving like this.

On the flipside, you might also notice that you enjoy your lunch breaks outside. You could build on this positive experience by practicing mindfulness during this time, by walking and exploring the area after you’ve eaten, or perhaps to invite a friend to join you for part or all of the lunch break to increase your sense of connectedness.

In both cases you are proactively changing your attitude and experience of that time in your day to build more positivity into your life.

Summary

Ok, let’s recap what we’ve covered today.

Positivity is a recognised science that is defined by feeling a suite of 10 positive emotions. Positivity has been quantified into a measure, which I’ll talk about in another episode.

There are so many benefits that come out of increasing your positivity; but to sum it up, positivity creates more positivity in your life and a better experience of work, life, relationships and yourself.

Positivity underpins success in any area of life and it makes the journey to get there easier and sweeter.

Five simple ways to build positivity could include disputing your negative thoughts, connecting with others, connecting with nature, assessing your media diet and reconstructing your day. 

These are just a few – others like gratitude journalling and acts of kindness are things that create positivity too.

I invite you to reflect on this for yourself and ask what your life might be like if you were more positive.

If you need help to get on top of this, visit melaniejwhite.com/habitology on how you can get the help you need to become a more positive, fulfilled person.

Ready to increase positivity?

What might your life be like if you were more positive? 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 64: 7 Tips To Increase Body Awareness

This episode of the podcast helps you understand the benefits and challenges of building body awareness, with some tips on how to get started.

Body awareness is the first pillar of Body Intelligence. It is the foundation of all healthy habits. 

It is a simple yet powerful tool that is easily overlooked or pushed down your priority list.

What is Body Awareness?

Body awareness is simply paying attention to the signals that your body gives you. It’s another way of talking about mindfulness but in relation to your body.

And I want to talk about a few examples so that you really understand what it might involve. Here might be a typical day and where body awareness fits in.

Let’s say you wake up in the morning and the first thing you notice is that you have pretty dry, sleepy eyes so you rub your eyes to get to sleep out of them.

And then you realise you’re a bit thirsty maybe you had your mouth open last night so you have a drink of water because your body has told you that your mouth is dry and you’re attending to that need. 

Next you notice your stomach growling and you feel a sense of hunger so it’s time to have something that you know will sustain you for the morning.

All is good so far, but as soon as you realise that you need to get on with getting to work, your focus shifts to other things and your body’s gentle, subtle signals get lost in the noise.

Having worked with my Habitology members this month, we’ve discussed some interesting things that we’ve all noticed.

One realised that she just needed to take breaks to eat more often.

Another discovered that she had been pushing herself too hard and ignoring the signals.

One noticed how calm she has been feeling.

Another noticed how much more clarity she has because it’s caused her to slow down.

I noticed that when I drink water late in the afternoon, my stomach is settled and I wake up more energized the next day.

Can you see a trend here?

The Benefits of Building Body Awareness

As you can see the main benefit of building body awareness seems to be that being aware means that you will more likely take action to attend your needs better.

But what of that? Why is that important?

That’s actually where the real gold nuggets lie – in the benefits of being aware enough to commit to taking action.

  • You squash imposter syndrome

If you think about it, the first benefit for you if you’re a coach is that you truly feel like a role model for your clients. 

When I ask coaches I’m working with what their number 1 struggle in business is, they say that it’s maintaining emotional balance. 

They say that inadequate self care is a recipe for catastrophizing, judgement, fear, anxiety and lying awake at night ruminating.  All that can be largely avoided or at least tamed with some body awareness.

  • Freeing up creative thinking

What was (not so) surprising was that self-care reduces stress and anxiety, so you have more space for creative thinking.

And let’s face it, business is largely creative, and stress is the opposite of creativity. A little awareness can be a game changer in this regard. 

  • More healthy choices, more often

Being body aware means you’re noticing whether you’re moving enough and eating for hunger rather than boredom or stress. It means smarter alcohol, coffee and chocolate consumption.

I’m sure the cumulative benefits of those things are pretty clear – a healthier, calmer body and brain that ages well, has more energy and maintains a healthy weight.

There are many more benefits, but these are enough to start with and their big, juicy benefits.

How would YOU feel if you could achieve even just ONE of these four benefits?

The Challenges of Building Body Awareness

The main challenge around building body awareness is that you have an existing pattern of being distracted by other things – it’s easy to shift your attention away from your inner signals and to lose focus.

You may also be in the habit of convincing yourself that something else is more important than attending to your body’s needs in the moment – without stopping to think about the bigger impacts and consequences of this decision.

But the great news I want to share with you is that these two things are just HABITS.

They’re thinking habits you have, and you can unlearn them.

You can rewire them.

When you go back and think big picture about the benefits of using your BA on a daily basis, then it’s a no brainer to do some simple, menial tasks to rewire your thinking and get back onto the BA bandwagon.

Seven Tips for Building Body Awareness

Here are some tips to help you build body awareness, so that you can live more of your life, be more productive and feel happier and healthier.

I suggest you create a simple schedule around these things and use reminders to start building these new habits to improve your BA over time.

Tip 1 – schedule 5 minutes in the middle of the day to write down 3 negative thoughts you’ve had and rewrite them as facts.  

Tip 2 – set an alarm to do a body scan at morning tea, afternoon tea and after dinner to notice how your body is feeling.

Tip 3 – set a reminder or diarise a check in with how you feel emotionally at 1pm – good or bad, reflect on the possible influences and decide what you might have done more or less of to influence that result. 

Tip 4 – write in a journal four mornings or nights per week before bed – even a few lines is enough.

Tip 5 – work with a coach to speak out loud about your body awareness and set individual goals.

Tip 6 – meditate 1 – 5 times per week using an app like Headspace if you need assistance.

Tip 7 – use mindfulness each day to bring your awareness to your five senses – choose a random moment to notice what you see, hear, smell, taste, feel and sense.

Body awareness is simply paying attention to the signals that your body gives you. It’s another way of talking about mindfulness but in relation to your body.

Summary

Body awareness is a simple yet powerful tool that is easily overlooked or pushed down your priority list.

But if you use 1 – 3 practices each week to raise your BA, it’s highly likely that you will sleep better, have less anxiety, eat more healthily, feel calmer, feel like a good role model, have clearer thinking, feel more empowered and in control, and make better, more rational decisions in your life.

If you would like to talk to a coach about raising your BA, go to the contact page at www.melaniejwhite.com now and fill in the form.

Ready to improve your body awareness?

You can live more of your life, be more productive and feel happier and healthier. 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 59: Becoming Your Future Self

This podcast is about one of the fundamental things of becoming your future self: challenging and changing your beliefs.

You’ve probably heard the saying “If you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

You’ve probably also heard the saying “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

Both of those sayings speak to the concept that if you hang onto the beliefs, habits and thoughts that you have right now then nothing is going to change.

Both of those sayings speak to the concept that if you hang onto the beliefs, habits and thoughts that you have right now then nothing is going to change.

In other words, if you want to become your future self, you have to start thinking and acting differently.

It SOUNDS easy, but your brain wants to hang onto your current beliefs, habits and thoughts because it invested a lot of energy in creating and habitualising them. 

That’s why I want to talk about this exact topic today in the podcast.

Let’s start with an understanding of what beliefs, habits and thoughts are, and then to talk about two methods to change them so that you can become your future self.

Definitions

Before we get into definitions of beliefs, habits and thoughts, let’s recap how the brain works, because this is a beautiful way to illustrate the difference between them.

When you first learn how to do something it takes a lot of focus and energy – in other words, it takes a lot of conscious thinking. 

Your brain loves learning things quickly and properly so it can turn the steps into automated habits that run on autopilot. Your brain uses your thoughts as motivation and instructions to get you to take the right actions.

When you practice those thoughts and actions repeatedly they become a habit.

And when something becomes a habit, your brain can switch into autopilot and save energy. 

In the recesses of your mind there is an unconscious thinking process going on to instruct all the thoughts and actions that will get you out of bed on time. 

You switch from conscious thoughts about what you’re doing into unconscious thoughts about what you’re doing. Your thoughts are still there, they’re just in the background, barely noticeable, quietly instructing what you are doing.

Here’s an example. When you are learning to drive a car, your focus is everywhere – put foot on accelerator, check mirrors, use indicator, change gears while depressing the clutch – and so on.  

But when you have mastered all those intricate steps, you can find yourself singing along with the radio as you drive and suddenly realise you are at your destination, barely remembering how you got there.

This process of forming a habit takes anywhere from 30 – 360 days, depending on the complexity of the habit. The average time to form a habit is 83 days.

And once a habit has been running on autopilot for an extended period, your brain notices the benefit or result of that habit.

From there, your mind forms a belief about that thing you’re doing.

Here’s an example. 

Let’s say that when you were a kid your mum woke you up really early in the morning. She’d say something like “Come on honey, get up, rise and shine! The early bird catches the worm.”

During this ritual your brain worked out the best way to think and act in order to get you out of bed early every day. That was reinforced by what your mum was telling you something positive about that habit.

Now if, as an adult, you are still getting out of bed early every morning, then you most likely have some beliefs about that habit and yourself. 

For example you might be saying or thinking things like “I’m a morning person” or “the morning is the best part of the day.” 

In the recesses of your mind there is an unconscious thinking process going on to instruct all the thoughts and actions that will get you out of bed on time. There is also the conscious recognition of the beliefs you have about that habit.

Watch your mind next time you get out of bed and notice what’s in your head as you get up.

So that’s the difference between conscious and unconscious thoughts, habits, and finally, beliefs.

One last nuance I want to mention is this.

Once you have formed a belief about something, your brain starts collecting evidence that your belief is true. 

Your brain filters out anything that doesn’t match with that belief. 

Your brain likes to be right. 

This is called confirmation bias. 

Changing beliefs 

Having said all that, I’m sure you can see how imagine changing your beliefs is a little bit complicated for two reasons. 

  1. You have a lot of autopilot going on. You have automatic habits and you have automatic thoughts that drive them or are caused by your habits. 
  2. You have confirmation bias. Your brain believes that what you are doing is right, is the best thing for you. And your brain hates being wrong.

What does this mean in terms of becoming your future self? 

It means you need a way to identify and then change those automatic patterns. AND, it means you might also need to challenge your perspective.

Might I just say at this point, that this is why coaching is so important. 

Most of us cannot see our own automatic thoughts and patterns. And we generally are stuck in our own perspectives. A coach can help somebody to do this work to see things differently to challenge their automatic thoughts and to become their future selves.

But there is still a lot you can do yourself to become your future self, so let’s talk about how to do that.

Begin With The End in Mind 

In his book the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, Stephen Covey’s second success habit was to begin with the end in mind.

I want to talk to you briefly about what that means. It really means that to become your future self, you need to have a clear picture of what your future self looks like so that you know what you need to do to get there. You might want to listen to my episodes on creating a vision (#1) and on being specific (#14) both of which are relevant to this.

For now, let’s say that you have a specific view of how your future self look and feels. 

Maybe you can imagine your fitter self, or your richer self, or your more successful self, or your slimmer self, or your happier self or whatever it is for you.

I’m just talking about ONE area – pick one area of life that you’d like to change, and create a vision of your future self around that.

Once you have that idea in your mind of what you would like to be and what your future self looks and feels like you’re ready to do the work to start changing your beliefs so you can become that future version of yourself.

What Would You be Thinking?

If you want to become your future self, you need to start thinking differently. More like your future self would.

Let’s look at a few examples.

Let’s say that right now you feel like you’re overdrinking and that you want to eventually become a non-drinker. 

Right now, your thoughts might be things like:

“I’m only going to have a drink on Friday and Saturday this week.” 

Or, “I need to cut back on alcohol.” 

Or, “I feel so hung over and terrible I’m never drinking again.”

Now mentally propel yourself five years forward. Imagine that you are now your future self and that you’re a non-drinker. Pretend that you stopped drinking alcohol three years ago. 

What are your new thoughts about alcohol? 

Chances are, your non-drinking self is not thinking about alcohol at all, because you no longer drink it. It’s not even on your radar.

You’re no longer thinking about alcohol at 2pm, wondering if you’ll drink tonight or not, or whether you will be judged by others for not drinking at the party.

You will probably see other people slurring and stumbling around and think, “that used to be me. I’m so glad I’m a non-drinker. I have so much more self-control and I feel good about that.” 

Maybe your future self is quite happy to go out to a party or a dinner with others who are drinking, and when people ask if you want to drink your future self says “No thanks, I don’t drink.” 

And your future self would feel a sense of confidence, and conviction, and contentment about saying that because they really believe that it’s true.

Notice how different your future thinking patterns are compared that with what your current self thinks and believes. The dialogue is totally different. 

The same could be said about any other area of life. 

Let’s look at an example of a successful business.

Let’s say that you are struggling to get clients right now and your income is erratic.

You might be thinking, “I need clients!” or, “I wonder if I should run a Facebook ad!” 

Maybe you’re thinking “The market is saturated, nobody wants what I am selling.” Or perhaps, “That other person is so successful, maybe I should do what she is doing?” 

Or even “I wonder if I need to do more training courses.”

Now, what would your future successful business owner self be saying instead?

Probably the focus would be on quality of service and expansion.

Maybe you’d be saying things like “I wonder how I can serve my clients better.” 

Or “I would love to do a workshop on this topic that I’m really passionate about so I can share this with more people.” 

Or perhaps, “What could I do that would really help my clients to 10X their results?”

What’s interesting about this example is that both the before and after business person is striving for the same goals, but the language and feeling about the process is different.

Ok, examples aside, let’s talk about how to start taking action and getting traction with this.

In the words of Amy Cuddy, “our bodies change our minds.”

So I’d like to walk you through two ways to start becoming your future self, by tapping into the mind-body connection.

  1. Start Thinking Like Your Future Self

The easiest way to become your future self is to seed your mind with the thoughts of your future self. 

Let’s do a little exercise. 

Pretend that you are already your future self. Right now. Imagine being that person who has achieved what you want to achieve. 

Really take yourself to that place and imagine how you look, how you feel what your experience of life is every day. 

What would your future self be saying about this each day?

Notice that you will probably not be thinking about how great it is to be successful. That is the voice of your current self.

You’re probably passed that honeymoon period. You will probably be thinking about your next actions.  

Let’s use the example of body weight.

If you are currently overweight you might think to yourself, “I need to lose weight but I don’t know what to do.”

That may be a fact, but it’s unhelpful. 

So what would your future self be thinking and saying?

Maybe, “I need to schedule in three exercise sessions this week and block out my calendar”.

Or maybe, “On Sunday night, I’ll do my meal prep for the week.”

Perhaps you’d be saying “I love the way my body feels.” 

Or “Sorry, I don’t eat sugary foods, they’re not good for me.”

Your current self might be judgmental and self-critical. 

Your future self will more likely show self-compassion. 

So I want to offer that you can start speaking to yourself with compassion right now, because that judgement and self-criticism is unhelpful and will not support you taking action or achieving your goals. It will do the opposite.

In summary, consider the thoughts of your future self and say them, write them and practice them daily.

Start now. 

Start rewiring your neural pathways.

  1. Acting like your future self

Apart from the thinking work there are also the actions that your future self would be taking or not taking. 

Let’s talk about the business example. 

If you were successful in business as your future self what would be the actions that you would be taking each week?

Maybe you would use Monday morning as a big picture planning session. 

Maybe on Friday afternoon you’d be reflecting on what went well I need be planning the next week so you could totally shut off on the weekend. 

And maybe you wouldn’t be working on the weekend to be having fun instead. 

These are some of the things – the actions – that are successful business person might be taking.

What about the weight example? 

If you were at your healthy weight, the actions that you might be taking would be perhaps walking every morning when you get up as a not negotiable thing. 

Ask yourself now, if you were your future healthy self, what actions would you be taking regularly, as not negotiable actions that you were committed to?

Maybe at the supermarket you be walking past the junk food aisles because you don’t go there anymore. You’d be heading straight for the fruit and veg section.

Ask yourself now, if you were your future healthy self, what actions would you be taking regularly, as not negotiable actions that you were committed to?

Identify those actions and find a way to start now. 

Start rewiring your physiological pathways.

Summing it up

As you can see your future self is thinking and acting totally differently from how are you are right now. 

The starting point to become your future self is to simply work out what your future self might be thinking and doing and then, to start thinking and doing those things.

To do this, you will need to plug both the thinking work and the actions into your calendar as not negotiable.

You’ll need to make space for them.

This truly is a gradual, one at a time process. 

You can definitely fast-track becoming your future self, but you can’t do it all tomorrow it just doesn’t work that way. It’s too much for your brain to absorb.

Your brain takes time to create new habits – on average, 86 days. 

So the goal is to start with one thing or two things perhaps and turn those into habits stick with them consistently for 83 days at least.

Ready to become your future self?

Start the journey to become who you want to be! 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 58: Removing Motivation Blocks

It’s all well and good to think about creating motivation. But what happens when something unexpected blocks your motivation?

It’s all well and good to just do it and to have a plan to take action, but at some point we get blindsided by the facts of life.

Things happen that disrupt our thoughts, our intentions, and our mood. So we need to be able to pull ourselves back on track quickly and easily. We need to be able to remove the unexpected motivation blocks that come up. 

That’s what this episode is all about.

No matter what your intentions sometimes you hit a slump.

Usually it’s because of external forces or situations.

But it can also be your own thinking patterns that trip you up.

Thought-Based Obstacles

For example, maybe there is some event coming up that is a block in your mind, as in you can’t move forward until that thing has happened. 

This block has come up for several of my clients. 

I remember one business strategy session that I did and the person who purchased that session was not ready to take any action or even to plan.

They were in a job and they felt that it would be morally wrong to do any planning at all or even any market research into their idea until they had spoken to the current employer about what they intended to do. 

And that was a scary conversation that they were afraid of having. So we could achieve plotting the later action steps, but that was it, because there was this block that had to be removed before the person could find the motivation to take action.

I’ve heard many versions of this for around weight loss too. 

There is always a holiday coming up or the wedding coming up for a job change coming up or some other thing that prevents somebody from “starting now.”

Usually it’s because of external forces or situations, but it can also be your own thinking patterns that trip you up. 

I call these things “just-ifications”. As in:

I just need to have this conversation. 

I just need to take the holiday. 

I just need to get past the wedding. 

I just need to get ready. I’m not ready yet.

The word ‘just’ becomes an excuse for not taking action.

And there goes your motivation trickling down the drain again.

Getting Back On the Horse

If we slow down for a moment we can see what the reality is. Life is full of obstacles and despite them, we can take action.

We don’t need to feel ready, we don’t need to have a clear run, we don’t need to get rid of clutter, although all of those things can help. 

But they are actually all just mental constructs. 

The fact is, there is often nothing physical that stops us from taking continuous and deliberate action – which is the secret sauce for creating motivation.

So then the question becomes how do you get out of your head and into action? 

How do you remove motivation blocks in all shapes and forms?

I want to talk about five useful tools that you can use to switch your brain into a different state.

Five Tools For Creating Motivation

Tool #1 is from Amy Cuddy – power poses.

This one is great if you are feeling a bit fearful or lacking confidence in yourself.

It works on the principle that your physiology – that is, your body and it’s systems – is directly linked to your emotional state.

They are interconnected. Our bodies change our minds. So the most powerful way to change your state, using your physical body, is to adopt a ‘power pose’ for 2 minutes.

Why two minutes? Because research from the Association of Psychological Science shows how power poses change your hormones and therefore your state in JUST 2 minutes.

Powerful postures are legs apart with feet facing forward, hands on hips or arms up and out, standing up straight.

A yoga class could provide an opportunity to practice this.

Tool #2 is from Tony Robbins – creating your state

This one is a daily ritual you can perform as a means of building resilience and motivation, or as a mental tool that you can use to get into the right mindset for taking action.

Practicing mindfulness meditation, talking to yourself with positive language about the positive outcomes you want, and visualising them, are all tools that you can use to create a more positive, can-do state of mind.

There are many versions of this.

If you know your Tendency, from Gretchen Rubin’s quiz, then certain rituals might work better for you than others.

Questioners might do well to bring curiosity to their motivation funk and query it from that perspective.

Obligers might get out of their motivation funk by thinking about how they could help others, or how their taking action might benefit others.

Upholders might get out of their motivation funk by talking to themselves about re-writing and tackling their to-do list.

Rebels might feel justified in their lack of motivation. It can be harder for a rebel to break free. But what often works is to ask yourself – what’s in this for me?  What am I getting out of being unmotivated, and what would I rather have instead?

Tool #3 is from Mel Robbins – it’s the 5-second rule

No, this is not about dropping food on the floor!

This one is great if you’re feeling panicky or anxious, but also when you are stuck in a loop of procrastination which is really just fear in disguise.

On her blog, Mel says “the 5 Second Rule was something that I developed to get myself to take action when I didn’t want to.

I was so busy feeling sorry for myself that something that is so simple became so difficult.”  

She developed the 5-second rule which is simply this – if you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.

When you feel yourself hesitate before doing something that you know you should do, count 5-4-3-2-1-GO and move towards action.

Tool #4 is specific planning and rehearsal

When you make a specific plan around the thing you’re putting off, you will feel motivated. 

Just making the plan of action feels good. It feels like you’re doing something!

And often the plan helps you to identify the things you’re unsure of or don’t know, so that you can problem solve them and get unstuck.

Even better is rehearsing the steps in your mind. 

First you write your plan. Then you mentally walk through the thing you are demotivated about and visualise yourself doing each step.

This mental rehearsal plugs the steps into your brain as instructions, which helps you to actually do the steps.

Tool #5 is positive language

Building on the previous concepts, the words you use can make things worse or better, easier or harder.

For example:

“I will give it a good go” is stronger and more positive than “I guess I’ll try”.

“I’ll do my best” is more intentional than “I’m not expecting much”.

“I will do whatever it takes” is more powerful than “I’ll see how I’m going after a week or two”.

“I will do this” is more intentional and committed than “I hope I can”.

And “I will eat fresh salads with each meal” is more empowering and positive than “I will restrict carbs and cut calories.”

See how different the former statement is to the latter?

Notice how the stronger language is more motivating?

Right, now it’s time to get motivated! Let’s summarise what we’ve covered today.

Summary

There are plenty of circumstances outside our control, and sometimes they can bring us down. But at the core of it, our thoughts are actually the things that sap our motivation.

There are 5 different tools you can use to remove motivation blocks in under 10 minutes.

  1. Power poses
  2. Create your state via visualisation and meditation 
  3. The 5-second rule
  4. Plan and rehearse the steps
  5. Use positive language

At the core of it, our thoughts are actually the things that sap our motivation.

I hope you find a way to use these tools over the next week or two and find the ones that work best for you.

Better still, be proactive about rewiring your default thinking patterns and make a habit or ritual out of some of these.

If you want to proactively manage your mind, visit www.melaniejwhite.com/habitology to learn about my monthly membership. 

Ready to overcome motivation blocks?

Try these five tools and watch yourself succeed. 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 55: Business Models for Startup and Growth

This episode of they habitology podcast is about simple business models that you can use to run your business.

I want to talk about this from two perspectives.

  1. Transitioning from a job to a business.
  2. Transitioning from startup phase to an established business.

 

Most of us start our working lives being paid an hourly rate for a defined set of tasks in a business for somebody else’s company. So we are used to being paid by the hour. 

And then when we get to running our own business and we go through that transition we are still thinking about the hourly rate model. 

Think about working a job for somebody else. You go to that job and you are doing paid work for 40 hours a week. Your job is to show up and do a job for the business, just a part of all the work that the company does. 

For example, let’s say that you show up at a department store and your job is to sell perfume for eight hours a day at the perfume counter. Every hour that you’re there involves selling directly to clients and making sales so it totally makes sense that you are paid by the hour for that job.

But this mentality needs to change when you start running your own business.

Because suddenly you are doing more than just selling the perfume. You are formulating it, packaging it, costing it, running financial spreadsheets, finding brand ambassadors, pitching to stores, setting up an online store, and paying suppliers. 

Suddenly there’s not a lot of time left to sell the perfume! 

Running a business means you have to do a lot of unpaid business level tasks. 

You have to do administration work, you have to pay bills, you have to create invoices, you have to develop services and products, you have to do research and all of those things don’t earn any income. 

And in fact you’ll need to spend money on things like marketing and advertising. So what that means is that a portion of the work you do in a business is unpaid – it does not directly earn you any revenue. 

Running a business means you have to do a lot of unpaid business level tasks. 

You might have a few clients to begin with that pay you by the hour. But there’s no way you are going to replace your income in the long-term if you stick with that model.

So while it’s great to start your coaching business on a pay per session model with individuals in a one on one coaching environment, please know that you will need to change your model different later on if you want to scale your income and earn what you need to earn to replace money that you would earn in a job.

 

Let’s now look at TWO business models – firstly the startup service model, and then the growth business model.

The Start Up Business Model

We’re starting with the one to one service business model. 

Let’s first figure out what’s realistic and reasonable in terms of your earnings. 

I’m going to suggest that you just start by selling one core service. You might have two slightly different versions of the same service but let’s understand this-you are going to earn most of your money and income most easily by doing one thing consistently and very well. 

The reason I suggest ONE service is that it’s easier to become good at something and to create a clear marketing message if you start by keeping it simple. And all the other parts of your business will be simpler if you start by focusing on one thing. 

People who are new to business, let’s use the example of coaches, often have 10 different options like corporate and group and one-to-one coaching and 4, 6, 8 and 12 week programs. 

What does that look like to the consumer? 

If you go to somebody’s website and see one person offering all of those things, how do you judge that? For me, I don’t believe that person can do all of that and I’m put off by a lack of trust, and a lack of personalisation.

And from a business model perspective, it’s much simpler to sell one or two things, refine and test them, and become known for them. The financial and planning side is much easier.

So what I want you to do is to define a single, specific program that you can run and test repeatedly with a series of clients in your first 3 to 6 months. 

Usually you would price X number of sessions for X dollars per session and create a bit of a package that way. 

This creates a tangible offering to your audience with a tangible start and finish time and normally that is accompanied by a tangible result that they will achieve in that period of time. After all what people are buying is results. 

This type of business model X week program in exchange for X dollars is the best way to start.

Normally your goal would be to work up to seeing 100 clients per year on a 1:1 basis, perhaps over 45 working weeks of the year so you are taking off public and a few other holidays.

If each of each client paid $600 for an 8-week coaching program, for example, that’s $60K.

So in that scenario, you are delivering 800 sessions per year which is 100 clients x 8 sessions, for $60K.

Hearing this – can you see what would it be like if you kept it really simple and just offered 1 – 2 versions of something, knowing then that all you had to do was find 100 clients who would pay $600 for it?

If you like, you can offer other options, but given that you are investing a lot of time with clients at this stage in your business, and you are learning about business, I think you really want to keep it simple with your client work so you can simplify the unpaid stuff and make it as easy and time efficient as possible.

Working this way for 6 – 12 months allows you to find tune what you do, to become known for it, and become very good at it. It allows you to develop confidence and certainty on your own terms and in your own time. 

Use this period to get really clear on what you offer, the benefits of that one service, the types of clients you attract, and what they are getting out of working with you.

Then you are ready to adjust or grow.

From a business model perspective, it’s much simpler to sell one or two things, refine and test them, and become known for them.

The Group Model

The easiest way to scale your income and start earning a full-time income is to start working in groups. 

As a coach you can realistically only give enough attention to a group of 10 people at once, unless you are doing a more educational or teaching style approach where you can see rooms full of people. 

But let’s say that your ideal is to coach very interactively with a small group of people – this is an easy way to scale.

In the previous 1:1 scenario we had $600 for an individual 8 week program.

Now imagine that becomes your group program rate, and you run 10 per group.

Now you’re earning $6,000 in 8 weeks. You have 10x your income for 1/10th of the time.

If you ran 3 concurrent groups per week, you double or triple that amount. Your annual income would be in the order of $72K per annum, for around 96 sessions.

My scaled business model was just like this. 

I ran 3 – 4 x 8 week group coaching programs every school term. My groups ran on Tuesday at midday, Tuesday at 5.45pm and Wednesday at 5.45pm.

The group sessions may be slightly longer, say 1.5 hours instead of 1 hour. And you can still the same program in a few 1:1 situations if you like, probably for a higher price of say $800.

It’s feasible for a coach who has a great program that gets results, to earn around $80K per year this way.

The Premium Model

Another way to scale your business is to increase the prices of your packages because you have more experience – a specialty – and/or give a bigger result. 

In either case, you are offering more value and this transcends the idea of paying an hourly rate. Now the client is truly paying for a specific result and for access to the value of your experience.

In the Premium model, you can continue to work 1:1 or with small groups, but you significantly increase your prices so that you are charging a premium price to reflect the increased value of your services.

The way you deliver services could take a few different forms, such as 

  1. A VIP program that packages small group and individual coaching sessions, or 
  2. An intensive longer-term program or 
  3. A series of workshops.

These are just a few examples – and you would pick ONE of these to focus on.

No matter which format you choose, the model is based on doing some sort of deep intense work done to create a big transformation and you must specifically articulate the transformation and result, and the value of it, in order to be able to charge a higher price.

Usually these programs would involve highly personalised sessions, longer sessions, or the addition of coaching and/or other resources. It might include a hand-created welcome pack – it’s the real ‘chocolates on the pillow’ type of service, the Rolls Royce Service.

Your goal would be to service a few high-paying clients – often called high ticket clients – over the year.

For example, your 12 – 24 week program, VIP package or workshop series might cost $5,000 per person, and your goal is to sell your chosen Premium service to perhaps 20 clients per year. 

That would earn you $100K per year.

This is a more advanced strategy and is good for someone who is highly specialised, creates massive transformations, or is working in the richer end of the market.

The Automation Model

Another option for scaling is the Automation Model.

There are numerous ways to do this, but it is essentially a one-to-many service that might be a version or a combination of the other two models I’ve just discussed.

One way to semi-automate your program, such as an email system of worksheets or quizzes sent via automated email, supported coaching-style videos of you asking open ended questions, some self-coaching elements, and supported by 15-minute laser coaching sessions that you or a subcontract coach delivers.

This is like a group coaching model with less contact time and more self-coaching resources.

Another option is to deliver a program for people who don’t need a lot of intense coaching support, such as people who are in the maintenance stage of change, so you can see perhaps up to 50 or 100 people at a time.

You might run live webinars and use worksheets for your clients to fill in as you talk to them and ask questions of them. While much less personal, this is highly scalable. You could charge $100 per month to upward of 100 people which is $120K.

Automation models are the most advanced as they rely on technology, a strong coaching presence, good resources and an ability to stay in the coaching mode without reverting to teaching.

You are the boss and you have the flexibility to earn the income and work the hours that suit you best.

Summary of Business Models 

Let’s summarise the different business models that I’ve discussed today.

Firstly, the 1:1 model is the easiest place to start for most coaches or other service based businesses.

If you are someone who has left a job to start a business, this way will be easiest for your brain to handle as it’s basically like the hours-for-dollars model of the job you used to have.

If your goal was to work up to 100 clients per year, selling two slightly different versions of your one program, that’s an easy way to deliver a great service, become good at something and learn about running a business effectively.

That’s around 800 sessions per year, possibly 500 – 800 hours depending on session length.

When you become proficient at that, you can look at models to scale your income and reduce your time. In this scenario, you are focussed on selling value and that is what’s required to attract larger numbers and/or charge a higher rate independent of your time.

The three different options I mentioned as growth models included:

  1. The group coaching model, which is the easiest, ($80K, around 150 hours)
  2. The premium model which is for specialty and packaged services ($100K), and 
  3. The automation model which is higher tech and services many more clients at once (upward of $120K, possibly around 100 hours)

In any case, you are the boss and you have the flexibility to earn the income and work the hours that suit you best.

Ready to get your business model up and running?

I can help you work out which model is best for you, and start applying it.

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 54: Creating Motivation

This episode of the Habitology podcast is all about creating motivation.

Notice that I said ‘creating’ motivation rather than ‘getting motivated.’ 

That’s because motivation is not something you ‘get’, and it’s not something that anyone else can give you.

It is something you must create within yourself.

And rather than trying to overcome your lack of it, shift your focus to what you can do – which is to create it, and habitualise it.

What is Motivation?

Motivation is your willingness to act. 

And it is created when we realise that the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it.

For example, the pain of not earning money far outweighs the discomfort of finding the courage to do promotional talks in public.

The discomfort of being overweight or having a wardrobe of too-tight clothes becomes greater than the inconvenience of preparing healthy food or going to the gym.

When we weigh up the pros and cons of change – a cost-benefit analysis – we can easily see the risk versus the reward and make some decisions on what we will do.

Then we cross that mental threshold and the motivation appears!

The secret to motivation is this – it usually comes AFTER you take action, not before.

Think of the last time you ate a healthy breakfast. It felt good, right? You felt proud of yourself. So you felt motivated to do it again.

You can also create motivation by talking yourself into things, and thinking positive thoughts.

It’s useful to create your thoughts like this anyway, but know that it’s the doing of the thing that is important. 

You need to train yourself to make motivation a habit.

Types of Motivation

You might have heard of the terms extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation.

Extrinsic motivation is somewhat coerced. 

It is where your motivation relies on other things, situations or people.

If you are an Obliger tendency, then these external factors are a big part of what creates motivation for you.

On the other hand, intrinsic motivation is more powerful. 

It comes from within, and it only relies on you. It can be freely chosen at any time!

When you can create your own motivation, you are truly in charge of your own life. You are more likely to feel self-actualised.

If you are a Questioner or Rebel tendency, then intrinsic motivation is a strong part of who you are and how you operate.

Sources of Motivation

Now that we’ve discussed the two main types of motivators, it’s also worth knowing the two main sources of motivation.

To keep it simple, one is negative, and one is positive.

Think of it this way.

Some people strive to avoid things because they’ve been conditioned to look for those negative incentives.

So you could say we are talking about ‘away from’ motivators.

This is you if your reasons for doing things tend to be based around cutting back, restricting, limiting or avoiding something, especially a consequence.

This is a ‘conserve and protect what you have’ mentality. 

And the main problem with it is that if you focus on what you don’t want, you have no exciting incentive to act, and no instruction on the action steps you need to take to move forward.

When you can create your own motivation, you are truly in charge of your own life. You are more likely to feel self-actualised.

On the other hand we have what’s known as ‘toward’ motivators.

These are the things we define as desirable, the things we want and would be excited to achieve.

Positive or toward motivators are fueled by desire, inspiration, and the promise of a specific, pleasurable achievement or result.

So as you can imagine, thinking of what you want is way more compelling and motivating. It feels good.

And additionally, when you define what you want rather than what you don’t, you have more clues and instructions on the affirmative steps you need to take to get there.

5 Steps to Create Motivation

With this background understanding, you are ready to take the five steps to creating motivation. If you do these things and practice them, you will be able to create motivation and also, turn being motivated into a habit. Sound good?

Let’s get started.

Step 1

Think of the thing that you are not doing right now, but want to do.

Step 2

Reframe this as a positive thing you want to do or achieve. Talk about what you DO want, not what you don’t. Use positive words, or at least, plain and factual (that is, non emotive) words.

Step 3

Make sure you have been very specific about what it is that you want to do and when, and how often.

Step 4

Schedule it into your diary in a time-slot that is 100% not negotiable. This is important!

Step 5

Surround it with positives. Create a warm-up routine that is easy and enjoyable. Visualise yourself doing this thing and feeling good about it. Celebrate the feelings of achievement and success, and the results, afterwards.

In other words, step 5 is about thinking positive emotions and feeling positive feelings as you prepare, act and reflect on the thing you have scheduled in.

An example

Step 1 – Let’s say you want to find the motivation to go to the gym.

Step 2 – More positive wording could be that you want to feel that sense of satisfaction and post-exercise pump three days per week.

Step 3 – Allocate three timeslots very specifically and check you can commit to them 100%. For example, Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5pm for one hour including travel time.

Step 4 – Put them in your diary.

Step 5 – Get your clothes prepared for the week ahead. Set your alarm. Reschedule meetings. Mentally rehearse how good you will feel as you do the exercise. Celebrate finishing your session and feeling that pump.

In summary

As you can hear, motivation requires you to JUST DO IT.

Ready to create motivation?

Create habits that put you in charge of your own 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 53: Empowerment

high heels on chair

As a coach, I hear so many people talking about empowerment and empowering people. 

I tend to get on a bit of a rant about this topic so I wanted to do a podcast on it so we are all really clear on what empowerment is, exactly, and how to get it.

 

So what is empowerment?

Wikipedia says that empowerment refers to the actions you take to increase the degree of autonomy and self-determination in people, so they can act on their own authority.

It’s a process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially when it comes to taking control of your life and claiming your rights.

Being disempowered is obviously the opposite and it means that you feel less powerful or confident.

Why would we want empowerment? 

Simply because empowerment allows us to be who we are – our authentic selves – and feeling confident and competent about who we are and what we can do. 

Empowerment allows us to get what we want in life.

It allows us to speak up for ourselves and others, and to take charge.

When you feel empowered, you feel it in your body and mind.

In your body, feeling empowered gives you physical energy, enthusiasm and motion.

In your mind, feeling empowered gives you motivation, inspiration, positivity and a can-do attitude.

For me, feeling empowered makes me feel invincible and unstoppable, and this is how I personally love to feel.

It helps me to take action, to get things done, to achieve my goals, to make the most out of life, and to feel happy and fulfilled.

One of the reasons that so many people struggle to feel empowered these days is that they’re not really sure who they are, what they want or why they want it.

Why would we want empowerment? 

Simply because empowerment allows us to be who we are – our authentic selves – and feeling confident and competent about who we are and what we can do. 

Empowerment allows us to get what we want in life. It allows us to speak up for ourselves and others, and to take charge.

For me, feeling empowered makes me feel invincible and unstoppable, and this is how I personally love to feel. It helps me to take action, to get things done, to achieve my goals, to make the most out of life, and to feel happy and fulfilled.

When you feel empowered, you feel it in your body and mind. In your body, feeling empowered gives you physical energy, enthusiasm and motion. In your mind, feeling empowered gives you motivation, inspiration, positivity and a can-do attitude.

How do we get empowered?

Step 1 – Clarity

The first step to empowerment is getting clear on what you want. 

You need to know what you want in order to know what the steps are to getting there.

When you are clear on what you want, you know what you are are speaking up about. 

You know what you are striving to achieve. 

You know who you are and what something means to you. 

And importantly, when you know the destination, plan to get there unfolds more easily.

I think one of the reasons that so many people struggle to feel empowered these days is that they’re not really sure who they are, what they want or why they want it. 

And while these questions remain unanswered, you have an overwhelming sense of uncertainty and lack of confidence about your life. 

That is the opposite of empowerment.

Getting that clarity on your desires is that important first step. It creates excitement, a sense of conviction and a commitment to taking action.

In my Habitology membership, I find that most people need help constantly to get clarity on what they want. You can visit www.melaniejwhite.com/habitology if you want more info on that.

Step 2 – Winnable Goals that Build Confidence

The second step to empowerment is just start stretching yourself and getting uncomfortable so that you can start reaching small goals. 

The ability to set and achieve small goals builds confidence. 

And the more small goals you intentionally set and achieve, the more confident you will feel the greater sense of self you will have, and the more empowered you become.

It’s important to take small steps that are 100% winnable, so you win continuously. 

This is the fastest way to build confidence and self-efficacy – two important steps in feeling empowered.

Step 3 – Practice Believing in Yourself

The third step to empowerment is to start believing in yourself. 

It sounds crazy to say that. It seems like a huge task to suddenly start believing in yourself right? 

You’re right, it’s definitely not an overnight thing. 

To believe in yourself, you need to simply start practicing new thought patterns so they become a habit.

You need to start collecting your own evidence that you are capable of doing things.

That you are actively contributing to things and that you are creating results in your life and in other people‘s lives. 

Believing in yourself is tied up in the way you speak to yourself – that is, your opinion of yourself – and you need to proactively manage that.

Step 4 – Use Positive Language

The fourth step pulls it all together and creates a consistency and an upward spiral. 

It’s creating a positive dialogue with yourself. It’s about tuning up yourself talk.

Believing in yourself is tied up in the way you speak to yourself – that is, your opinion of yourself – and you need to proactively manage that. 

Positive thinking doesn’t just happen. In fact, around 70% of our automatic thoughts are negative. So you need to watch your thoughts and keep reframing them, switching them up, swapping your words.

After all, what would be the point in getting clear on your goals stretching yourself achieving small things and starting to believe in yourself, if your mind is still telling you how hopeless you are how useless you are or how you’re not worth it? 

It would be like doing all of this work and then shutting it down with negative self talk. It doesn’t make sense to do that, so the only answer is to work on your opinion of yourself so that you can change your beliefs about yourself really and truly.

Now let’s recap the process of empowerment.

Summary

Empowerment is all about increasing your autonomy and self-determination.

It’s a process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially when it comes to taking control of your life and claiming your rights.

I have outlined four steps for becoming empowered on your own terms.

Firstly, get clarity on a very specific outcome that you want, whether that’s who you want to be or something you want to achieve.

Secondly, work out the first simple, 100% winnable steps and start taking them.

Thirdly, practice believing in yourself by collecting evidence of all your wins, skills and strengths, including how you help others and yourself. 

Finally, watch your language and change it up so it’s focussing on what you can get and do have, rather than what you don’t have or can’t do. 

On that last point, to be more specific, if you talk to yourself about a more positive opinion of yourself, you’ll feel and become empowered much more quickly.

Ready to feel empowered?

Maybe it’s time for you to work out who you are, what you want and why you want it. 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 51: Becoming a household name

This podcast is about how to become known for what you do in your area. I share my own experience about how I relocated to a regional community, how I became known, and the one thing I had to do to gain traction. 

These are the things I did to become known in the first 3 months in a new area.

You can do these even if you are not moving!

  1. Online research – I know it sounds boring, but you just need to spend an hour or two doing this and you will gain so much information. Go to the sensus data for your area and find out who lives there, or use the suburb information from realestate sites. Find out what the demographics are for your area so you can know who you’re working with.
  2. Network with clubs – Find out which clubs are operating in your area, then meet with people for a coffee. This will help you to find out who your tribe is, and to find out who they are already working with.  .
  3. Speak in public – You can do this in person, in community groups or online as a webinar. Speak about what you are passionate about, and make yourself known. This will help you develop relationships and find out who you have things in common with in the area.
  4. Host events – This was something I did that was really useful to interact with clients on a social and personal level. For me it was workshops, and movie nights, but it could be anything you are into that will welcome potential clients and and enable that social interaction.
  5. Attended expos – When setting up my stall, I try to use catchy things to engage people and start conversation. For example, my Tanita scale to measure body composition, bone mass etc. was a huge success. What I learnt from this is that people want to know about what’s going on with themselves, and I used this knowledge to help set up engaging activities at other events.
  6. Adult education – When I first moved to the area, I signed up to teach short courses based on private workshops. I taught from my experience,  knowledge and interest. It gave me intel on the local community and what their needs were, and helped me understand my niche.
  7. Form partnerships – I partnered with a wellness clinic, and by working out of that premises I connected with other allied health workers and got exposure from that workplace.
  8. Run a big promo event – The community I moved into needed a footpath, and had slowly been fundraising for it over a great length of time. I saw the need for this to move faster, and decided to run a fundraiser – we held a Guiness world record event for the longest bellydance hip shimmy. It turned out to be a great fundraiser, but also a great way to become known. The publicity was free – local newspapers supported the event and spread the word far and wide.

Without specificity you risk being vanilla and not standing out.

I used these things to get known – and I did.

BUT it was only when I niched down that I got traction.

I built a specific program around weight loss called downsizeme. When you have a name that is specific and clear, with a specific set of three pillars to create a specific result, then people know exactly what you do.

From there things began to fall into place.

I ran a pilot program, which is where you offer your product for free or at a reduced rate. Participants know that you are testing it so they are very forgiving of any mistakes, and are willing to give feedback to get what they want. It was a great success, and the participants told their friends about it, so publicity took care of itself.

I also consulted with a local doctor about the process, and suddenly I was communicating clearly about who I helped and how. All of the connections made prior to this began to make sense and became an integral foundation of the career path I was building.

The same sorts of stories can apply everywhere – online, or in your existing community – talk about a strong point and find your tribe.

Get out there and get known, build a profile for something. Then you need to talk about that something over and over. Without that specificity you risk being vanilla and not standing out.

Ready to make yourself known?

Let your community know who you are are what you do! 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 42 – Four levels of money

Episode 42: Four Levels of Money

This podcast is going to look at practical ways to improve our own situations with money.

The other day I read a news article about a couple who paid of a $114,000 debt in 23 months.

And it got me thinking about how we perceive money and what we can actually do to improve our own situations with money.

So today I want to talk about the four levels of money and how you can work within each level to start creating more money.

 

The Basics

Let’s start with some basics. At the 30,000 feet level – the very strategic level – there is money in and money out. 

If you want to create more money, you need to have more coming in than going out.

Two ways to create more money are earning it and investing it, where investing includes saving.

Some people go straight to cutting costs to save money – and while I think it’s a great strategy and an important thing to do, remember that there’s only so much of that you can do. 

It’s finite. Therefore it’s much easier to earn more money than to cut expenses.

It reminds me of a conversation I once had with my grandmother. 

It was a very hot day, and my grandmother said, “You know Melanie, I much prefer winter. There is no limit to the amount of clothes you can wear, but in summer when it’s hot, there is a limit to what you can take off.”

The same can be said about money.

I like to think about the energy that we create around cutting costs and being frugal – for some people it may create a lack mentality.

On the other hand if you focus on creating income or wealth, (which I’ll talk about in a separate podcast), this creates more of an abundance mentality.

And an abundance mindset is what we need to create a sense of wealth, and actual wealth.

So how can you balance up your money in, money out equation to create more wealth?

Let’s talk about the four levels of money and how to set up your own money creation system.

Level 1 – Debt

The first level of money is debt.

Debt is when you borrow money and it costs you money to do this.

Depending on the interest rate on the money you’re borrowing, every dollar you borrow might cost you 2 – 25c.

That means that you get somewhere between 75 – 98c.

So if you’re someone with debt, and you want to create wealth, it should be your priority to pay off your debt as it’s costing you money to have the debt, on top of the debt itself.

This doesn’t apply to you if you have a lot of money and are using debt to offset your income. I’m not talking to you, in that case.

Level 2 – Expenses

The second level of money is expenditure or spending.

Expenses are the things you need to buy to survive and run your business (if you have one) and your life.

Depending on what’s important to you and what you value, you might live very frugally and spend money just on the basics, or, you may live a more lavish or social lifestyle that costs you much more.

If your goal is to save money, then you can look at your basic cost of living and work out whether there are areas that you can stop or reduce spending, even if temporarily.

Perhaps you don’t need a pedicure every month, or to have new designer clothes, or dinners out, for example. 

You might be better off using that money to pay off your debts faster.

But if cutting costs like this feels terrible and creates scarcity, then perhaps you could rather focus on creating money instead.

Level 3 – Income

The third level of money is income.

This is the money you earn for value you create (which I’ll cover in a separate podcast) and from any investments that you have.

We need income to cover our expenses and any debts we have. Debt should be the priority here as it costs money to have it.

At the basic level, income is created in exchange for some sort of action you take – a service or product that you sell through you own business or for an employer.

We often correlate the income we earn through work with who we are as a person. 

We tend to make it personal.

We say things like, “I’m worth more than that!” or “I’m not skilled or capable enough to earn that much money”. 

But if we focused more on the value we bring, rather than who we are as a person, then we could more easily change that equation and create wealth more easily.

Level 4 – Investment

The fourth level of money is investment.

This is where you take the money you have earned and put it into a savings, share portfolio, business or other account that pays you interest.

In other words it’s the opposite of debt.

Each dollar you invest will earn you an extra 2 – 50c. So your dollar turns into $1.25, for example.

The safest way to invest in terms of lowest risk is into a savings account or a term deposit, or government bonds.

Riskier investments are things like the sharemarket.

But one place that investment might give you a good return is in your own business if you have one.

If you have a service or product that is proven, selling well in the market and has the potential to help more people, then it makes sense that you might invest some of your income into marketing, advertising and/or recruitment to help your business grow.

The Money Balancing Act

Just to clearly state it again, I’m not an accountant or a financial advisor. And I’m certainly not telling you what to do with your money.

But know this – if you want to create more money, you will do some combination of things at each level of money to achieve your goals.

The first step would be to create a specific goal, such as a specific amount of money you’d like to create, and by when.

Ready to better balance your money?

You’re invited! The Habitology Membership is the perfect tool if you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut. I encourage you to check it out. Learn more here: