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I Is For IKIGAI – How To Find Your Purpose #1

IKIGAI. It rolls of the tongue, doesn’t it? No doubt you’ve heard of it and or seen the four circle diagram. As a lover of concepts and processes, as well as the free flow of creativity, I latched onto this as soon as I discovered it.

The four circle diagram that we often see is not the original Ikigai either, but something modified by another coach circa 2014. Still, I can’t complain because to make it make sense to me, I, too, have modified it…

But…

I was disappointed in my search to find the real purpose and meaning behind it, because the coaches who tried to teach it to me couldn’t really explain it in a way that made sense to me. Was it about finding something in life that had purpose and meaning? Was it about why we were on Earth, learning our lessons and doing something with those lessons, or finding meaningful work and when I say work, I mean the work you were put on this Earth to do? Was it just ONE thing that I was here to do?

I was already familiar with Jim Collins From Good To Great Hedgehog concept. Which at the time of learning, it was all about work. The three questions asked were:

  • What you are deeply passionate about?
  • What you can be the best in the world at?
  • What best drives your economic or resource engine?

He said that it was understanding what you can be the best at. So, focusing on ONE thing right now that you CAN be the best at.

Ikigai asks four questions:

  • What do you LOVE?
  • What are you GOOD at?
  • What does the world NEED?
  • What can you be PAID for?

And where these intersect is no longer a hedgehog but an Ikigai. And the way that most people look at this is in the context of work.

ikigai (2)

We are not born for work; it seems that is what we spend our lives doing. But what if you did ‘work’ that was meaningful, gave your life purpose and a reason for being? Chances are that even when you retire, you will still be doing it. I know for sure I’ll still be writing. Writing has saved my life, and I would like to think that I will still be journaling and writing books to entertain others until I head back to the soul place.

What does Ikigai even mean?

Like many Japanese words, there isn’t a direct translation into English, which I love as it gives us all room to decide for ourselves what it means to us. Iki is life, and the simplest translation of gai is value or worth. The value or worth you place on life could be one way to look at it. What makes you happy or brings you joy is another way. Think about all of the little things that come together to give your life meaning. This could be your work (whatever that means to you), your family, your spiritual life, or things you do for the greater good.

Having a life of worth and value is great, but humans are wired for connection, and Ikigai needs somewhere for the energy to flow. That purpose is being of service to your community (family, friends, tribe, customers, animals, Mother Earth, etc.). Some people hate the word service, and if that’s you, think of it as sharing your gifts or your heart. Ikigai gives you a purpose because you share your gifts and are making a difference in others lives (what the world needs).

The most confusing aspect of the model was the idea of what you can be paid for if Ikigai was about life value or life purpose. But paid can be translated in many ways. It might mean money, a reward, impact, happiness, fulfilment or how you invested your time or heart.

Is Ikigai about having ONE life purpose?

I don’t think so. I believe that we come to Earth to learn our lessons and discover the gifts we share with others.

We have many turning points, and these are the Ikigias that become our reason for being at that time.

Then there are the vehicles to deliver those gifts based on our knowledge, skills and experiences to date. A vehicle could be coaching, therapy, a book, a program or a course. It could be offering a foster home to children who need a safe space, creating food banks or animal shelters. Your vehicle could be a sport that you love, and when that career ends, you may coach others to excel in it – that’s two Ikigais…

When I look at the themes of my life, they are constantly evolving. When my spine fractured, my Ikigai was to inspire others to know that they could heal naturally. When I wrote my first memoir, which was a collection of life stories, it was to inspire others to write theirs and for the readers to know that there are gifts in our strange lives.

As I grow and evolve, I know that my Ikigai now helps others discover who they are, use their story, give it meaning (find it’s purpose), and go out and inspire others lives – to change the world. Most of my customers (friends with amazing hearts) write books, create courses and programs. Your customers might learn about nutrition or some other healing modality from you.

Ikigai and purpose

ikigai

Ikigai is about finding purpose, but it is much deeper that that and in my ponderings this is how I have extended the model for me:

  • Love and good at = passion – what drives you
  • Love and world needs = purpose – what pulls you
  • World needs and rewards = values and living by your values
  • Good at and rewards = other motivators and opportunities for growth

The net result is your reason for being.

The secret to a happy life

The secret to a happy life, I think, is to know who you are, who you are becoming, feel confident in that, live by your values, look at where you have been, where you are and to celebrate often how far you have come, find and follow your hearts desires, be grateful for the lessons and gifts and to do stuff that fills your heart for which you get the greatest reward.

There are probably more secrets, but these fundamentally work for me.

Finally, let me ask you, and these questions are based on right now:

  • What is it that I find most important in life?
  • What makes MY life worth living?
  • What gives my life meaning?
  • What drives you?
  • What pulls you towards being your best self?
  • Where do I find fulfilment?
  • How do I give my heart’s desires more meaning?
  • How am I living by my values?
  • What are the stories that shape me that I can use to inspire others?
  • What are the greatest rewards of my life right now?

Get out there and live a happy life, which, wherever you are, doing whatever you are doing is your reason for being right now.

What is your Ikigai, for right now?

For a chat over Ikigai or something else that needs a brainstorm, book in for a Power Hour.

It’s Time To Do What You Love

Let’s start with that question – is it time to do what you love?

What comes up when you ask yourself the question? Do you smugly smile at the screen and tell me I am. Or, are you feeling a little off key and wishing that you could find the thing or turn your thing into profitable products?

It can feel rather overwhelming – can’t it?

I adore helping people to turn their stories into products – books, courses, programs, blogs etc. My way of doing it is to create one piece of content and then looking at how it can be used many times.

But that’s the way I do it. The thing I love is exploring ideas and creatively finding ways to inspire others. I am like a little child when I am being creative and working with ideas – it’s play time.

And I love books but oh deary me – formating and uploading and all that faff leaves me cold. But when I get them done and back in my mits – I am overjoyed.

As a child my mum would lose me – often – because I would go off wandering. I wonder where this would take me? What if I climbed over this? What would those flowers look like with no heads? How do I put this watch back together? I could while away endless hours lost in curious play. And, of course, get told off for my misdeeds – which I could never understand.

When forced out of dirty wellies and rats tail hair and into the world of work, I’d always look for ways to make my job more interesting. Do you know how many ways you can seal and pack envelopes? Thank you the Civil Service for those endless boring tasks…

Naturally, this got chanelled into doing things I loved. I adored selling software because I could see so many ways that a company could be more efficient and effective. What do you mean you have a problem… Let me show you this!

When my spine fractured, I spent a long time working out how to heal naturally and get back to better health. I channelled my inner wild child into my healing.

And now lockdown. No where to go (mostly) except in my imagination.

But here is the secret sauce, I get to turn my ideas into tangible assets for myself and others. I feel excited that so many people are thinking about – how do I do what I love? How can I turn my story and passion into products or services easily?

Has lockdown changed you?

It has made me reflect me and do a massive declutter. But most importantly it got me thinking about a life of purpose and meaning and I started to think of my dreams and hearts desires.

Did you know that I want to write a novel? Maybe or maybe not. When I was in my last relationship everything felt that it was being destroyed. But the dream never left me.

There is now a book cover mockup proudly sitting on my vision board. I have some of it outlined and I can feel its pull. Though I think I need to get out of these four walls before I can write more creatively – or is that my block talking to me…?

What I have noticed is that many people still dream of creating a life of purpose and meaning, where they listen to their hearts and manifest magic but think they can’t for some reason. I get it…

It’s like they are frozen at the crossroads of their life wondering how to jump out of their comfort zone and into the field of possibilities.

They believe it’s too late, that they are too old for that specific dream or they don’t have the skills to reach for what they want.

But the truth is it’s never too late to follow your dreams and claim your hearts desires.

My mum is an amazing example of someone who thought she couldn’t write and who has now written 7 books. She amazes me.

Today she is painting and indulging her artist side, which was denied to her for many years.

What do you love?

The heart of you and your hearts desires are all about what you love and your passion. What do you love doing and what are you passionate about? Remember, you can be passionate about many things, and you can link some of these together to inspire others and to make an impact in the world.

Ikigai

Have you heard of Ikigai? Ikigai is a great tool for looking at the passion and purpose question. Ikigai roughly translates into the meaning of your life. The reason it is useful is that it wakes you up to your reason for being and helps you to live a life where you feel fulfilled. I believe that the books, courses and programs that we create and share must both speak to our hearts and be commercially viable.

  • The basis of IKIGAI is not to only enrich your own life, but also to enhance the lives of others
  • Every person has a strong drive to find meaning in life – purpose
  • Intrinsic motivation
  • Seeking fulfilment and inner peace

Purpose and meaning arrive at different times of your life, which means that you may have many IKIGAI’s.

Defining your Ikigai is a very personal and private journey and combining it with some pro-active business planning can result in achieving what you love to do and much, much more!

I love discovering someones one thing. Often when someone comes to write a book, create a course or program they find their lives disrupted as they work through their ideas and identity. They start off with ‘just’ an idea, and then they realise it’s more than the book, course of program it’s their brand and their business. It’s their life’s mission.

Four questions

Right now, grab a pen and scribble. There are four important questions I’d like you to consider.

  • What do you LOVE?
  • What are you GOOD at?
  • What does the world NEED?
  • What can you be PAID for?

These four questions are fundamental to working out not only your idea but what the business is that you want to create around it. Please take your time and spend time reflecting on each area. Then notice where you feel the excitement, and where you feel resistance.

Note: Ikigai is a very deep process, and here you are just scratching the surface, which is a great starting point. My hope is that it raises questions in you that you want to explore further.

Journal it: Ask your four questions. What do you learn?

Here’s a few other things to mull over

Let me know what resonates. Grab your journal and explore…

  • Some dreams and hearts desires simply seem too big to achieve. If that is the reason you think it’s too late, try breaking the dream down into small steps or stages. I’m laughing at myself on this one. Who me, write a novel…? List the steps and keep it simple.
  • There are many people of all ages going after their hearts desires. Many have faced decades of disappointment and unfulfilled lives. They discovered later in life that they have the resilience, experience, and self-knowledge to pursue their purpose. Think Louise Hay or JK Rowling… Age is not a barrier. Start today and go after what you want. Do what you love!
  • Let go of regrets. As you get older, you don’t want to be filled with regret because you didn’t try to do the things you loved or attempt to obtain what you longed to do in life. Remember Bronnie Ware and the regrets of the dying? It’s powerful stuff. I for one don’t want to leave without a) writing that book and b) inspiring you to find purpose and meaning in your life. Look at your book of regrets and pick one thing that you want to let go of. Then start your next adventure today.
  • Being remembered well. Following your dreams and hearts desires and doing what you love, influences the mark you leave on the world and how you will be remembered. We cannot force legacy on others, but how we live our lives will shape how we are remembered. How do you want to be remembered?
  • Just take one step. Any aligned step you take towards your dream and heart’s desire gets you closer to success. Many believe it’s too late to follow their dreams because they would be taking a step backwards. In reality, the past is a place of reference and right now is the best time to become and be. What is your next aligned step to being able to manifest your heart’s desire and do what you love?
  • Ask for support. Other people will help and encourage you on your journey if you let them know that this is your way forward. Look out for those people who will support you as you become the best version of yourself. And I am sure you will make new friends along the way. Who is on your A-team?

All you need to remember is that you are never too old to go towards your hearts desiresand to do what you love. All you have to do is decide what you want and take action to go after it.

Book a call and let’s explore

The Sun Moves Into Sagittarius. Time To Light The Fire In Your Belly

It’s the final stretch of 2020 as the sun moves into Sagittarius – my sign. It’s been a long and tiring year for many, and I guess one which we all wish had been a little different.

Journaling and walking the furry ones have kept me sane. While I love my own company, I now have cabin fever big time and need to get out more. My moon in Cancer likes to keep me in my shell – but no more! My Sagittarius sun, which loves freedom and change, pulled me out of my comfort zone and dragged me off to Sunday lunch with friends which was not only delicious but food for the soul.

A time to let go

I felt that it was time to let go of being isolated up in the hills. Sun in Sagittarius is a great time to let go of what is not serving you – that might be people or things – only you will know.

I believe that we can use letting go to create change, which means if we can get rid of the toxins in our life, it can help us to heal, improve communications and find that all-important inner peace. Letting go also creates space for something more beautiful to enter your life.

There is so much that we can let go of to create space. What about letting go of the rubbish that your body doesn’t need, that will certainly help you with better sleep and less stress?

What about decluttering your home? If you were to look around your house, what stuff could you give to charity? Or what stuff could you sell on eBay?

What about who is in your life that are not good people for you? I know it’s difficult to get rid of people from your life but think about how you can spend more time with the people that nourish you. I talk about reason season, lifetime people. Who is in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime? Who are those people that you want to hold on to, and the people that you don’t want because they’re toxic?

Letting go doesn’t mean just dumping stuff or washing your hands of something or someone, it means forgiving and letting go of your attachment to something or someone so that you can release them, and heal yourself.

What’s on your decluttering and letting go agenda? Visualise what you want that will bring you more joy, inner peace and contentment.

Ignite the fire in your belly with Sagittarius and the solar plexus

When you have let go of what you don’t want, you have more space to create and invite in the things that you do.

Sagittarius links with the solar plexus in the chakra system, which is also associated with Jupiter the planet of opportunities and expansion. This is a wonderful time to consider who you want to become and expanding into your best self.

Think about igniting the fire in your belly, or setting fire to your desires. What images does the idea of fire conjure up for you? Fire has the power of transforming quickly. However, it can be destructive. But rather than look at this in a negative way consider how you can use it to clear away the ashes and debris at the root chakra, and deal with the suppressed emotions and creativity at the sacral. Then you can set light to your desires.

What can you do to prepare yourself for the sacred fire of awakening to what you want and who you want to become? This is where visualisation is so powerful. You could write about your perfect day and hearts desires and then imagine them being set fire to at the solar plexus and the flames licking your heart and awakening the burning desire you so badly want. Just the simple act of seeing what you want in a new light will increase the fire of enthusiasm for life, what you want and the joy of living.

Get back in touch with your vision

When you have lit the fire, take time to look ahead to your future goals, reevaluate your mission and purpose, and get back in touch with your vision. This is all about getting ready for the last month of the year and wondering about the opportunities available to you in the new year.

I’m just rearranging my mini vision board for what I want from today on… Three things are on my mind:

  • Writing my first novel – it starts in earnest on January 1st
  • My health – As the weather changes it’s easy to eat comfort food and hibernate, so I am focused on continuing to eat well and get out with the furry ones and friends
  • Love to journal books – I’ve just edited the Root Chakra book and waiting eagerly for that to go live – this is perfect for kick-starting 2021 as we move into earthly Capricorn. Look out for the course and live group coaching

When I have these, I will use my journal to explore more and practice visualising them as if they have already happened.

Do you have a mini vision board and if you do – what would go on your mini vision board?

Practice visualisation

I prefer to be a dreamer among the humblest, with visions to be realised, than lord among those without dreams and desires. Khalil Gibran

There is a funny thing you may not know about your subconscious. Whether it is real or not, if you create a mental picture of something, your brain believes it to be true.

When you plant new ideas into your mind using visualisation techniques and repeatedly show these images, your subconscious believes these to be your reality. It will then work hard to continue to create the conditions to make this reality stay constant. This is why visualisation works so well.

You can plant new realities into your mind, and when you continue to practice the technique, it will start to influence your emotions, thoughts, and actions over time.

Create a mental picture, not just of what you want, but also of the person you will be when you achieve it. How will you feel? What will be different about you and your life? The more you visualise this, the more likely it is to become a reality.

Astronaut John Grunsfeld said this: “I was not really scared on my spacewalks. We practice so much and need to stay so focused that it has a calming effect on me. I do a kind of visualisation and meditation in the airlock prior to going outside, to guide my first activities once I get out in space.”

Do you use visualisation to help you to get what you want? What if you had a go, how do you think visualisation could help you focus on your vision or help you to light the fire in your belly? Perhaps the vision of what you desire has several outcomes, what about playing with each outcome and seeing how that feels? What might you learn about what you really want?

The roadmap to your magical future

A fun way to work with your vision is to draw it out. You do this by creating a visual roadmap. I use a roll of brown wrapping paper and coloured pens.

Start by drawing the road that you want to travel. At one end, write now and at the other one word that represents what you want to manifest. Design your journey to your magical destination and put whatever you want on your road in the order that feels right. Have fun!

Next, connect to your muse and go on the same journey in your mind. If you find it hard to visualise, know that you can use other senses to bring it alive, you do not need to be able to see; you could think, feel or sense for example.

  • Find somewhere comfortable to sit
  • Take 3 big deep breaths and exhale loudly
  • Close your eyes and start relaxing each part of your body. This is quite easy to do. Just imagine you are screwing up or tensing each part of your body starting at your toes and then letting them go
  • Keeping your eyes closed, imagine a road in front of you. You may see this road, or you may think it into place. (remember, it doesn’t matter if you can’t visualise in the sense of seeing something, as long as you can think it or feel it into place)
  • See yourself standing at the end of the road, with what you want to manifest in front of you.
  • Stand and look back towards the very beginning of your road. Now think, imagine, feel every step you have taken
  • Walk to the beginning of your road. Consider the significant steps that you have in front of you. You have already walked these
  • Remind yourself by going through the motions of doing each of those significant steps. We are not looking for minute detail we are merely looking for the significant steps
  • As you do each step walk towards what you desire. Step into each of the activities that enabled you to reach your destination
  • As you step into each of these, see what you see, feel what you feel and hear what you hear
  • When you get to the end of the road, breath in the magic and know that it is done
  • When you are ready, open your eyes and allow your life to flow

Get clear

Without a clear outcome, manifesting your vision will feel like a lot of wasted effort. You need to know precisely what it is you want. Including what that outcome will do to benefit your life once it is achieved

The Universe is listening… It wants to support you in achieving your dreams. It responds to clarity, and when there is clarity, it will deliver the things that you want, with greater ease. Because you will have a crystal-clear vision of what you’re calling in.

Take a moment now to reevaluate the things you want – do they really light you up? If they don’t, you will never be able to light the flames of desire or ignite the fire in your belly. Make use of the transition into Sagittarius to consider what opportunities you want to take advantage of going forward. Grab your journal and ask how you will feel when you get what you want? The start focusing on what you want and who you will be when you get it.

If you are feeling stuck, sticky or in treacle, not sure about what you really want, connect with me and let’s chat about how we can get you off the mad cosmic roundabout and back on track.

Letting Go And Decluttering Your Heart

It’s another full moon and the energy of this one is odd, to say the least. Or it could be that I feel like I am living on a remote island without my desert island disc goodies – eight tracks, a book and a luxury. We’ll come back to these in a mo…

This full moon – well, let’s face it something has to be at fault and I don’t want to talk about that other stuff – you know the pandemic (insert sad face).

This morning started well, with a gorgeous walk with two of my dogs, followed by getting a proof book sorted for a client – I hope she likes it?

Then, a malaise set in, which is most unlike me and I found myself a bit emotional and letting a sludgy part of my life creep in. I wonder if lugging some of this slurry is really necessary – what do you think?

I’m a big fan of letting go, especially on a full moon. I love the ceremony of burning my letter to letting go (see later), lighting candles, meditating with crystals and just being as my words float off to meet their maker somewhere up there.

Letting go and decluttering your heart is a big part of allowing the sludgy bits to dissolve, leaving you to make space for more of the good stuff. Besides which slurry and sludge smells. You only have to own a dog to know that!

As I was driving back from the shops today I passed a chicken farm and it reminded me of a day when for some reason one of my errant dogs was standing in the road far away from home covered nose to tail tip in stinky stuff – she was filthy and wet.

I can remember the smell as if it were yesterday.

I unpacked the boot, covered the back seat and drove her home for a wash. She stood silently looking at me as I removed the offending grime as if to say ‘what’s the fuss mum?’

Within 10 minutes the smell and the dirt were gone. For her, I am sure it’s long gone from her memory, while I have it stored along with a prayer that it never happens again.

Dale and marley moo

Getting slurry, foxes poo and other indescribable muck off a dog is far easier than letting go of traumas. These little critters clutter our hearts and just when you are least expecting it wham tears, anger or some other unexpressed emotion leaps out and smacks you around the face.

I practice the art of letting go in many ways. Getting rid of stuff around the house to clothes I no longer want has become easy. I learned after leaving three homes behind that you don’t need much.

Every once in a while I do a sweep of the house and put things that no longer serve me in the utility room and from there they go to charity. The same happens with clothes, if they miss the ironing for several sessions, it’s clear that they need to adorn someone else’s body.

With matters of the heart, I wait until an appropriate moment and allow my intuition to guide me.

This full moon I have no possessions that I want to chuck, instead, I am drawn to write a letting go letter to some of the stuff around a now very old relationship. I was rather surprised when I put pen to paper that this should show it’s face.

That is the beauty of journaling, what needs to come out does and so it should.

Letting go and decluttering your heart

Examining the past can be upsetting, especially when you look back and see a set of repeated behaviours that might now seem cringe-worthy. I like to think that despite everything that has happened, it was all meant to be and is just part of the journey, like a tough degree programme at the University of Life. Everything is a learning experience and a gift.

What do you need to let go of which is cluttering up your heart?

Dear letting go…

Find yourself somewhere comfortable to sit and write a letting go letter to whatever needs to come up. Do not censor your words or try to control them.

Start your letter dear letting go and see what flows.

I always advise my clients to start with the mundane and then the juicy stuff will come.

Leave the letter with some crystals and let them work their magic.

Later, when you read your letter, find the lesson and the gift. Write thank you on your letter and set the words and emotions free by burning your letter.

If burning is not your thing, do something else. You could flush it down the toilet or make a boat and let it sail away.

Make your ritual and ceremony your own.

Afterwards be kind to you and with any luck you will sleep well. In the morning pick up your journal and write.

Have faith that in that space is room for something far more valuable and loving. Consider the gift that you have been given and ask how will this gift serve me?

This ceremony just some of the things we do in a Writing To Heal Circle – do come and join us.

Eight tracks, a book and a luxury

Come then what are your eight tracks, a book and a luxury?

  • Nirvana cover of The Man Who Saved The World
  • Bad Company – Bad Company
  • Neil Diamond – Pretty Amazing Grace
  • Dido – Hunter
  • Joan Armatrading – I am not in love
  • George Thorogood – One bourbon, one scotch and one beer
  • Nirvana – Come as you are
  • Natalie Imbruglia – Torn

Phew that was hard!!

The book would be Shapeshifting Into Higher Consciousness – Llyn Roberts, because theres loads of journeys to go on.

Luxury would have to be lipstick!

And of course my three dogs.

Over to you.

How To Get The Best From Collaboration With Business Colleagues

Collaboration – alone we can only do so much, together we can do so much more

What does collaboration bring up for you? Until recently I would have steered clear of a joint venture. This is not because I am against joint ventures it’s more that I have had my fingers burned over the years.

But recently things changed which have filled my heart and rebuilt my faith in the word team.

In January, a personal catastrophe occurred – my spine fractured. It meant that I had to take time out and work part-time for most of the year as I healed. To be honest there were points where I wanted to give up on everything. I, however, made a few conscious decisions. One was to remain in group run by the Arrows (Kevin and Sarah). The other was to heal my body as naturally as possible and to give myself time to do this – no matter how impatient I felt.

I remained in the Arrows group because of their leadership and the members. There were many days when I couldn’t participate and some days when I didn’t know if it was day or night. What I needed was to be inspired and motivated by what each team member was doing and to feel as if I was still in the ‘real’ world.

There were many days, indeed weeks when I would watch what they – as a team – were up to and cried because I couldn’t take part. I didn’t go quite as far as licking the screen to get a taste of their fun and excitement, but I wanted to.

A few months ago an opportunity for a group collaboration (The Navigate Bundle) appeared. I was still in a healing mindset rather than focused on my business, but I was intrigued. What if the collaboration on the table could ease me back?

Then I started to wonder ease me back to what? Did I still want to do what I did before my spine fractured? I thought I did but I was unsure.

In the collaboration (Navigate), we each needed to contribute a product. Ok, I thought I knew what that might be, but what if I no longer wanted to deliver that content? You can imagine what was going through my mind.

Without a moment’s hesitation I said yes and then set about working out what and how.

When you have had to take time out of your business it is only natural that you will be unsure of what you want to do ‘when you grow up.’

My intended contribution was Plan your non-fiction book online course. But first I needed to ensure that this was still my thing. Determined to make sure, I dug out an old workshop (create a business you love), brought it up to date, and took my own course while I turned it into a new online course. Yep – it was confirmed I still loved what I did – phew.

Here’s a run though of what you get in my course – Plan your non-fiction book

As the team became excited about how we would support each other, I found myself wanting to make sure I wasn’t going to let anyone down. I needed to contribute something that they would be proud to support as I would be of their offerings.

After completing my first new course in a long while – create a business you love – I had my vision. Next, I re-edited my book (Plan your non-fiction book in a weekend) and gave it a new cover, with that came a new workbook and business planner. Next, I updated and refreshed the course I was contributing and did the same with another course.

Now I felt like a valuable contributor and I was getting clarity around the vision I had created.

These are some of the things that I witnessed as we worked together and what I consider contributed towards a successful collaboration.

How to get the best from collaboration with business partners

Have a common cause

By having a common cause all of the team were able to understand what role they would play in the mission of the bundle. That is to support others to be able to navigate their businesses to success. Hence the name – Navigate.

As a group, we found that as we needed support and direction all we had to do was ask and the group rallied around to offer valuable guidance.

Set expectations

It is easy to get carried away with the excitement around the event, and having clear expectations meant that we had agreed on parameters to work to. Expectations included we want your best product valued at least £xxx so that our customers will be delighted with the value that they get. They must be able to access it easily and feel that they have made a purchase which they will love.

Leverage team strengths

As the bundle was put together and rolled out different members of the team stepped up to provide support in their area of expertise. Let’s face it why have a team of experts and not utilise their skills?

Foster inclusion

We were asked questions and polls to find out what the team thought about ways to for example launch or market the product. That way everyone got a chance to say what they wanted, to discuss and jointly decide on a way forward. Although when you are working with marketing experts, they usually have pretty hot ideas based on their incredible experience.

Willingness to help and be helped

It is never easy to ask for help when you think you are strong and capable. But when you are with a team who show up and support you no matter what, you want to do the same for them.

Honour ideas and requests

When the team put forward ideas and requests these wherever possible were honoured. Which meant that our team felt that we were valued. The net result was that we pulled together to deliver the kind of value that we believed our combined customers would expects. Which means that all of our businesses grow and our relationships deepen.

Share ideas

Imagine having a team of super brains all willing you on to success? Good ideas can come from anywhere and what makes this work is that everyone wants to give the rest of the team great solutions to things that are niggling them.

Recognise, reward and celebrate

We have all worked hard to share and sell the Navigate bundle supporting the teams marketing efforts. As a team, we have celebrated and recognised each person’s hard work in getting this in front of as many people as possible and even if we aren’t at the top of the leaderboard we have all celebrated together.

Trust each other

You cannot have collaboration without trust. The Arrows are great leaders who I know we all trust (and love). Because of their direction, there is no question that we all trust each other and that means that we support each other without fear.

Finally, I have worked in many organisations and have been saddened by the amount of politics, ego, lack of trust and single-minded ambition which has contributed to the detriment of the overall organisation. This has not happened here. What a breath of fresh air.

Collaboration is a powerful way of working for entrepreneurs regardless of the industry or type of business they are in. Forming connections in a trusted environment means that you have access to years of experience to ensure that you can take your business to new levels.

The bottom line is that without this team led by the Arrows, the wonderful team members and this initiative for collaboration I could well have still be wondering how do I get back on track.

When in the future you see a team of people putting together a collaborative webinar or bundle consider what each of the entrepreneur’s stories is and how this collaboration might mean more than money.

This experience has restored my faith in collaboration, has helped me to heal and get back on track and that is invaluable.

Getting into a coaching mindset

A lot has been written about coaching.  To the uninitiated, it can take on the appearance of ‘smoke and mirrors’ – just another initiative thatrepackages old management and other weird theories and sells them under a new banner.  This could not be further from the truth.

I confess (don’t tell a soul) that until I enrolled in the Institute of Leadership and Management executive coaching certificate (2009), I thought pretty much the same. I even hated the word coach, because it seemed so inauthentic. Once I was on the program expertly led by the very wonderful and amusing Dave Tee, I changed my mind and I changed my mindset.

As I put in my coaching hours and saw how my clients changed I was excited by the possibilities. I witnessed mindset changes in them and me. This spurred me on and as I moved from Executive coaching into business, brand and book coaching, I came to appreciate the fundamentals that I had been taught.

Coaching when embraced has a powerful impact on the individual, the organisation (your business or the one you work in) and across the whole supply chain. When someone suddenly realises the possibilities for personal growth, for achieving their aspirations, they will ‘happily’ step out of their comfort zone and take the first steps towards releasing their potential and impacting positively upon what they want.

A coaching mindset

To be a coach you need a coaching mindset just as much as the person you are coaching. To be coached you need a coachee mindset. Otherwise what is the point?

Coaching is a personal development process designed to enhance a person’s success in achieving her or his objectives within the context an expressed outcome.

But what does that mean?

It means, for example, that despite it being focused on the individual, it is important that everyone understands that within an ‘organizational’ context the ultimate goal is to improve effectiveness and efficiency, e.g. profitability.

It means in the context of writing a book, for example, that the aspiring writer understands what needs to be achieved by when so that they can become a published author.

For me some of the keys are:-

  • Good questions
  • Great listening

…and the understanding that we already have all of the resources to achieve many of our goals (desires or intentions) within us!  Sometimes, we just need some help in liberating them.

We all have 100% control over our mindsets.

What can you expect from someone with a coaching mindset?

Self-belief – you believe in your ability to coach and if you are being coached, you are open to being coached and believe that you can make the required or desired changes.

Driven – you are motivated by something deep within that means that you will get what you want.

Vision – you have a vision and will happily share it, empowering others to connect to their goals, desires and intentions.  You put ideas into action which take you towards your vision.

Lifelong learner –you believe in the power of continual learning. It is never too late to learn anything and put that learning into practice.

Accountability – as a coach you gently hold others accountable and as a coachee you enjoy the inspiration and motivation you get from being held accountable.

Co-creators –you share personal experience, learning and wisdom freely with others; you want others to grow as you grow. 

Brand ambassadors –you believe in aligning your values and vision with your core message. You understand and demonstrate the concept of know, like and respect, which builds trust.

See potential – you see the unrealised potential in others and help them to see it for themselves through coaching – both formal and informal.

Possibilities – you encourage others to envision possibilities. To go to the boundary of what is possible and to step across the line.

Active listener – you focus on the person speaking and do not wander off thinking about how to form the next question or what you are having for dinner.

Logical and intuitive –you understand logic, however, you are equally comfortable with intuition and imagination, and use all of these to improve communications, reduce conflict and improve consensus.

Challenge gently – you know how to, and can challenge others without making them feel criticised– you are passionate about helping others succeed. 

Sets goals, desires or intentions – you know that to get what you want, you set goals, desires or intentions. You regularly check that these are still meaningful and take action to reach them.

Choose win-win – you know that no one wins when anyone you work with feels like they are a loser.  You coach and mentor others to improve performance and to help them to develop continually.

Someone with a coaching mindset looks for win-win outcomes at every opportunity. You do not look to thrive on the ‘failure’ of others – you look to thrive on the ‘success’ of others – with others!

What makes a good coach?

Looking at the list above, you can easily identify key attributes.  You may want to add some things to the list. Mary Connor and Julia Pakora, in Coaching & Mentoring at work, suggest that there might be some other skills and behaviours worth considering[i]:-

Attribute

  1. Supportive
  2. Sounding board
  3. Challenging
  4. Networker
  5. Respected
  6. Assertive
  7. Open
  8. Transparent
  9. Creative
  10. Visible
  11. Interpersonally skilled
  12. Strategic
  13. Kind
  14. Genuine
  15. Just

Look at yourself, (business or organization) and ask “what behaviours do I see” and “what behaviours do I want to see?” Then consider how to implement the behaviours you want to see.

What makes a good coachee?

To be honest I used to hate being the coachee, until I lowered my barriers and pulled myself willingly out of a zone where I felt discomfort. I had after all parted with my cash and did claim to want to change. Here’s what I considered.

Being prepared

I never just turned up flustered and unprepared with my brain still be focused on the last activity that I was doing and thinking on the next thing I had to do. I went through my notes and reminded myself what I committed to do.

Considering the issues that I faced

By fully understanding where I found myself and thinking about how I could explain my issues to your coach saved time and I gained much more insight.

Setting outcomes

Start with the end in mind and thinking about what I wanted to get out of the session and the whole process. 

Asking what I wanted to change

I reminded myself that a good coachee knows that coaching is about change and knowing what it is that needs to change and why. I also was open minded to what might come up that I hadn’t thought of.

Being a good listener

Not only does the coach need to be a good listener, so does the coachee. As a good coachee I found that actively listening to the questions gave me time to think and meant that we got to the heart of the ‘problem’ quicker.

Asking good questions

I made sure that if I didn’t understand that I would ask good questions of my coach for clarity.

Understanding the art of reflection

Too often, we jump in and agree actions. It is acceptable to ask for time to reflect and I did that. By that, I do not mean days and days, but a few minutes to mull things over works a treat. I kept a pen and journal handy to scribble as I reflected.

Showing emotions

Coaching is not a test, it is a supportive sounding board, and letting ‘stuff out’ can really help to get to the heart of an issue. Just remember that your coach is not a counsellor.  They will provide the questions…..and I knew that I had to provide my own answers no matter how hard this seemed at times!

Being honest

I often had to dig deep to find the courage to admit that sometimes I felt like a failure or was frustrated or angry. Your coach will ask you good questions to get to the root cause. I trusted that from there I would get clarity and find a resolution.

Being grateful for this fantastic opportunity

Although I made the investment in myself, I have always been grateful that I have invested in me.

Knowing that if it is possible in the world, it is possible for me

When you look around at the incredible things that others do for themselves and others, you know that things are possible. It’s important to know that even if you don’t know what’s going to come out of a session that ‘something’ will be possible.

Conclusion

People (businesses and organisations) that embrace a coaching mindset will ultimately reap the rewards and impact their bottom line. The coaching process is designed to bring out the best in people, with a focus on results. These results create people, like you and I, who will be able to:-

  • Be more effective and efficient
  • Have a higher day to day morale
  • Work better with others – setting good boundaries for improved relationships
  • Set goals, desires and intentions that are meaningful to us and our measure of success

What are your actions?

Now that you have read through the coaching mindset piece ask yourself:-

  • Do I have a coaching mindset?
  • What of these skills or strengths do I possess and which do I still need to work on?
  • What actions will I take?

And finally… “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” The Empire Strikes Back


[i]Connor M & Pakora J 2007. Coaching & Mentoring at Work. Open UniversityPress, McGraw Hill Education, P47

The art of reflection for business leaders

Jo Leader practices the art of reflection

Balancing precariously on her magic carpet, Jo Leader left the safety of her modern cave behind and headed to Dino Corporation.

Sinking deep into the deep red threads, she contemplated the day ahead. Jo Leader wondered how the vision parchment she had delivered to the board had been received.  She’d heard a whisper in the maze that some couldn’t make any sense of her notions for authentic leadership.

Flying high above the hilltops, gazing into the future, she was actually looking forward to her day at Dino Corp, as much as anyone could enjoy dancing with grumpy dinosaurs.

At precisely 11am she was going to present her ideas.  Luckily, she had the hearing cavity of Reginald Saur.  She trusted his wise counsel and it was him that had encouraged her to journal what was on her mind and reflect on her outcomes.

As she descended into the carpet port, a feeling of apprehension welled up in her.  It’s just nerves, she told herself.  Walking into Dino Corp clutching her new Alisaurus bag, she remembered that she had packed her intent, moral courage, character and communication wand.  Touching it, she felt reassured.  Today was going to be a great day.

Journaling the key to reflection

There are many ways that we can learn to communicate with ourselves, for me writing has been the key.  There is something magical about putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard which allows the unconscious mind to flow.

Journaling is much deeper than keeping a diary and I like to think of it as the art of reflection.

As the busy world whirls around you, no time to think, let along grab a quick coffee at lunchtime, you might think me mad to suggest that you take some time out of your day to write and reflect.

Writing is cathartic, creative and contemplative.

The art of reflection comes when you step back and allow your writing to percolate, like you might a good coffee.  As you sip it, the rich flavours awaken your taste buds, whilst the aroma reminds you why you buy that coffee.

Reflection allows us to think about our thinking, to contemplate our behaviour and to consider how we might be communicating to ourselves and others.

To quote Socrates (he never wrote) “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  For me, this speaks volumes in so many ways and in the context of this article tells me that reflection is part of the pathway to the leader, that exists in everyone.

There are many times that we are unaware of how we communicate and fall into confusion, when what we said or did with good intention was not understood.

Ask yourself the right questions

Simply, maybe we are not asking the right questions.

There are four questions that you could ask each day:-

  • How was the day?
  • What stories did I tell myself, tell others and hear from others.
  • What have I learned?
  • How will I use that new understanding?

Instead of saying yes but….  I have no time to journal, ask yourself instead, how long do you want to keep repeating the same mistakes for?

I don’t know how long it takes to form a new habit, after reading Oliver Burkemans article; I will let you make your own mind up.

And I will ask you again “how long do you want to keep repeating the same mistakes for?”

And “what actions will you take to replace “your responses to needs” with something that serves you better?”

PS: you can replace mistakes with any word that have more meaning to you.

Resources

http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/2d.htm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/oct/10/change-your-life-habit-28-day-rule
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