No, You Can’t Have it All: The Challenge of Mixing Entrepreneurship & Motherhood.

No, You Can’t Have it All: The Challenge of Mixing Entrepreneurship & Motherhood.

No, You Can't Have it All - The Challenge of Mixing Entrepreneurship & Motherhood. Despite what the idealists say, it's not possible to "have it all", and the reality is that starting and running your own business while being a mother is not for the faint-hearted. Here are 5 truths to be aware of if you're serious about being a successful Mum in business #entrepreneurship #motherhood #workingmothers #momsinbusiness #mompreneur #mumpreneur #mothersinbusiness #womeninbusiness #mombossBeing a working mother requires an almost supernatural ability to keep dozens of balls in the air simultaneously.

 

And if you’re a Mother who’s chosen to grow your own business while simultaneously raising children, you’ve taken on the ultimate challenge. Many of us choose to become an entrepreneur because we’re passionate about our business vision and we want to have the flexibility and freedom to fit in around our children and their needs. But the harsh reality is that juggling business building with motherhood is hard – and there are a few truths you need to be aware of if you want to be successful in both.

Here are 5 truths to live by as a Mother and Entrepreneur.

 

1. If You’re Not Obsessed with Growing Your Business, Step Away Now.

As mothers, we carry the entire mental load of the household – costumes for school assembly, dentist appointments, food shopping, school lunches, after-school activities, and the list goes on. And growing a business can be all-consuming too. Squeezing the demands of a business into our already-overcrowded mother-minds is no small feat. And just like a child, if your business doesn’t get the time and attention it needs to grow and flourish, it will simply wither away and die. It requires not just passion, but obsession, in order to succeed. Obsession will get you through the tough times and inspire you to keep going. Without it, you’ll simply run out of steam and give up. Make sure your business vision is one you’re willing to obsess over.

No, You Can't Have it All - The Challenge of Mixing Entrepreneurship & Motherhood. Despite what the idealists say, it's not possible to "have it all", and the reality is that starting and running your own business while being a mother is not for the faint-hearted. Here are 5 truths to be aware of if you're serious about being a successful Mum in business #entrepreneurship #motherhood #workingmothers #momsinbusiness #mompreneur #mumpreneur #mothersinbusiness #womeninbusiness #momboss

2. Figure Out What You Will and Will Not Sacrifice

To succeed in business while being a mother, you’re going to have to make your business an equal top priority. Which means you have to sacrifice certain things. Despite what some idealists declare, the reality is that we can’t have it all. We can’t be there for every school event, or always tuck our children in at bedtime, or have a perfectly tidy home while simultaneously growing a business.

Get yourself really clear on what you absolutely will not sacrifice. Are you willing to give up your marathon training? Your spot on the Parents & Teachers Board? Or being there at school pick-up every afternoon? And let go of the guilt of not being “the perfect Mum”. There’s no reason to feel guilty anyway. In fact, some heartening research from Harvard Business School across 24 different countries shows that children of working mothers experience a whole range of positive benefits later in life. So you’re giving your children a gift when you choose to prioritise your business equally as high as your children.

 

3. Stop Making Excuses and Ask Instead “What Do I Have to Do to Make This Happen?”

During my time as a Business Coach for women, I’ve heard all the excuses – “I didn’t get time because I had to take my son to the doctor”, or “I couldn’t attend the workshop because I had the kids”. I can absolutely relate because I’m a mother too and I know how hard it is with the usual plus unexpected demands on our time. But if you’re serious about succeeding in business, you’ll need to figure out what’s required to grow your business, and then make it non-negotiable. What are the core activities that will win you new clients and allow you to serve more effectively? And what do you need to do to make it happen? Do you need to get a regular babysitter you can call on? Do you need a live-in nanny for a while? Does your partner need to take care of Wednesday or Friday pick-ups? What do you need to do to achieve your business goals? Stop making excuses and make them happen.

 

4. Invest in Yourself and Your Business In Order To Grow

Be willing to invest in yourself to develop the skills and competencies you need to be a successful business owner. And be willing to invest in your business to set up the right systems and structures, grow your brand awareness, win clients, and serve them effectively. For every ‘expense’ that comes along, ask yourself “What’s the Return on Investment?” If it’s going to win you new clients or help you to deliver an improved service, it’s not an expense but an investment. It’s the chicken and egg thing. But the reality of business building is that you need the chicken before it will grow an egg. Business growth requires investment. And if you’re not prepared to invest up-front in order to grow yourself and your business, perhaps entrepreneurship isn’t the right path for you.

 

No, You Can't Have it All - The Challenge of Mixing Entrepreneurship & Motherhood. Despite what the idealists say, it's not possible to "have it all", and the reality is that starting and running your own business while being a mother is not for the faint-hearted. Here are 5 truths to be aware of if you're serious about being a successful Mum in business #entrepreneurship #motherhood #workingmothers #momsinbusiness #mompreneur #mumpreneur #mothersinbusiness #womeninbusiness #momboss

5. Find Your Tribe

Combining business with motherhood is hard and not everyone ‘gets’ it. Find a tribe of like-minded women who encourage and support you to keep going when the going gets tough, and who understand you and what you’re going through. It takes time to build a company from scratch. And it ‘takes a village’ too. So find your tribe and get the support you need. It’s our mission in the Secret Women’s Business Academy to provide a powerful tribe to support mothers and women in business. None of us can do it alone. If you haven’t found your tribe of inspired, ambitious, and heart-centered women yet, please come and join us here!

 

Keep your chin up, keep going, and know that you’re doing an amazing job.

If you need help growing your business, jump on over to The Secret Women’s Business Academy to find out more.

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

 

Kate De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
katie@katiedejong.com
www.katiedejong.com

When Struggle and Confusion Turns to Clarity and Confidence: How the ArtMark Experience Worked Its Magic in My Business

When Struggle and Confusion Turns to Clarity and Confidence: How the ArtMark Experience Worked Its Magic in My Business

Capturing my experience with Tracking Wonder's ArtMark Branding Program and how it worked magic in my life and business #ArtMark #Branding #MarketingStrategy #BrandStory #Clarity #SmallBusiness #Entrepreneurship #ConfidenceThose of you who run your own business know how critical it is to be able to articulate clearly who you are, what you do, for whom, and why. And yet it also happens to be one of the most difficult things to do.

 

When I first felt the call to step out of the corporate world and into the entrepreneurial world, I was full of ideas and excitement. Finally I was going to be able to unleash my own unique genius in the way that I wanted and I was going to do things on my terms, in my own way. I had a vague idea of how I wanted to serve others through my business, and I thought that would be enough to get started.

 

But it wasn’t.

 

I struggled to find the right words to explain what I do in my branding and marketing material in a way that would captivate and magnetize people. Despite the passion I felt in my own heart, I wasn’t able to convey that passion to others in a way that made sense to them.

 

And then the dreaded question at social gatherings – “What do you do for a living?”

 

I always dreaded that question because no matter how hard I tried, I struggled to spit out a powerful, succinct answer. And my business was suffering as a result. I failed to consistently attract the right people who needed what I uniquely had to offer.

 

Thankfully, early this year I found Jeffrey Davis’ 4-month ArtMarkTM experience at Tracking Wonder, and everything changed.

 

ArtMark is a group program designed to help you “Captivate Customers and Community with an Irresistible Brand Message and Story.” The program helps you get crystal clear on your unique brand promise, identity, and services – and perhaps most importantly – who you are here specifically to serve.

 

Jeffrey’s philosophy and approach are built around the idea that inner clarity about your business comes from a deep awareness and appreciation of your own unique personality, gifts, and strengths.

 

The program begins with a deep dive into understanding your unique personality, and how you specifically captivate and elevate people. One of the tools used is Sally Hogshead’s Fascination Advantage Personality Test, which helps you discover the Primary and Secondary Archetypes that best describe your unique personality – and more importantly, how to leverage them fully to captivate your audience.

The program then leads you through a deep process of self-reflection and self-discovery to uncover:

  • Who your competitors are and how they present their unique brand message and story so that you can understand where you fit into the already existing market;
  • ‘Your Signature Elixir’ – the unique services that you offer that solve a particular problem that people have.
  • Developing your Captivating Story to magnetize your people.
  • Your ‘Gallery of Experiences’ that will serve your people in the most effective way (often referred to as Business Funnel – as a side note, Jeffrey has developed a refreshing vocabulary to describe common marketing terms in a way that feels much more authentic, customer-focused, and service-oriented.)
  • Your Visibility Strategy.

 

The beauty of the program is that it helps you distill large amounts of information and self-analysis into succinct sentences that capture who you are and what you do. The ability to clearly describe yourself, your mission, and your vision, are truly empowering.

 

Here are some of the sentences that emerged on my ArtMark journey, which have allowed me to overhaul my branding and marketing strategy and materials in order to attract the people I am here to specifically serve.

 

My Anthem (My Fascinate Unique Advantage)

Cutting-Edge Expertise

 

My ‘Trueline’

I guide people to freedom and joy by reconnecting them to their hearts and true potential.

 

My ‘Centerline’

In a world where we’re so often pressured to be something that we’re not, I guide and empower heart-centered professionals to find and walk their true path so they can make a difference doing work they love.

 

My ‘Tagline’

Helping Heart-Centered Changemakers Find and Walk Their True Path.

 

The biggest revelation in the whole ArtMark experience for me personally was discovering the words to describe my ‘niche’. I’d struggled for so long to clearly articulate this part, which meant that I sometimes attracted clients who were a great fit to work with me – and sometimes not. I could never quite understand what the missing piece was in being able to consistently attract the right people.

There have always been a couple of threads running through my unique ‘purpose’.

  1. I empower people to reconnect with their authentic voice and to live their truth proudly and impactfully.
  2. I help people who feel unfulfilled in their career to find the path that allows them to express themselves and their unique gifts fully.

 

Until ArtMark I was missing the one critical thread that makes my purpose complete:

3. I help heart-centered changemakers make the impact they desire.

 

These were the words I finally uncovered thanks to Jeffrey’s powerful process:

 

Heart-Centered Changemakers

 

It was such a big revelation that I dedicated an entire blog post to it here – ‘Relax, You Are Exactly Where You’re Meant to Be: A Powerful Lesson in Trusting the Flow of Life.’

 

As a result of The ArtMark experience, I’ve been able to develop my Business Manifesto for Heart-Centered Changemakers.Are you a Heart-Centered Changemaker? If so, please do come and join our Community! The Heart-Centered Changemakers

 

My hat goes off to Jeffrey and his team for their ability to help passionate and budding entrepreneurs like myself and my fellow ArtMark colleagues find the clarity and insight we desperately need in order to thrive in business and make our unique impact on the world.

 

Doing It Together

Jeffrey’s operating motto is always “Doing it together (DIT) beats Doing it Yourself (DIY)”. To honour some of the great work being done by my ArtMark colleagues, here are some beautiful branding examples that are the result of this year’s ArtMark experience.

 

To find out more about the ArtMark experience, please visit Jeffrey Davis’ website at Tracking Wonder. I can’t recommend his programs highly enough.

Please leave a comment below if you resonated with something in my article! And share with your friends using the social media icons below!

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
katie@katiedejong.com
www.katiedejong.com

Tired of Procrastinating? Try These 6 Powerful Tips to Overcome it Now

Tired of Procrastinating? Try These 6 Powerful Tips to Overcome it Now

Are you tired of getting stuck in procrastination? Find out the real reasons why you're procrastinating and learn 6 powerful strategies to overcome it. Start stepping up to your full potential and hitting your milestones out of the ball park! #procrastination #procrastinating #effectiveness #productivity #efficiency #motivation #inspire #empower #liveyourbestlifeThis is a timely article for me to be writing because while I’m a generally a very action- and results-oriented person, I’m also at times a good procrastinator. And it seems I’m not alone. In a survey I sent out recently to find out more about people’s real challenges and struggles, procrastination came in as one of the top responses when I asked the question “What do you feel is the biggest obstacle holding you back from making breakthroughs in the areas you desire?”

‘Fear’ was the number one response (and will be the subject of another blog post that I’m currently procrastinating about), followed closely by ‘procrastination’. I felt compelled to write about procrastination first because I know it’s a big challenge for most of us. I struggle with it on a daily basis. There are certain things I know I ‘should’ be doing in order to grow my business or to keep on top of things at home, and I often find it really hard to just get on and do them.

And it got me wondering – Why? And what can I do about it? Because it frustrates me and I’m aware that it’s a form of self-sabotage.

I was heartened to find out that I’m only a ‘mild procrastinator’ when I did the Mind Tools ‘Are You A Procrastinator?’ test. But I was told “You need to understand better why you procrastinate – there are several reasons for it, and more than one may apply to you. And you need to learn the steps you can take to stop doing it.”

Exactly. So what exactly are those reasons and what can I do about them?

Firstly, it was nice to know that procrastination is not the same as laziness. As the Mind Tools article on Procrastination says:

“Procrastination is an active process – you choose to do something else instead of the task that you know you should be doing. In contrast, laziness suggests apathy, inactivity and an unwillingness to act. Procrastination usually involves ignoring an unpleasant, but likely more important task, in favor of one that is more enjoyable or easier.”

I find that a great description. I know I’m not lazy because I’m very willing to act. But I definitely have been known to ignore the unpleasant, but more important tasks, in favour of ones that are more enjoyable or easier.

To overcome this pattern of behaviour, Mind Tools suggests that the first thing we need to do is:

Recognise That You’re Procrastinating

 

As with everything in life, the first step in being able to ‘fix’ something is to notice that you’re actually doing it. I highly recommend the Mind Tools Procrastination Test to find out where you are on the scale of procrastination –  Are you a true procrastinator, a mild procrastinator, or not a procrastinator at all (congratulations – lucky you!)?

And once you know where you fit on the scale, you can start to figure out why you’re doing what you’re doing and how to change it. There are many reasons for why you might procrastinate. Here’s a list of the most common ones.

 

Are you tired of getting stuck in procrastination? Find out the real reasons why you're procrastinating and learn 6 powerful strategies to overcome it. Start stepping up to your full potential and hitting your milestones out of the ball park! #procrastination #procrastinating #effectiveness #productivity #efficiency #motivation #inspire #empower #liveyourbestlife

6 Reasons You’re Procrastinating and What You Can Do About Them

 

 1. You’re Not Organised

I know this one definitely applies to me. Even though I’m generally quite an organized person, as a home business owner there is no structure in my day unless I enforce it. It was different back in my old corporate career where there were certain ‘non-negotiable’ obligations like important meetings, deadlines, or required administrative tasks. Having a schedule and deadlines means that you have no option but to do those things. But when you work for yourself, that’s much more fluid. If you don’t feel like doing something, you don’t have to do it. But the guilt and shame that you feel as a consequence of not doing what you know you have to do is very detrimental and can lead to a downward spiral of negativity and inertia, which can be very hard to pull yourself out of (speaking from experience!).

This is why it’s so essential to get organized. One thing that’s worked for me in running my own business is to create a schedule that forces me to do certain things on certain days. Things start going pear-shaped when I don’t keep to the schedule and instead focus my time on the things that are shiny and exciting, easy or fun.

 

Consistency, routine, and effective prioritizing are essential in overcoming procrastination.

 

Accountability can help you get things done too. Ask someone to check up on you and regularly remind you of what you promised you would do. This is why coaching relationships are so effective and why I work with a coach regularly. They help you understand what’s important for you and they hold you accountable to the things you say you’re going to do. And we all need that!

 

2. Poor Decision-Making and Lack of Clear Priorities

Have you ever had those days when you can’t decide what you should actually do, so you just drift through the day being ‘busy’, and at the end of the day you ask yourself “What did I actually do today?”

That’s a day without clear and focused priorities (and is slightly different from not being organised). If you can’t decide what to do, you just end up jumping on the first thing that feels good and suddenly you’ve spent 6 hours doing things that really are not a high priority and you know it.

The best question I’ve learned to ask at the start of each day is Gary Keller’s famous question that he describes in his #1 bestselling book The One Thing which is this:

 

What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

 

Are you tired of getting stuck in procrastination? Find out the real reasons why you're procrastinating and learn 6 powerful strategies to overcome it. Start stepping up to your full potential and hitting your milestones out of the ball park! #procrastination #procrastinating #effectiveness #productivity #efficiency #motivation #inspire #empower #liveyourbestlifeI recently put together a video explaining The One Thing and how you can apply it (you can watch the video here).  Asking that question has been a true game-changer for me and when I get stuck, this is the question I turn to. I highly recommend trying it out.

 

3. It’s Boring

This is an obvious one and possibly the most common. I’m constantly putting things off because, frankly, they’re boring. Why pay the water bill or spend time writing the legal contracts for your clients when you could do the fun website changes you’ve been wanting to do or make pretty social media images?

The best technique that’s helped me make myself do those boring tasks that need doing is this:

 

Focus on how good it’s going to feel when you’ve finally done those boring tasks and you can tick them off your to-do list. Keep tuning into the feeling of relief and satisfaction you will feel and use it to get you through the task.

 

Another thing you can do is promise yourself a reward. If you complete a boring but necessary task on time, reward yourself with a treat; maybe a slice of cake and coffee from your favourite coffee shop. Or if it’s a really big, important task, reward yourself with a massage or anything else that feels like an absolute treat – because you deserve it.

 

4. You’re Worried About Failing

This is simply ‘fear’ disguised as procrastination. And the only way to overcome this one is to schedule the time to do it and push through the fear. As the famous saying goes “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.” All the things I’ve been really scared of doing (live videos, leading group calls etc) only became less scary when I finally plucked up enough courage to just do them. And through doing them they became much less scary and even enjoyable.

The more you do something you fear, the more enjoyable it becomes.

 

There’s a certain adrenaline boost that you get when you overcome your fears that can become addictive with time, to the point where you actually really start getting hooked on doing the thing you once feared.

 

5. You’re a Perfectionist

Perfectionists are often the best procrastinators. You’re so dedicated to getting something perfectly ‘right’ before you put it out there that you become paralysed with inaction. This was once a big trap of mine, and the only thing that helped me work through this was repeatedly saying the mantra:

Imperfect Action Beats Perfect Inaction.

 

If this sounds like you, print out this statement in big letters (make it pretty if you have to) and hang it above your desk somewhere where you can see it all the time. And make the commitment to yourself to choose imperfect action above perfect inaction at all times. Watch how this simple mantra changes your life!

 

Are you tired of getting stuck in procrastination? Find out the real reasons why you're procrastinating and learn 6 powerful strategies to overcome it. Start stepping up to your full potential and hitting your milestones out of the ball park! #procrastination #procrastinating #effectiveness #productivity #efficiency #motivation #inspire #empower #liveyourbestlife6. You’re Worried About Succeeding

You might even be worried about doing something really well because it means that you’ll suddenly be swamped with requests from other people and you’ll get overwhelmed. Maybe you don’t want to be known as someone who gets things done because you’ll end up being their go-to person. In that case, you may just need to be up-front and set some clear boundaries with people. Let them know what you’re willing to do but let them know you have limited time because you have your own tasks to get on with. This may require having some uncomfortable conversations but the effects will be liberating.

 

I hope this list has given you some insight and helpful strategies to overcome your procrastination patterns. The top one for me remains staying organised in order to overcome my procrastination demons and something I’m working to improve each and every day.

And be sure not to beat up on yourself. Don’t let yourself get dragged into the spiral of shame and guilt that procrastination can draw you into. Be gentle with yourself and congratulate yourself for always doing your best and for actively seeking ways to improve. That in itself is worthy of a little celebrating.

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

 

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
www.katiedejong.com
katie@katiedejong.com

Create A Life You Love: How to Set Powerful, Heart-Centered Goals That Work

Create A Life You Love: How to Set Powerful, Heart-Centered Goals That Work

Create A Life You Love: How To Set Powerful, Heart-Centered Goals That Actually Work #goals #goalsetting #newyearsresolutions #liveyourdreams #dreambelieveachieve #livefromyourheart #positivity #lawofattraction #scienceandspirituality

Do you feel resistance when it comes to setting goals?

 

I know I have in the past. The whole process can feel too masculine, pushy, or ‘corporate’. I do, however, believe that the act of tuning into your heart to listen to what wants to be expressed or created through you is essential to creating a life you love. Without some form of heart-centered intention or goal, we can drift aimlessly in a sea of possibility without having anything secure to anchor ourselves onto, and nothing to work towards that will allow us to really stretch and unleash our full creativity and potential.

A clear, heart-centered goal acts as an internal compass to guide your daily decisions towards your ‘true north’, allowing you to more intentionally create a life you love.

What do I mean by your ‘true north’? I mean the genuine, authentic desires of your heart and soul. And heart-centered goals are the means by which you align yourself with your true north.
An essential component of setting heart-centered goals is the act of first tuning into how you want to feel. I give full credit to Danielle LaPorte and her Core Desired Feelings concept that has been a major force in shaping how I now approach goal-setting. Danielle was one of the first people to make me aware of how we have our traditional goal-setting processes backward. Traditionally, we focus on an end goal without taking the time to figure out how we actually want to feel, which often leaves us feeling empty and discontent when we actually reach the goal, because it didn’t actually make us feel how we wanted.

Create A Life You Love: How To Set Powerful, Heart-Centered Goals That Actually Work #goals #goalsetting #newyearsresolutions #liveyourdreams #dreambelieveachieve #livefromyourheart #positivity #lawofattraction #scienceandspirituality

A heart-centered goal lights you up just thinking about it. The thought of reaching it uplifts, inspires and motivates you.

 

 

Heart-centered goals lead to ‘inspired action’; tasks and actions that feel exciting and joyful. If you’re feeling the need to set some powerful, heart-centered goals for the year ahead that will actually get you to where you want to be, I recommend you use the following process. This may take some time, but I promise you it’s worth it.

 

How to Create Powerful, Heart-Centered Goals That Actually Work in 6 Steps

 

STEP 1: ACKNOWLEDGE & CELEBRATE EVERYTHING YOU DID AND EXPERIENCED IN THE PREVIOUS YEAR

Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit for everything we do do, and instead focus on what we think is still missing. The simple act of documenting, acknowledging, and celebrating everything you did in the previous year lights the fires of passion, purpose, and creativity for the year ahead. Gratitude and appreciation for all the goodness that manifested in your life provides an inspiring and exciting platform from which to springboard into your dreaming and goal setting. The easiest way to do this step is to write it all down, making sure you document:

  • What you DID;
  • How you GREW;
  • What you LEARNED;
  • Which new CONNECTIONS or networks you established;
  • And any other highlights of the year that feel significant.

Create A Life You Love: How To Set Powerful, Heart-Centered Goals That Actually Work #goals #goalsetting #newyearsresolutions #liveyourdreams #dreambelieveachieve #livefromyourheart #positivity #lawofattraction #scienceandspirituality

Here’s an article in which I reflect on everything I accomplished in 2017, which got me really excited and inspired about the year ahead.  Make sure you find a way to celebrate and give gratitude for all the goodness that manifested in your life. If it feels right for you, close your eyes and spend some time in quiet gratitude. Perhaps light a candle. Practicing gratitude stimulates all the wonderful high-frequency emotions that are necessary for getting into an effective frame of mind for goal setting (including appreciation, joy, optimism, hope, grace, ease etc).
STEP 2: TUNE INTO THE VISION AND PURPOSE YOU HAVE FOR YOUR LIFE

To effectively map out exciting and magnetic goals it’s important that you first tune into a vision of your future that makes you feel really excited when you think about it, as well as your purpose. There is a subtle but very important distinction between your vision and your purpose. They’re very closely linked, but you can think of it this way:

“If your vision is the map, your purpose is your inner compass.”

– Jeffrey Davis, Tracking Wonder

 

Your vision is the final destination you desire to arrive at. You need a map to show you where you are now and where you want to end up (your vision). Then you need a compass (your purpose) to help you continuously point yourself in the right direction, in order to reach your final destination. Your vision summarises the qualities of the life you would like to live, while your purpose defines the details of how you serve others through your work.

Your purpose statement should contain a summary of WHO you want to serve, HOW you help your people, and WHAT the result will be from your actions. To help you get the idea and to stimulate your own reflective juices flow, here is my current vision and purpose (these tend to evolve as I grow and evolve):
What is your vision for your future? This might be something you’re very clear about. Or maybe it’s something that’s still a bit murky for you. To develop your own vision, try to think about what your ideal, dream life would look like in 5-10 years time. What would you be doing? What kind of person will you be? What are the qualities of the life you desire to experience? What is the end destination that excites and uplifts you? And how would you define your personal purpose? If these aren’t an easy question for you to answer and you need more help, please get yourself a copy of my E-Book – Free E-Book: Pathfinding: How to Find Your Unique Path & Purpose.
 
STEP 3: GET CLEAR ON HOW YOU WANT TO FEEL IN THE YEAR AHEAD
I believe this is the critical missing piece in all of our goal-setting processes. Failing to take the time to do this step might set you up to achieve goals that don’t necessarily make you happy or satisfied or fulfilled. To tune into how you want to feel, take some time to get quiet. Take a few deep breaths in and out. Place your attention into your heart space if you can. Take a few deep breaths and really feel into the energy in your heart centre. As you try to keep your focus there, ask yourself:

“How do I want to feel this year?”

Write down whichever words come up for you. My words for this year are:
How do you want to feel in 2018? #coredesiredfeelings #daniellelaporte #abundance #heartcenteredgoals #goals #goalsetting #newyearsresolutions

 

If you need some inspiration for possible feelings, take a look at my Core Desired Feelings Library inspired by Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map. Click here to go to the Core Desired Feelings Library.

 

 

STEP 4: ENGAGE IN DIVERGENT THINKING TO DREAM BIG AND IMAGINE QUANTUM LEAPS FOR YOUR LIFE

If you want to set exciting, uplifting goals, it’s CRITICAL that you undergo some form of DIVERGENT THINKING before you narrow yourself down and choose goals that you want to shoot for in the year ahead.

We use divergent thinking to CREATE CHOICES, and then we use convergent thinking to MAKE CHOICES.
An important part of the divergent thinking process is allowing yourself to DREAM BIG and to expect ‘quantum leaps’ in your life. In the video below, I describe how Price Pritchett defines Quantum Leaps in his book You2 – A High-Velocity Formula for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps. I highly recommend reading his book if you want to learn more about his approach, which integrates quantum physics principles into personal effectiveness tools.

Create A Life You Love: How To Set Powerful, Heart-Centered Goals That Actually Work #goals #goalsetting #newyearsresolutions #liveyourdreams #dreambelieveachieve #livefromyourheart #positivity #lawofattraction #scienceandspirituality

Don’t you think it’s a pretty amazing thing that the only thing limiting us in life is our imagination? That we can literally do anything we want if our heart and soul want it badly enough? We get to literally dream up the life we want to live. As Price Pritchett says in his book You2:

 

“Seeking the quantum leap means violating the boundary of the probable. It means achieving well beyond the obvious. So don’t limit your desires to what you think you ‘can have’ …. start going after what you ‘want’. This means you must give yourself permission to dream, to risk. You must set yourself free.”
– Price Pritchett

 

Once you get clear and excited about what you ‘want’, you can create it through harnessing the proven physical laws of our Universe, including The Law of Attraction. I wrote about this recently and how you can harness the Universal Laws to create the life you want here: How to Create More of What You Want Using the Law of Attraction.
Now that you understand what Quantum Leaps are, here’s how you can align your quantum leaps with your core desired feelings that you uncovered in Step 3.
 
 
How to do ‘divergent thinking’ that opens your mind to the possibility of ‘quantum leaps’:
Task 1: In your journal or notebook, write down all the words you chose as your CORE DESIRED FEELINGS for the year ahead on the left-hand side.
Task 2: Next to each desired feeling, make two columns. In the first column, try to brainstorm some ‘normal’ goals, i.e. what Price Pritchett would refer to as your 10% incremental goals. This is how we usually approach the goal-setting process, setting goals that we believe are within are ‘achievable’ range. In the next column, brainstorm some possible Quantum Leap goals, i.e. things that require you to stretch your imagination and dream bigger than normal. What would be REALLY AMAZING if you could achieve it next year? This is where you get to play with your imagination and dream up some really BIG and EXCITING goals!
Create A Life You Love: How To Set Powerful, Heart-Centered Goals That Actually Work #goals #goalsetting #newyearsresolutions #liveyourdreams #dreambelieveachieve #livefromyourheart #positivity #lawofattraction #scienceandspirituality
STEP 5: CHOOSE THE GOALS YOU WANT TO FOCUS ON IN THE YEAR AHEAD
Now that you’ve been through a process of divergent thinking, now it’s time to ‘converge’ and choose which goals you want to aim for in the year ahead. When doing this, remember that ‘more’ is not necessarily ‘better’. Choosing a few quality goals that are closely aligned with your desired feelings and desired quantum leaps will position you to live a wonderful year. Be sure to check each goal with these questions:
  • Will this goal help me feel the way I want to feel?
  • Is this goal aligned with my authentic heart’s desires?
It’s also important not to focus on a single outcome (e.g. Publish my book), but rather to set goals that define the various milestones you’ll need to reach in order to reach that outcome (for example: Finalise the book structure, secure book agent, submit first draft etc). This is called ‘chunking down’ the goals into tangible milestones that you can work towards. This is where you get the chance to be specific and set realistic, yet challenging milestones and targets.

To be effective, your goals need to feel like a stretch (but not too much of a stretch that it feels overwhelming), and they need to feel exciting!

This allows you to take ‘inspired action’ that feels good.
STEP 6: GET YOUR GOALS AND MILESTONES INTO YOUR DIARY AND PUT THEM SOMEWHERE WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM!
To make your goals real, you’ll need to schedule them into your Yearly Planner so that you can work towards them. Put them somewhere where you can see them and be reminded of them consistently. Lastly, have a think about some support structures you can put in place to make sure you regularly check in with your goals and modify them if needed if they’re not aligning with your desired feelings. What support structures can you put in place? A vision board? Hanging your goals up somewhere where you can see them? Telling your partner so they can remind you? Telling a friend and asking them to check in with you? Joining a group that will actively support you in pursuing your goals?

Create A Life You Love: How To Set Powerful, Heart-Centered Goals That Actually Work #goals #goalsetting #newyearsresolutions #liveyourdreams #dreambelieveachieve #livefromyourheart #positivity #lawofattraction #scienceandspirituality

Once you decide on the goals, the actions and the support structures you’ll put in place to achieve your goals, you’re on your way!
I sincerely hope this article helps you set yourself up for a wonderful year and I wish you so much success and magic in creating the life you love.
In service to helping you live your brightest life,
Katie De Jong, Ph.D.
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
www.katiedejong.com
katie@katiedejong.com
7 Ways to Be an Inspiring Leader in Small Business

7 Ways to Be an Inspiring Leader in Small Business

7 Ways to be an Inspiring Leader in Small Business #leadership #smallbusiness #entrepreneurship #achievebelieve #inspire #inspirationalleadership #bosslady #ladybossThose of us who choose to be a small business owner are in some way required to step into leadership, even if we’re not explicitly aware of it.

 

When I quit my corporate career of almost fifteen years as a Consulting Engineer in 2011, it wasn’t because I wanted to become a leader. I had taken on various leadership roles throughout my career and enjoyed the opportunity to lead, support and inspire others. But I had quit my corporate career because I wanted to experience more joy in my work, more creativity, more authentic self-expression, and perhaps most importantly, I wanted to be more impactful and to serve others more effectively.

And so I stepped out of the corporate world to re-train to become a certified Coach and to start my own business while becoming a mother to our two young boys. As time has gone on, it’s dawned on me that in order to fulfill my dream of creating positive change through my business, I need to consciously and proactively step into a position of leadership; which is not something I was prepared for, at least initially. As I grow and evolve my ‘craft’ with time and experience, I’m realizing that if I want to thrive as a business and as my own personal brand I must:

  • Step out of the shadows and claim my position as a leader;
  • Have a clear vision that inspires and resonates with people;
  • Be able to communicate that vision and why it’s important;
  • Know how to serve my people with services and products that help move them towards that vision.

 

Like all of us, I’ve had the opportunity to observe some great leaders over the course of my life, and some not-so-good examples of leadership. The great leaders are, of course, the ones we all aspire to be. And if we want to create positive change in the world as business owners, we need to be great leaders.

 

To me, the single most defining quality of a ‘great leader’ is their genuine passion and devotion to serving their people.

 

7 Ways to be an Inspiring Leader in Small Business #leadership #smallbusiness #entrepreneurship #achievebelieve #inspire #inspirationalleadership #bosslady #ladybossIt’s often easy to tell who is in the game of leadership to further their own egotistical pursuits (power, status, influence or control) as opposed to those who are in it to make a difference. In his book Return on Character: The Real Reason Leaders and Their Companies Win (2015), Fred Kiehl describes the results of seven years of a landmark study of more than 100 CEOs and over 8,000 of their employee’s observations of their leaders. He showed that leaders of ‘strong character’ achieved up to five times the Return of Assets (ROA) for their organizations than leaders of ‘weak character’.

Kiehl defined four qualities that leaders of ‘strong character’ show:

  1. Integrity
  2. Responsibility
  3. Forgiveness
  4. Compassion

As I reflected on those qualities, it took me back to some of the moments in my life when I’ve personally experienced leaders of ‘strong character’ and the profound effect they had on me, including:

  • The boss who came past each morning and asked my team members and I individually how we were going. Not in a superficial chit-chat kind of way, but in a genuine “How are you and is there anything you need to do your best work today?” kind of way.
  • The senior colleague who believed in me and empowered me to step up, break out of my comfort zone and achieve more than I thought was possible.
  • The manager who took it upon himself to undertake hard negotiation with company executives on our behalf to significantly improve our salaries and workplace conditions.
  • The manager who took responsibility for a ‘big mistake’ on behalf of our team, worked with us to brainstorm solutions and empowered us to collaboratively get things back on track; no blame, just compassion, forgiveness, and empowerment to move ahead.
  • The manager who very compassionately told me to go home to rest and take care of myself when I wanted to keep working through a personal crisis.
  • The leader on Twitter who says she’s working on a particular issue of national concern and would like to hear everyone’s input and feedback in her comments section. She then reads all of them and acts upon them, responding to all the concerns raised.

 

As small business owners, it’s even more critical that we continuously display qualities of strong character because our strength of character is our business; it’s our personal brand.

 

7 Ways to be an Inspiring Leader in Small Business #leadership #smallbusiness #entrepreneurship #achievebelieve #inspire #inspirationalleadership #bosslady #ladybossAnd since Kiehl has shown an astounding 5-times increase in financial performance in businesses with ‘leaders of strong character’, strong leadership is critical to deciding whether our business will thrive or fizzle out. So to all you small business owners out there who want to step up your leadership game and more consciously and proactively choose to be a leader of ‘strong character’, here are my 7 tips on how to do it:

  1. Have a clear and inspiring vision of the future that serves as your inner compass and the compass for your business – #Vision.
  2. Embody the morals, principles and values of your vision – ‘walk the talk’ – #Integrity.
  3. Demonstrate your genuine passion for your vision and for serving your people – #Service #Passion #Devotion.
  4. Genuinely care about the people you’re serving and leading. Connect with them. Request regular feedback, listento the feedback and act upon it – #Listen #Compassion.
  5. Believe in your people and inspire them to be better, do more and reach higher – #Empower #Believe #Inspire.
  6. Be transparent and vulnerable when you need to be. Admit your mistakes. It’s OK to be ‘imperfect’ and still lead your people. Genuine vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness and your people will respect you even more for it – #Responsibility #Forgiveness
  7. Be kind, compassionate and forgiving to others. Failure is success when we learn from it – #FailureisFeedback

 

What are some of the commitments you can make to yourself to uphold greater levels of ‘character’ and become a truly inspiring leader in your role as a business owner?

 

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D.
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
katie@katiedejong.com
www.katiedejong.com

Those Days When I Just Want to Give Up on My Dream … And 7 Ways I Manage to Get Through Them

Those Days When I Just Want to Give Up on My Dream … And 7 Ways I Manage to Get Through Them

Those days when I just want to give up on my dream of running my own business - and 7 ways I manage to get through them #smallbusiness #resilience #perseverance #grit #whenthegoinggetstough #businessstartup #dontgiveupI’m not usually one to focus my time and energy on things that aren’t working because I’m acutely aware that “What we focus on grows” and all of that.

 

And yet, I also think there’s enormous value in sharing our vulnerability and real-life struggles so that we know we’re not alone and so that we can help each other through them. And sometimes we have days where it all just feels really hard. Running your own business can feel like a lot of hustle for little return at times. Sometimes it sucks. And it’s OK to feel that way every now and then. It’s part of the natural cycle of things.

Today I had one of those days when I sat down at my desk and I couldn’t find my ‘mojo’. I’d had a couple of deflating incidents; some people unsubscribing from my email list, very little engagement on an offer I put out that I’d been really excited about. All a very normal part of doing business, but sometimes those things feel deflating nonetheless. My head was full of thoughts like “Who’s going to care if I don’t coach or publish or offer anything today. Maybe I should just go back to my old corporate job.” … and a tirade of other unpleasant thoughts.

It can be hard to pull myself out of those moments.

 

Because starting your own business is hard. And there are days when I just want to give up on my dream.

 

My dream for the past six years has been to run my own thriving coaching practice from home, while being a Mum to our two young boys. I quit my previous corporate career in 2011 after more than fifteen years in the field of water process engineering. I’d chosen my field of study for mostly the wrong reasons; trying to please my parents and live up to the expectations they had for me to be a successful professional woman in the technical fields. And I chose it for the stable financial future that everyone told me I would have if I followed Science & Engineering. Which I did have, but that financial freedom failed to make me happy. I had mostly ignored the gentle pleads from my heart to follow my natural joy; languages, social connection, and writing.

 

Those days when I just want to give up on my dream of running my own business - and 7 ways I manage to get through them #smallbusiness #resilience #perseverance #grit #whenthegoinggetstough #businessstartup #nevergiveup

But in 2011 I was finally forced to my knees and I had no other option than to step out of my profession.

I’d been through a very long ‘dark night of the soul’ (which I write about here Authentically Me: My Journey of Coming Home to Myself). I could no longer ignore the whispers in my heart that had now turned into a loud roar.

I remember the mixed emotions I felt when I finally made the decision to quit my job after almost 15 years of intense sweat and tears poured into my profession. Enormous relief, exhilaration, freedom, joy. Followed closely by lots of fear, self-doubt, and anxiety about what others would say and think. And many questions and doubts about what I would actually do going forward. I had never contemplated ‘going it alone’ before or being a business owner or entrepreneur. Those words had never even been inside my head in relation to ME.

 

But I’d been through so much struggle and inner turmoil to get to that point that I was determined to make my own way on my own terms.

 

After much soul-searching, I decided I wanted to save others from the struggles that I had been through, feeling off-track and miserable in my career for so long, to help them find their authentic and joyful professional path. I was determined to make it work.

I was lucky (or was it synchronicity?) that at the time I decided to quit my corporate consulting engineering career, my husband was offered a job overseas and I had finally fallen pregnant with our first baby boy. And so I took that to be a ‘sign’ and decided to throw myself wholeheartedly into pursuing a coaching certification while simultaneously becoming a mother twice over (our boys are now aged 3 and 6). In 2014, I finally became qualified as a Certified Coach and I’ve been busily working away at building my business ever since.

I feel fortunate that I’ve had so much passion and purpose to fuel me through the start-up phase because it hasn’t been easy.

 

Those days when I just want to give up on my dream of running my own business - and 7 ways I manage to get through them #smallbusiness #resilience #perseverance #grit #whenthegoinggetstough #businessstartup #dontgiveupIt’s not an easy task going back to ground zero, starting out in a new field in which you know nothing, building connections in a field that you have none, developing new skills and competencies completely outside of what you’ve always known.

 

Not to mention the difficulty of setting up the actual nuts and bolts of a business, or the many costs of setting up and running one. There are so many little things that add up over time; business name registration, domain name purchase, building a website and everything that goes along with that, branding and logo design, purchasing graphic design tools, email list building software, online course platforms, social media/content scheduling tools, business insurances, legal documents, office set up … and the list goes on.

One of Sydney’s rising start-up entrepreneurs Jon Westenberg said recently:

 

“If you don’t have a plan to make money, all you have is an expensive hobby.”

– Jon Westenberg

 

And sometimes that’s what it’s felt like, an expensive hobby. Especially in those early years. Over the past six years, I’ve completed countless courses and programs from some of the biggest ‘gurus’ in the industry, trying to figure out MY plan to make money. Everyone seems to have a different idea or opinion on what it takes to “make it happen”. And I’m slowly realising that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach and each business and person is entirely unique and as such requires a unique approach. I’ve tried several different approaches; some have worked, some haven’t. But with time I guess you could say I’m slowly figuring out the best business model for my personality and services.

I’ve been extremely fortunate that my husband has been able to pick up the slack financially, especially in the beginning, because it certainly takes a long time to develop anything near a ‘sustainable income’. It takes time and a lot of patience to build a sustainable, functional business foundation. And it takes a lot of time and patience to build visibility and a platform of followers interested in your message and your work.

 

There is no quick fix, no overnight solution. It takes a lot of consistent, hard work before you begin to see the fruits of your hard labour.

 

And some days it feels like I’m putting my work out into a vacuum. Those are the days when it’s hard to get motivated. It’s hard going it alone. It’s hard being the sole person responsible for generating income from your business. If you slack off, no money comes in. I’ve read all the promises of the 4-hour work week and ‘passive income’ and while they sound great, it’s much harder to implement in reality.

If you ever get into one of those downward spirals of despair and negativity, here are some tips on how to pull yourself back up and out of it. These are some of the things that help me on a regular basis when I get into a funk.

 

1. Force yourself to step away from the desk and take a short break.

Because any action you take while in that negative frame of mind is not going to be productive or inspired. It’s important to get yourself back into a good frame of mind before attempting to do anything at all. Do whatever it takes to re-center and re-align yourself.

 

2. Get yourself out into nature and do something nourishing for your body, mind or soul.

Get outside into the garden, or go for a walk, or do something uplifting, comforting and nourishing for yourself. If you need some inspiration on how to do that, I wrote about 10 ways to do that in my blog article:
Soul-Care – 10 Ways To Comfort Your Being In Times of Overwhelm.

 

3. Focus on what you love about working for yourself.

Take some time to remember the reasons you decided to work for yourself. Write them down. For example, I remember how much I love the complete freedom and flexibility of my schedule and my pure freedom of creative self-expression. I love the ability I have to work from home, to be there for my kids, and to focus my time on what I want, when I want. What is it that you love about working for yourself? I wrote about mine here: Quitting the Rat Race: 5 Reasons Why You Should Break Free and Follow Your Heart.

 

4. Remember WHY you’re doing it. And get inspired again by your goals.

When you’re in this state of mind, it’s important to reconnect with your PURPOSE – your ‘big why’. I remind myself how much pain I felt when I couldn’t find my professional purpose and joy for the longest time. And I think of all the people who have told me how desperately they want to find their joyful career path and to live a life more aligned with their heart and soul. I take the time to go back and read my Business Inspiration and Vision.  And then I go back to the exciting goals and vision that I set for my year ahead, which I do each year through Quest with Jeffrey Davis at Tracking Wonder.

 

Those days when I just want to give up on my dream of running my own business - and 7 ways I manage to get through them #smallbusiness #resilience #perseverance #grit #whenthegoinggetstough #businessstartup #dontgiveup

5. Re-read some of the positive feedback from your clients and appreciate the areas where you have traction in your business.

Go back and read or simply remember some of the positive things people have said about your work and the impact you’ve made on them. And spend some time appreciating those areas of your business where you ARE experiencing flow, traction and momentum. Find a way to remember that your work matters and that people need and appreciate what you have to offer.

 

6. Remember that you’re making progress, even when you can’t yet see the fruits of your labour.

Building a business requires us to continuously plant seeds and they don’t always germinate when we’d like them to, or sometimes they don’t germinate at all. Some days I can feel disheartened when I feel like I’m not seeing any results of my hard work. But then I experience an unexpected surprise or breakthrough and I’m reminded that progress is ALWAYS being made, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

 

Those days when I just want to give up on my dream of running my own business - and 7 ways I manage to get through them #keepgoing #startup #hanginthere #smallbusiness #resilience #perseverance #grit #whenthegoinggetstough #businessstartup #dontgiveup

7. Don’t give up. You just may be on the verge of making a breakthrough!

No matter how bad your day is feeling, don’t give up. You might be just about to make a touchdown. Keep your thoughts and energy focused on the vision you hold and how good it feels to be living your dream, on your own terms. If you need help staying tuned in to positive energy and the flow of abundance, take a look at my article How to Attract More Abundance & Joy Into Your Life.

And if all else fails, take a day off, go and do something you love and tomorrow is another day. But most importantly, hang in there. The world needs your precious gifts! And if you ever need to reach out for some moral support, I’d love to connect with you. You can reach me at katie@katiedejong.com.

 

 

 

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

 

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
katie@katiedejong.com
www.katiedejong.com

Need help finding your unique professional path and purpose? Get your FREE copy of my E-Book PATHFINDING: HOW TO FIND YOUR UNIQUE PATH AND PURPOSE here.

What is a Virtual Assistant and Why Might You Need One?

What is a Virtual Assistant and Why Might You Need One?

Are you running your own business but finding it hard to find the time to do everything that's needed to keep your business ticking over smoothly? It may be time to hire a VA #virtualassistant #VA #smallbusiness #entrepreneurship #workfromhome #workingfromhome #businessgrowth #business VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

A trusted asset who takes away your frustrations by completing the tasks you don’t want to do, letting you focus on what you love.

 

It can be so hard when you’re starting your own business, or running a ‘side hustle’ alongside your main job, or even trying to stay up to date in the rapidly changing online world. For Gen-X people like me (born 1963 – 1980) or older, it’s particularly challenging since we haven’t grown up with the Internet, Social Media and the Online Business World like the younger generations have.

Proficient ‘digital literacy’ isn’t part of our basic, native skill set, unless we’ve been educated and worked specifically in the IT fields. When I see how easily my 6- and 3-year-old boys navigate an iPad or computer, or how easily a ‘Millennial’ navigates their way through the online world, I realise how much things have changed since I was growing up and how much we’ve had to learn and adapt to stay afloat.

 

There have been so many technological breakthroughs during our short lifetimes

 

… from the emergence of home computers, to fax machines, to E-mail … from ‘floppy discs’ to recordable CDs to USB memory sticks … from record players to tape cassettes (and ‘Walkmans’), to CDs and then to MP3 players … from Analog TV with four channels to cable-TV with 100+ channels … from basic old Radio to ‘online streaming’ … from videocassettes to DVDs and eventually Netflix-like systems. It’s been one continuous stream of technology upgrades that requires constant adaptation to stay ‘up with it’.

 

The very first Apple Mac computer that we had in our home in the ’80s. We felt very modern and ahead of the times!

Still, I was proud that I always adapted well to all the technology changes. I embraced social media in 2007 and was doing fine in my previous career as a Consulting Engineer, mastering all the software and technology systems we used to do our work efficiently.

 

 

I thought I was doing pretty well at keeping up with the times…. Until I started my own business.

 

And then I realised oh how very little I actually knew about anything in the online digital world. Of course one of the first things I had to do was develop my own website, which meant finding a domain provider, a web host, choose a website builder, develop a logo and brand colour scheme, choose an email marketing host (which one?!), build an email list, understand digital marketing, develop digital products for my marketing, make sure my website was SEO-friendly (what’s that?!), choose business management software. People were recommending all kinds of different platforms/scheduling tools/business ‘must-haves’.

 

To say my head was swimming in this sea of endless information would be an understatement. There were times when I just felt like curling up into a ball and retreating back into my old corporate career where none of this stuff was necessary.

 

Are you running your own business but finding it hard to find the time to do everything that's needed to keep your business ticking over smoothly? It may be time to hire a VA #virtualassistant #VA #smallbusiness #entrepreneurship #workfromhome #workingfromhome #businessgrowth #business

I’m usually pretty good at figuring stuff out. But at some stage, I had to admit that I was well and truly LOST. There were two things that helped me navigate through all the noise and FINALLY find my way in this seemingly impossible world of digital information:

1. A great business coach.

2. My Virtual Assistant (VA).

My business coach helped me “see the wood for the trees”, helping me figure out what was important at that stage in my business and to choose systems and strategies that would work for me. We developed a business strategy for my small coaching business. This gave me an enormous boost of clarity and was a big help in moving forward (if you’re stuck, I really highly recommend working with a good business coach).

My business coach often suggested that I start employing a “V.A.” to help me out with all the tasks that were needed to set up and keep things running. When she first said “V.A.” I didn’t have a clue what she was talking about. And when she explained what it meant, I resisted the idea enormously. I was just starting out and hardly making any money, so how could I afford to pay someone to work for me?

 

But it’s the chicken and egg thing.

 

Do you continue spending your time doing things that are well outside of your own ‘zone of genius’, or do you hire someone who’s incredibly savvy in the online world to do these things for you in the blink of an eye? Do you first need to make money before you can pay someone to help you? Or do you need someone to help you before you can start earning money? It’s been my experience that it’s the latter.

A Virtual Assistant is someone who is right on top of everything in the online world. They’ve either been trained or educated in the world of web development, software and/or digital marketing, or they’ve worked in these fields their whole career and so it’s second nature to them. So things that feel hard and clunky for many of us feel very easy and light for them. Their genius is website development, social media engagement, digital marketing and more … all the things that are clearly NOT my genius.

 

And hiring a VA is not as overwhelming or daunting as it might seem.

 

You can initially hire someone for just a couple of hours a month to help you with the most basic tasks you need covering. And as your business grows, you can increase those hours as you need. But it’s certainly been my experience that they can at the very least help you GET THE BALL ROLLING, and once it’s rolling, they can help you keep it rolling smoothly (as possible).

 

So what kind of tasks can a Virtual Assistant do for you?

Here are some examples of what they can do for you:

  • Website changes, web page development, sales pages, website analytics to measure your site’s performance;
  • Set up your online payments or accounting/invoicing systems;
  • SEO-optimisation for your website;
  • Social media graphics, social media scheduling, social media analytics to measure how you’re performing;
  • Email community newsletters, Email broadcasts for particular promotions;
  • Product launches;
  • Blog broadcasting and distribution;
  • Manage your Email inbox,
  • Set up your Client scheduling system, manage your schedule … and more.

Anything you need to have done in the online world, they can do for you.

The biggest challenge I find is in having the courage and foresight to DELEGATE. This has never been a strength of mine, but I’m working on it and it feels so good and so efficient when I manage to do it well.

What have been the BIG POSITIVES I’ve found in working with a Virtual Assistant?

 

  • I learn so much from my V.A. As I work with her I’m learning so much about all the different aspects of online business and my own knowledge and proficiency are increasing exponentially. Just one example is that she taught me everything I need to know about SEO (a concept I ignored for the longest time because I had no clue what it was). It stands for Search Engine Optimisation and it’s just a little bit critical to running a business. Thanks to my V.A., if you now search for keywords related to my business, you’ll actually find me. I hadn’t appreciated how important that is. If people are looking for a service you offer, they need to be able to find you!
  • She allows me to focus on the core elements of my business – i.e. the coaching, writing, and content development – rather than wasting my time doing things that I’m terrible at.
  • She figures out ways to do things that I am just completely stuck with. She saves me time and energy and handles the online things with way more elegance and finesse than I would ever be able to.
  • She has helped me professionalize my online presence and as a result, I feel more professional and can deliver services that are more professional.

It can take some time to find a good VA.

 

It took me some trial and error to find the fantastic V.A. I now work with. I tried a couple of girls in the USA because the whole concept of V.A. is much more widely accepted and implemented over there (relative to Australia where the concept is still emerging). But due to the time zone differences and currency exchange (with the US dollar being significantly stronger than our Australian dollar), it was ineffective and expensive for me.

 

Are you running your own business but finding it hard to find the time to do everything that's needed to keep your business ticking over smoothly? It may be time to hire a VA #virtualassistant #VA #smallbusiness #entrepreneurship #workfromhome #workingfromhome #businessgrowth #business

You may need to try a few different people before you find the right one for you. Sometimes you’ll have a very different working style to your V.A., which can become an obstacle to a good working relationship. But when you find someone who you work well with, hold onto them because they’re worth their weight in gold!

 

With my wonderful V.A’s permission I’m going to share her details with you (very begrudgingly because I don’t actually want to share her with anyone – lol). But she does have some spare capacity at the moment and would be able to help you out if I’ve managed to convince you that you need one!

Her name is Alex Hammett at Lemon and Lime Business Solutions. I couldn’t recommend her more highly so please do reach out to Alex if you need some virtual assistance.

I really hope this insight has helped you and if you’ve been unaware that you can hire a V.A., or if you’ve been sitting on the fence about getting one – please do go ahead and find one as soon as possible. You won’t regret it!

Empowering you to live your brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
katie@katiedejong.com
www.katiedejong.com

The Power of Purpose and How to Thrive in the Emerging Purpose Economy

The Power of Purpose and How to Thrive in the Emerging Purpose Economy

Purposeful people and businesses are set to thrive in the newly emerging Purpose Economy - find out how‘Purpose’ is driving the new economy. Your professional purpose – or BIG WHY – acts like your internal compass that keeps you finding ways to serve and thrive financially, no matter how much instability and upheaval is going on around you.

 

It’s not often that a book comes along that feels like a real game-changer, but that’s exactly how Aaron Hurst’s book THE PURPOSE ECONOMY (Oct, 2016) felt for me recently. His book felt like a welcome confirmation and validation of everything I’ve been observing and witnessing over the past several years, and his ability to clearly articulate what I’ve been sensing for a long time felt so significant that I wanted to share it with you.

You might have seen this happening around you too: People are increasingly craving more MEANING in their work. It’s no longer enough to simply go to work to pay the bills, or to view work as a means to an end. We spend such a large percentage of our waking lives working that more and more people want to ENJOY their work at the very least, but preferably ALSO experience these three things in the workplace too:

1. Authentic self-expression and personal growth;

2. Nurturing relationships and connection with others (community);

3. Engaging work that’s impactful; we want to feel as though our work MATTERS.

The emergence of the Purpose Economy defined and how purposeful people and businesses will be the ones who thriveAnd this is where Hurst’s book comes in: THE PURPOSE ECONOMY – HOW YOUR DESIRE FOR IMPACT, PERSONAL GROWTH AND COMMUNITY IS CHANGING THE WORLD. In his book, Hurst describes how as a human species we’ve evolved through various different economies in the past few thousand years and how this evolution has created the era of PURPOSE that we’re experiencing now. I’ve summarised the evolution of these different economies briefly below.

The Agrarian Economy

Starting out as hunter-gatherers for many thousands of years, we eventually learned how to farm and cultivate the land in ways that allowed us to produce more stable sources of food and to stop moving around. An economy began to develop, centered around our agricultural interests. As the farms grew, so did the first villages and towns. This also marked the beginning of land ownership, social classes and specialised trade. Wealth and freedom were tied to owning the land and the ability to optimise its output.

The Industrial Economy

With the invention of the first commercial steam engine in Britain in 1712, a new wave of industrial innovation was born and the new Industrial Economy emerged in which wealth was tied to the large-scale production of goods and services and value was placed on increasing efficiency. Many industries needed more and more specialised labour and saw education expand to develop the talent needed. As people moved from farms to factories, vocational services were introduced. Modern democracy merged. International trade boomed, connecting cultures around the world. All of this came at enormous cost to the natural world, with widespread pollution and the mass extinction of countless species.

The Information Economy

By the middle of the 20th century, the marketplace was dominated by large corporations and institutions. The bigger the organisations became, the greater their need for improved communication and information systems. In the Information Economy, the commodity of value was information and the ability to develop it and transmit it quickly and efficiently. We’ve been fully immersed in the Information Economy for at least the past 30 years. And we’re now standing on the rising tide of the Purpose Economy.

The Purpose Economy

What is the Purpose Economy?Purposeful business creates value for all stakeholders - not just for the short term profits of a few

As Hurst says: “The Purpose Economy describes the new context and set of ways in which people and organisations are focused on creating value and defines the principle for innovation and growth; the quest for people to find more purpose in their lives. It is an economy in which value lies in establishing purpose for employees and customers.

The emergence of purpose as the new organising principle of our economy is a product of our current moment in time, based on where we stand in history: our current culture, values, education, technological abilities, social organisations, political realities, and the state of our natural environment.”

 

These are the global forces shaping the emerging Purpose Economy:

  • Our increasingly interconnected global community. The Internet has allowed people all across the globe to connect, communicate, and collaborate, independent of our physical location. As a result, we’re collectively more aware of global issues and how our actions impact the world around us.
  • Our evolution upwards in Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Many people around the globe have reached a level of personal fulfillment and now desire to transcend our own needs to prioritise the needs of all society and future generations, seeking more connection and self-actualisation.

 

The Purpose Economy is emerging thanks to our collective evolution up the Abraham Maslow Hierarchy of Human Needs

  • Longevity. The average lifespan in 1796 was 24 years old. Just 100 years later, the same person could live to be 48. And now 100 years later that average has almost doubled again. And given the aging population, we won’t be able to retire at 60 and live off our savings and pension anymore. We’ll be required to work until we’re much older, which means we need to find something that feels purposeful and that we ENJOY doing, or life will get very tedious!
  • Changing families and evolving roles. Both parents in most families now work, and we’re hiring people in record numbers for the jobs highest in purpose – caring for our kids and aging parents. We want to know that our carers feel a sense of meaning and purpose in their work too, since we’re trusting them with our precious people. AND since we’re giving up our precious time with our families to work, we want to know that our work MEANS something and has an impact.
  • Environmental, economic and political turmoil has created great instability, upheaval, and uncertainty worldwide. The pace of change in our lives is ever-accelerating as large institutions and organisations restructure, collapse or merge in order to stay relevant and survive. People are seeing this upheaval and turmoil and desire to do something to help.
  • A rising desire by many to have a positive impact on the world somehow.

All of these factors have caused major changes globally that were magnified by the ‘Great Recession’ in 2008. The global instability has drastically changed the fabric of today’s professional workforce. We no longer have a single employer for our entire career and the average tenure in a company has dropped steeply, with the average employee staying at a single job for a mere 4.5 years today. As Hurst says:

 

“We’re all becoming defacto freelancers, on our own and navigating great uncertainty in every direction. The global shift has placed MEANING AND PURPOSE at the heart of the contemporary workforce. Purpose, rather than career longevity, now provides the stability we need.”

 

In the new Purpose Economy, WIN-WIN SOLUTIONS are the new commodity of value. People increasingly respect companies that provide a product or service that creates a positive net benefit or outcome for other people, nature, and the economy. There is no longer any respect or room for exploitation or selfish aggrandizement.

 

If your business doesn’t create positive value to ALL stakeholders, it won’t survive. There’s a rising need and requirement for businesses to lead the way and show how to not only create a win-win solution but to THRIVE because of it.

 

 

Here’s why I’m personally so passionate about PURPOSE:

Oprah Winfrey's famous quote on finding your life purpose

I quit my corporate career of fifteen years in 2011 to start my own business in a completely new field (career coaching), because no matter how many changes I made or roles I took on in my previous career as an environmental engineer, I just couldn’t find or sustain a real sense of fulfilment, satisfaction or JOY in my work. And my health and relationships suffered terribly as a result. I felt completely lost and off-track. It wasn’t until I made the decision to quit my career to follow something more aligned with my strengths and passion that my health started improving and my life started feeling better and better. Ever since then, I’ve been on a mission to understand why some of us seem to easily find a professional path that we love, while some of us really struggle with it.

Through talking to people, coaching many clients and doing in-depth research on the topic of career satisfaction, it seems that there’s one thing that separates someone who really LOVES their work from someone who feels just “meh” about their work, and that is:

A clearly defined sense of PURPOSE.

Once I was finally able to clearly DEFINE and CLAIM my own unique purpose, everything fell into place and my life took on a whole new level of meaning and joy, both personally and professionally. Over the years I’ve pondered the topic of ‘purpose’ extensively and developed my own definition for it. It reads like this:

Your PURPOSE is the path or vocation that allows you to express yourself fully and to contribute your unique gifts in service to something you care about, while making a positive difference and earning you an abundant, reliable income.

I discuss in detail how to find your joyful and purposeful professional path and purpose in my related blog article: PATHFINDING – HOW TO FIND YOUR PROFESSIONAL PATH & PURPOSE.

In summary, there are four different and very critical components to your purpose, as shown below.

How to find your BIG WHY - how to find your purpose

When you manage to get these four different components working in harmony in your professional life, work feels GOOD and deeply fulfilling.

Last week I came across a beautiful example of a ‘purposeful business’ when I was looking for furniture for our new home. I was so excited and uplifted by this business that I made a short video about it which you can view below. To find out more about this thriving, purposeful business, creating win-win solutions for people, nature and the environment, go to STORIES ON THE WALL.

So how do set yourself up to THRIVE in the new era?

To adequately prepare yourself for the Purpose Economy, it’s essential that you take the time to do some deep self-reflection and take stock of your biggest asset – YOU. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are my particular skills, strengths, and unique abilities and how can I leverage those more fully? #naturalgenius
  • What is my authentic personality and which environments or activities fully support and nurture my authentic self? #truenature
  • What kind of organisation, profession or business idea will allow me to more fully express myself authentically? #authenticselfexpression
  • What do I actually care about enough to want to dedicate my time, energy and resources to it? #passion
  • How can I contribute my unique gifts and talents to something that I care about deeply? #service
  • How can I make a positive difference and make an abundant, reliable income? #financialabundance
  • What is the positive impact I personally want to make and how? #impact
  • What is my unique purpose and my BIG WHY? #purpose

Getting clear on your PURPOSE is an essential step to thriving in our society going forward. If you need help answering any of these questions, be sure to get your copy of my FREE E-Book PATHFINDING – HOW TO FIND YOUR UNIQUE PATH AND PURPOSE.I'm so excited to offer my free Ebook on how to find your unique professional path and purpose

As always, I love hearing from you, so please reach out at any time at katie@katiedejong.com.

In service to helping you live your fullest and brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
www.katiedejong.com
katie@katiedejong.com

Quitting the Rat Race: 5 Reasons to Break Free and Build Your Own Business

Quitting the Rat Race: 5 Reasons to Break Free and Build Your Own Business

If you're sitting on the fence about whether to quit your day job to pursue your heart's calling, these 5 reasons may be just what you need to make the decision to break free and follow your heart #ratrace #quityourdayjob #careerchange #career #careertransition #motivation #followyourdreams #findyourpurpose #purpose #liveyourdreams #dreambelieveachieve #inspirationIf you’re one to keep an eye on the latest trends around the world, it probably hasn’t escaped your attention that there’s a steadily rising number of people quitting the ‘rat race’ to build their own business.

 

The combination of shifting personal priorities and a greater desire for more freedom, flexibility, purpose, and creativity has meant that more and more people are choosing to throw in their stable 9-5 job to pursue their own business, on their own terms. Plus. the increased accessibility of high-speed internet almost everywhere has meant that professionals can easily do business from their laptop, regardless of their location. With this increased access to flexibility and freedom, thanks to the internet, it’s becoming less and less appealing to stay bound to an office desk.

 

Freelancers now make up 35% of the American and Australian workforces, and these numbers steadily are on the rise.

 

And the percentage of freelancers is even higher among the younger workforce. A survey conducted by Upwork and published in The Herald Sun showed that in Australia, “Among workers aged 18 – 24 years old, 47% are freelancing either part-time or full-time, versus 28% of Baby Boomers”. Having grown up in the digital world, it’s natural that young people in the modern era are more flexible, agile, networked, and connected – the perfect ingredients for entrepreneurship and freelancing. It’s interesting to note also that the majority of  older people who chose to start their own business did not do so out of necessity, but by choice (57% of the total), with flexibility, freedom, and improved work-life balance “luring them from the rigid confines of the 38-hour work week.”

I know that when I was growing up, freelancing seemed incredibly risky to me; the responsibility for generating your own income throughout all economic cycles seemed like a far bigger risk than I was willing to take. However, independent workforce surveys such as the UpWork survey in the USA show that freelancers are now, in fact, earning more relative to their old jobs. Among respondents in the UpWork survey, more than half are earning more than they did getting a steady paycheck in their former job. A total of 46% were able to successfully raise their rates in the past year.

 

Fifty-three percent of freelancers believe that having a diverse portfolio of clients is more economically secure than having one employer. Times are changing indeed.

 

 

If you're sitting on the fence about whether to quit your day job to pursue your heart's calling, these 5 reasons may be just what you need to make the decision to break free and follow your heart #ratrace #quityourdayjob #careerchange #career #careertransition #motivation #followyourdreams #findyourpurpose #purpose #liveyourdreams #dreambelieveachieve #inspirationBut if you’re sitting on the fence about whether to finally answer that little voice that’s nudging you to quit your day job to pursue something closer to your heart, I understand from personal experience how hard it is to make that decision. Deciding to leave a stable career path and reliable salary for an unknown outcome, no matter how exciting or appealing the idea, is absolutely not an easy decision to make to. And it’s not one that I made lightly myself. It wasn’t until I started suffering from severe chronic health issues that I was finally forced to change direction (you can read my full story here).

And even when all the signs were pointing to the fact that I needed to branch out on my own, it was still an absolutely terrifying thought; I had a lot of fear and insecurity to overcome before I was able to consider the idea of becoming a ‘business owner’ seriously.

But since taking the leap of faith to start my own business, I haven’t looked back. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life, for the reasons I’m about to share with you. Of course, it hasn’t always been easy.

 

Starting your own business is not for the faint-hearted. It requires enormous amounts of resilience, grit, perseverance, and most of all, belief in yourself. But the rewards more than outweigh the sweat and tears you put in.

 

There are days when it all feels too hard and I want to give up on my dream (as I write about in my article Those Days When I Want to Give Up On My Dream – And 7 Ways I Manage to Get Through Them). But they’re happening less frequently as I establish more reliable structures, systems, and approaches that allow me to earn a more reliable and predictable income. Establishing yourself successfully in your own business won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. As long as you approach it with a practical, low-risk strategy and get advice from those who have gone before you, you’ll find a way to make it happen.

 

Here are 5 big reasons why you should break free and start your own business.

 

1. You’ll Enjoy Greater Freedom and Flexibility

If you’re tired of the groundhog days of alarm clocks, rushing and commuting, then you’ll love being your own boss. No more forcing yourself into the office early in the morning no matter how late you stayed up the night before, or the complete lack of free time to do the things that sustain and nourish you. As your own boss, you can work according to your own schedule and work with the natural rhythms of your body clock and creative impulses. I love that I can now take time off when I need to and catch up on my work in the evening if I have to. Freedom and flexibility have become especially important to me since becoming a mother to our two young children.

Yes, you’ll need to have robust self-discipline and sufficient structure in your days to force you to be productive and be able to enjoy the traction and momentum you need in your business. But when you’re doing something you love, it’s not hard to find the motivation to get onto your work.

 

It’s been my experience that structure and routine are your best allies as a small business owner. The good part is, you get to decide on the business structure and routine that suits you.

 

2. You Can Do Things on Your Own Terms

If you’re someone who finds it hard to be micro-managed or to follow someone else’s ideas (especially if you don’t agree with them), then you’ll love being your own boss. In the great article “Why entrepreneurs choose freedom over money”, they conclude:

“Despite the fact that people who work for themselves often work more, have fewer benefits and experience more on-the-job stress than those who work in a company, the majority of Americans would prefer to be entrepreneurs. Our research shows that entrepreneurs are more satisfied with their jobs – and happier in general. Workplace autonomy is a powerful motivator.”

 

3. You’ll Experience More Fun and Pleasure in Your Work

I really needed to pinch myself the first time I received money for my coaching services; it seemed such a gift to be paid for something I found so enjoyable and enriching. Doing something you love really is the biggest gift you can give yourself. Plus, entrepreneurs are a fun bunch of people! It continues to amaze and inspire me to see how much entrepreneurs seem to enjoy their work. One of my favourite mentors Jeanna Gabellini always says:

 

“If it ain’t fun, don’t do it!”
– Jeanna Gabellini

 

A central part of Jeanna’s work and message is teaching people how to harness the Law of Attraction in their business to attract more profits and abundance, and having fun is an essential part! This was something that took me a long time to get used to. I was used to having to work hard and to ‘struggle’ at work; I’d come to accept that work is a necessary evil to pay the bills and to get ahead in the world. It feels so great to now to actually have fun in my work each and every day.

 

If you're sitting on the fence about whether to quit your day job to pursue your heart's calling, these 5 reasons may be just what you need to make the decision to break free and follow your heart #ratrace #quityourdayjob #careerchange #career #careertransition #motivation #followyourdreams #findyourpurpose #purpose #liveyourdreams #dreambelieveachieve #inspiration4. You Get to Fully Express Your Unique Gifts and Talents

You have your own unique zone of ‘natural genius’ – the things that you’re naturally good at without even trying. During my corporate career, I think I was operating in my own zone of natural genius only about 20% of the time. The rest of the time I was doing things that weren’t aligned with my natural strengths and didn’t feel joyful. I know that every career includes tasks and activities that we like and many task and activities that we don’t like. But when you’re working in a way that allows you to fully express the gifts you do have, somehow the other parts don’t feel so onerous or annoying – they’re in service to the beautiful thing you’re creating through your business.

 

 

5. You Get to See the Direct Results of Your Efforts and Enjoy Making a Positive Difference

Do you often wonder whether your daily work is having any impact? In my former career I spent countless hours writing Business Cases, proposals and strategic plans that were often shelved, delayed due to lack of funding, or often dismissed because it was “not the way we’ve always done things”. And while I was part of some important breakthroughs during my career, I wanted to spend less time justifying and defending my ideas and more time just getting on and doing them.

When you work for yourself, you can pitch your idea and philosophy clearly and those who resonate with your vision – and need exactly what you’re offering – can respond. And then you can get on with the task of serving those people directly and effectively. I believe the more people who embrace their yearning to make a difference and put themselves out there to start serving in their own unique way, the faster we’ll see things improve in the world.

 

Are you ready to leave your day job to start your own business?

 

If you’re at the point of wondering whether you should leave your career behind to pursue something closer to your heart, Helena Klein suggests asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you have to justify your job to yourself and others?
    Do you find yourself saying your work is actually ‘not that bad’, when in reality you know there must be a more joyful and fulfilling way to spend your working days?
  • Is your work giving you energy or draining you of it?
    Is there at least one part of your work that you look forward to each day? If there’s no part of your work that truly excites you, it’s time to make some changes.
  • Is there anybody I work with whose life I would like to have?
    If you don’t see any positive role models at work to look up to and who have the kind of life you want, then why are you there? There is no use in working your way up to a job that you don’t want to have.
  • Do you feel inspired by your work?
    Are you able to think freely, out of the box? Or do you feel trapped and patronized? If you spend too much time completing other people’s tasks, ignoring your own thoughts, or withholding your talent from the world, then it’s time to think seriously about change.
  • Last but not least: is my work in line with my personal values?
    If the things you’re doing at work don’t feel good to you, this is a big warning sign. You should feel proud of what you do and feel good about yourself when you do it.

 

As Farnoosh Ahram says:

“If you want to venture out on your own, pursue a call to greatness and live a meaningful life on your own terms, do it. Do not wait for permission. Do not wait for acceptance or validation. Do.Not.Wait, my friend. Because time is the one thing that you cannot buy back with all the gold and power in the world.”

 

Do you yearn to discover your unique path and purpose and to thrive financially, while doing work you love? Then get yourself a FREE copy of my E-Book PATHFINDING: How to Find Your Unique Path and Purpose and learn how to build a career that unites your true nature, your passion and your natural genius into work that is a full expression of yourself, allowing you to get your unique and valuable gifts into the world in a way that is FUN and deeply fulfilling!

If you're sitting on the fence about whether to quit your day job to pursue your heart's calling, these 5 reasons may be just what you need to make the decision to break free and follow your heart #ratrace #quityourdayjob #careerchange #career #careertransition #motivation #followyourdreams #findyourpurpose #purpose #liveyourdreams #dreambelieveachieve #inspiration

In service to helping you live your fullest and brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
katie@katiedejong.com
www.katiedejong.com
The Art of Dreaming Big: How to Harness Your Imagination and The Law of Attraction to Create What You Want

The Art of Dreaming Big: How to Harness Your Imagination and The Law of Attraction to Create What You Want

There is a definite 'art' to being able to dream big. From a young age you're taught not to dream too big and not to want too much. But the only obstacles to achieving what you 'truly' want are the ones in your mind #lawofattraction #dreambig #dreambelieveachieve #imagination #manifesting #manifestation #motivation #inspiration #inspirationalquotes #motivationalquotesI recently experienced first-hand how the magic of the Law of Attraction can work in our lives.

 

I recently completed a fantastic course for entrepreneurs and business owners called ‘Profit Quest’ by Jeanna Gabellini at Masterpeace Coaching. Her tagline that drew me into the course was:

“Double your profits, double your fun!”

When I first saw her promotions I thought “Wow, that’s a big call.” Can I really double my profits and double my fun in my small coaching business by the end of her course? I enrolled in her course to find out and lo and behold – it appears her system really works.

 

It’s powerful and yet it’s so simple. And it’s based on the Law of Attraction.

 

Do you remember the big ‘hoo-ha’ surrounding the movie “The Secret” when it came out all those years ago? That movie was all about the Law of Attraction. I really liked the message in the movie, but at the time I thought it was also a bit simplistic and materialistic, telling people they could have whatever house or car they desire if they could just imagine having it. But I’ve since realized that there’s much more to the Law of Attraction.

 

The Law of Attraction teaches you how to be a co-creator in your own life – to align yourself with a vision you love and then allow it to unfold.

 

The Law of Attraction is basically this: Like attracts like. So within, so without.

 

When you imagine having, being or doing something you care about deeply, something that feels joyful and exciting, you create an energetic ‘blueprint’ for what you desire. When you step back and surrender, and (importantly) believe that you can and will have the thing you desire, then quite miraculously, what you desire starts turning up in your life somehow. Not always straight away (although sometimes it does!); but the steps to reach it will start appearing. You’ll start getting intuitive insights into what you need to do. Suddenly you’ll meet the right person, or you’ll find the perfect resource to help you take the next steps.

The key is to let your imagination run wild and to feel into what you would really, really like to manifest in your life. And here is the catch – most of us are so trained into thinking a certain way; we have so many beliefs about what we think we can and can’t have. And when we focus on what we would really love to create in our life, we come up against all the internal, negative programming that tells us we can’t have that.

 

We’re not trained to dream big. In fact, most of us have been taught to keep our dreams small.

 

There is an art to being able to dream big. From a young age you're taught not to dream too big and not to want too much. But the only obstacles to achieving what you 'truly' want are the ones in your mind #lawofattraction #dreambig #dreambelieveachieve #imagination #manifesting #manifestation #motivation #inspiration #inspirationalquotes #motivationalquotesOne of the tasks we had to do early in the Profit Quest course was to define exactly how much money we would love to make by the end of the year, if everything in our business suddenly started aligning and flowing. This was quite difficult to do. At first my head took over and I wrote down a number that I thought I could realistically achieve. That number, however, is not a number that got me excited or inspired. We were asked to write down the dollar amount that would make us feel super excited – not a number too far out of our league that it feels impossible and overwhelming (hence leading to disappointment and fear of failure), but a number that feels like a big stretch, but also feels energizing and exciting.

So I wrote down a number that felt super exciting. At the time I wrote it down, I didn’t actually believe that I could make that much money, but I thought it would be cool if I did!

When we allow ourselves to think big like that, all of a sudden things start showing up that align with that vision. I’ve only been doing this for around 6 weeks now, but since doing it I’ve experienced major positive growth in my business, all because I’ve managed to make big shifts in my internal mindset around what is possible for me, my business and my clients.

Jeanna makes a journal available called her Speed Dial the Universe (both digitally as an App and in hard copy), and it’s been an incredibly powerful tool for me. It’s a daily reminder to dream big and to set your internal compass towards allowing miracles to manifest in your life. I was skeptical at first, but my experience with it has shown that it really does work. The journal is a fun way to start your day because it focuses your mind, body, and soul on positive outcomes that you desire in your life.

 

Here’s How The Law of Attraction Works

Manifestation  =   Clear Desire  +  Surrender  +  Belief  +  Gratitude 

How to activate the Law of Attraction to create more of what you want #LOA #lawofattraction #abundance #create #dreambelieveachieve #thepowerofthemind #scienceandspirituality #liveyourdreams #dreams

 

First, you need to be able to dream big and set a big, clear intention about what you want to create.

 

There is a definite 'art' to being able to dream big. From a young age you're taught not to dream too big and not to want too much. But the only obstacles to achieving what you 'truly' want are the ones in your mind #lawofattraction #dreambig #dreambelieveachieve #imagination #manifesting #manifestation #motivation #inspiration #inspirationalquotes #motivationalquotes

This isn’t easy when we first start out. Our internal beliefs put all kinds of limits on what we think is possible. But you can strengthen this ‘muscle’ and over time, if you commit to doing this practice daily, you will find that you’re able to allow yourself to dream bigger and bigger. And when you start seeing the signs and small steps of what you desire appearing in your life, it’s so much fun!

The other important ingredient is surrender. You have to set your clear intention and then let go. This part can be really hard! We’re so used to controlling everything we want to create in our lives. However, without surrender, you can’t be in a receptive state and be open to receive the insight and wisdom that’s trying to be transmitted to you.

And finally, belief. This is very intertwined with surrender and can be difficult. With many things that I write down in my journal, at the start I’m not sure I actually believe I can have those things. But I’m willing to write them down. And with this simple act, it opens the floodgates for possibility, belief, and optimism to flow in. And this allows us to start behaving as if we already have the thing we desire. This in itself opens the doors to miracles.

 

So when you start acting as though you already are someone who has the things you desire, you become a ‘vibrational match’ to the things you want, and you start attracting those things into your life.

 

When you have a clear intention, you start calling it forth. I’ve experienced profound internal shifts since using the Speed Dial the Universe journal each day. I haven’t doubled my profits yet, but I’ve definitely doubled my fun and I finally have real clarity and inspiration about exactly how I can double my profits too. And I can’t wait to implement them as they feel energizing, authentic and magnetic. I’m receiving insight and guidance each day and the next steps seem to be appearing effortlessly on my path. I feel excited, clear and optimistic. And I know my course colleagues have all experienced similar internal shifts that are helping them create a very real and clear roadmap to live the life they love.

There is a definite 'art' to being able to dream big. From a young age you're taught not to dream too big and not to want too much. But the only obstacles to achieving what you 'truly' want are the ones in your mind #lawofattraction #dreambig #dreambelieveachieve #imagination #manifesting #manifestation #motivation #inspiration #inspirationalquotes #motivationalquotesFeel like giving it a try? Start dreaming big, focus daily on the things that you would really love to create in your life and then sit back and enjoy the ride. And let me know if anything shifts for you. As always I would love to hear from you!

To read more about The Law of Attraction and how to apply it in your life, take a look at my two recent blog posts:

HOW TO CREATE MORE OF WHAT YOU WANT USING THE LAW OF ATTRACTION – PART 1

HOW TO CREATE MORE OF WHAT YOU WANT USING THE LAW OF ATTRACTION – PART 2

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
katie@katiedejong.com
www.katiedejong.com
QUEST 2017: A Profound Approach to Plan an Impactful Year Ahead

QUEST 2017: A Profound Approach to Plan an Impactful Year Ahead

For the first time ever, this year I joined an inspiring group of wide-minded, visionary entrepreneurs in Jeffrey Davis’ Quest 2017: 12 Principles to do Business as Unusual – a powerful approach to planning the year ahead that involves weekly writing prompts to invoke “a possibility mindset, provocative points of view, deep reflection and a healthy dose of wonder”.

The group shares their thoughts and ideas in a Facebook forum that provides the container for everyone to share what kind of possibility 2017 could hold for each of us. As Jeffrey says “Together, we’ll seek meaning, integrity and impact in life and career while remembering that Do It Together (DIT) beats Do It Yourself (DIY)”. This is an open, free forum that you can join too if you’re looking for a thought-provoking and creative way to plan your year. The QUEST2017 group process is finished for now, but you can still use the writing prompts in this blog to reflect on your own journey. I decided to share the process with you here for two reasons: 1) To share my reflections, hopes and aspirations with you for the year ahead, and 2) To help you reflect and ponder your own plans and ideas, in the hope that it helps you align your own heart, body, mind and soul. This is a long blog post with 12 short essays so I don’t expect you’ll have the time to read through all of it! But please feel free to scroll through and jump to the sub-headings that feel relevant for you. Below are the 12 different writing prompts from 12 different visionaries, plus my responses.

THEME 1 – INNER YOU

Writing prompt #1: Your True Calling

The first writing prompt has been contributed by Krista Tippett (@kristatippett). Krista is an American journalist, author, and entrepreneur. She created and hosts the public radio program and podcast On Being. In 2014, Tippett was awarded the National Humanities Medal by U.S. President Barack Obama. Krista asks:

What is your vocation, your sense of calling as a human being at this point in your life, both in and beyond job and title?” #YourTrueCalling

  This happens to be an easy one for me to answer right now because the question has been a central theme in my life for as long as I can remember. They say that what we’ve struggled with most in life is often the very thing that we’re called to do as our vocation. And interestingly enough, the one thing I’ve struggled with most in my life is having a clear sense of what my true calling is. And I’m quite clear in my heart now that helping others find their true calling is my true calling. To me, your true calling is something that makes you feel completely aligned in body, mind and spirit. It allows you to unleash and fully develop your very specific and unique gifts in a way that feels joyful, uplifting and energising and allows you to contribute your gifts in service to something larger than yourself. I believe we each have unique and valuable gifts that the world needs and that we each have a specific calling that we’re uniquely designed for. I’ve come to believe that your true calling is the alchemic ‘sweet spot’ where your true nature (your authentic self), your natural genius (your natural strengths and talents) and your passion (what you care about deeply) intersect. Walking the path of your true calling allows you to become more and more of who you are (a process of unfolding), while giving your gifts in service to something that the world needs.

“Our purpose in life is to become the fullest expression of ourselves” – Kate Northrup

We start walking our true path when we commit to following what feels light and easy and joyful (I agree completely with fellow Quester Paula Trucks-Pape on this concept). And as another one of our fellow Questers Ginny Lee Taylor quoted, your true calling is:

“… Where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” – Frederick Buechner

  I now dedicate my business to helping people uncover their true calling through a process that’s designed to find their own sweet spot where natural ability meets passion and joy. If we’re doing something for the money or success or image, it isn’t our true calling. If we’re doing something for the job security and to play it safe, it isn’t our true calling. Sure, we may have to do these things as intermediate steps on the way to our true calling, but I believe it is our intention that defines whether it’s our true calling or not. If our intention is to serve the world somehow through our unique abilities, then we’re living our true calling. The calling itself may take on various forms and outwardly appearances along the way, but if we stay committed to developing and expressing our natural genius in service to something we care about, we’re on the path of our true calling. I know firsthand how soul-destroying it can be to feel completely out of alignment with our true calling and to ignore what wants to be expressed through us. I’ve felt a deep call to do something meaningful with my life for as long as I can remember. There was a distinct moment when I was seventeen years old as an exchange student in rural Paraguay, South America, standing on the banks of a local river looking out at people bathing in the polluted water that was just downstream from a major cement factory. I felt called to do something about situations like this where people and nature suffer from the effects of heavy industry. And that’s what I ended up doing for almost fifteen years, working as a process engineer designing wastewater treatment plants that clean up polluted water before it’s discharged back into the environment. It felt good to be doing something to keep our environment and waterways clean. For years I was a strong advocate of sustainable planning and strategy. But even though it felt good to be doing something positive and to work on interesting, challenging and rewarding projects, internally I felt empty and frustrated and a continuous, nagging feeling that there was something else I was ‘meant’ to be doing. If I’m completely honest, I pursued science and engineering to please my parents who thought that engineering would give me lifelong job security and opportunities (which is true). But I most definitely wasn’t operating in my zone of natural genius, or in my zone of joy or true passion. I knew I had gifts to give that were completely untapped. My gifts are in languages, writing, teaching and connecting with people. For years I struggled on in different roles as an engineer, always hoping that the next role would give me the fulfillment and satisfaction I was seeking. But it never did. Eventually, this stifling of my natural talents and heart’s desires turned into very real physical effects. I developed what the medical world could only describe as ‘chronic fatigue’. I battled constantly with lingering illnesses and viruses, combined with continuous, overwhelming fatigue. I kept going to work during this period, but every day felt like a living hell. I can now see clearly that the illness was a ‘soul crisis’ and my body’s way of telling me that I was completely out of alignment. But it took me almost ten years to finally accept that I had to stop living my life to please others and to finally find out what it means to please myself. I had to go through a process of shedding everything that I’m not, and to instead embrace everything that I am, in order to ‘find’ my true calling. Interestingly enough, after years and years of seeing different therapists, medical professionals and natural healers (with little to no effect), my health made a sudden turnaround on the day I decided to quit my corporate engineering job of almost fifteen years to focus on things closer to my heart. I gave myself permission to give up the struggle and striving and committed to doing only what feels joyful and uplifting. And every day after that my health and energy improved. Today I feel so blessed to experience ongoing health and vitality. And I’m convinced that it’s because I chose to finally listen to my heart and give myself permission to be me. If it feels at all relevant for you, feel free to get a copy of my free E-Book Pathfinding: How to find and start living that special calling that you are uniquely designed for, where I discuss this topic of finding your true calling in depth. Helping you find your true calling really is my true passion!

Writing prompt #2: Do I love myself enough to stop working on myself?

  The second writing prompt comes from Susan Piver (@spiver), a New York Times bestselling author, a meditation teacher and renowned speaker. She is the author of eight books, including How Not Be Afraid of Your Own Life. Susan’s mission is to teach everyone to slow down, soften our hearts, sharpen our minds and create a life of fearlessness and authenticity. Susan asks:

“Do you love yourself enough to stop working on yourself yet? Who would you be in that case?” #LoveYourself

My immediate response to the question “Do you love yourself enough to stop working on yourself yet?” was – No. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to answer that question in the affirmative, although after reflecting on this question these past few days I’ll definitely strive to. Here’s a picture of my bedside table today.   It pretty much always looks like this, the titles of the books just shift and change over time. But they’re almost always on topics of personal and spiritual growth, psychology or social entrepreneurship. I’m a life coach by profession, so it’s hard to know how much of my reading is to stay informed and abreast of the latest developments in my field and how much is my desire to improve and ‘fix’ myself (because I don’t love myself enough to stop working on myself yet?). But I find this question intriguing and through-provoking and I’m grateful to Susan Piver for asking it. I feel such an ongoing hunger for knowledge in the area of personal growth, and despite how many times I’ve told myself to take a break and read something different for a change, I always end up getting bored and reverting back to whichever self-improvement book I was reading. So am I constantly reading because I don’t love myself enough to stop working on myself yet? Or am I doing it to better serve my clients? I think both. And because it feels like my calling. In my response to the first Quest 2017 prompt #YourTrueCalling I explained how my true calling happens to be helping others find their true calling. And funnily enough, the one big issue that gets in the way of people having the courage to follow their true calling is SELF-LOVE. We all know the inner critic dialogue that says “I can’t do that, I’m not smart enough” or “I couldn’t run my own business, I’m not savvy enough” or whatever line it is that comes up when you try to justify to yourself why you can’t make the transition to making your JOY your full-time job. “I can’t/couldn’t …. [insert what your heart really wants to do] because I’m not … [insert limiting beliefs and negative judgments about yourself]”. A big part of my work is helping my clients work through their own inner barriers to authentic self-confidence and self-worth (= self-love), just as I struggle continuously with this myself (we’re all human after all). We’ve all built up so many excuses and reasons for why we can’t and won’t commit to pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone and into the zone of uncertainty and fear – where the magic happens! – to follow our true calling. And why? Because we think we’re not good enough and can’t make it happen. Because we don’t believe in ourselves enough. And perhaps because we don’t love ourselves enough to do whatever it takes to make ourselves blissfully happy…? Don’t we think we deserve this and nothing less? We were all born as pure, unconditional love, before we started getting bombarded with negative judgments and criticism from our environment. Panache Desai calls our original pure love essence the ‘liquid gold’ that’s inside each and every one of us. And he refers to it as gold because it can take time to excavate and dig through the layers of emotional scarring that we’ve built up around it to protect ourselves from the pain in the world. If we want to fully love ourselves, the opinion in the psychology/healing world has been that we need to peel back the layers of the emotional onion, layer by layer, with the help of a therapist, counsellor or healer, to heal them and to rediscover our original, undamaged inner child who knew only love. Or do we? Could we just make a conscious decision right now to love ourselves anyway, emotional scarring, warts, imperfections, flaws and all? I guess that’s the whole purpose of Susan Piver’s question “Who would you be if you loved yourself enough to stop working on yourself?”. Perhaps we’re fine and worthy of 100% self-love right now, as imperfect as we are. What if there’s nothing to learn, do, or fix or improve? Who would I be then? Hmmm. Good question. Could I stop working on myself and love myself anyway? Could I stop bombarding my clients with techniques and tools for removing emotional barriers and instead just mirror back to them the unconditional, pure love that is within them already? Is it my true calling to reflect back to others the liquid gold that is already theirs? Interestingly enough, I had similar thoughts recently when I realized that everything boils down to being able to love ourselves in the midst of all our imperfections. I wrote about this recently in my article Radical Self-Love & Acceptance: Could this be our one true purpose in life? But back to Susan’s question. Who would I be if I loved myself enough to stop working on myself? I would be free. I would be relieved. I would be relaxed. I would be at peace. I would love and be loved, fully, unconditionally. I would be secure in the knowledge that I have arrived, and there’s nowhere to go. I would be someone who feels so at peace in my own skin and in my own heart that I naturally exude peace and love to all those I come into contact with. A kind of Dalai Lama. Is that possible? I don’t know. But I’m sure as hell willing to give it a try. Thank you Susan for your beautiful question. I can see now. This is it. This is what we’re all being called to do. To love ourselves unconditionally just as we are, right now, right where we are. In our all imperfection and total perfection.

Writing prompt #3: Where will I be brave enough to bring forth even more of myself this year?

The third writing prompt comes from Kristen Noel at Best Self Media (@BestSelf_Media). Kristen is a writer, speaker, motivator and Editor-In-Chief of Best Self Magazine, the leading voice for holistic health and authentic living. Kristen asks:

Where are you going to go deeper this year, where can you be brave enough to bring forth even more of yourself — to infuse your work, creativity and business with that which is uniquely YOU, thus inspiring others to do more of the same? What could that look like in 2017 for you? #BringYouForward

Hmm. Another good question, thank you Kristen. I guess this brings me to the first question – who am I if I’m being uniquely ME? I believe the keys to our uniqueness lie in who we were as a child, before we became conditioned by our environment. So I started looking there. My uniqueness #1 – An ability to embrace the paradox of life The first thing that comes to mind is that I’m quite a person of paradox. My brother Cam who’s 14 years younger than me always saw this quite clearly. He used to call me a ‘square on the edge’, which I thought was hilarious (once I could get past the square part). When he was young he observed me as a teen and young adult and he saw someone who worked hard, studied hard and got good grades, but who also loved to party hard, rebel and push the boundaries. My mother used to say that I didn’t just burn the candle at both ends, but that I “snapped the candle in two and burnt all four ends”. When people asked me how I did it all I would reply, “I don’t sleep much, I’ll sleep when I’m dead” (thanks Bon Jovi). As I’ve grown older I’ve been forced to find a more appropriate middle road, because living that way is not sustainable (obviously). But I still walk the tightrope between the polarities of my character. I love yoga and meditation and reading books on Buddhism and spirituality, but I also love to drink gin and rock out to Led Zeppelin or AC/DC. I love going for slow, peaceful hikes in nature but I also love to compete in high-energy triathlons. I love drinking my hot lemon juice and green smoothie every morning, but I also love to eat hot chips and drink beer on occasion. I’m a responsible Mum to two young boys and a focused and disciplined small business owner, but I also love to goof around, be silly and dance to Hi-5 with my boys.

“We cannot run from paradoxes; we can only embrace them and become one with them. For, in reality, the apparent opposites are two sides of the same coin that are meant to reside in harmony” –Patricia Spadaro

How will I use this quality to infuse my work, creativity and business this year to inspire others? In reflecting on this question, it strikes me that the ability to embrace seemingly contradictory behaviours can actually be beneficial for all of us. It’s about balancing out all the different aspects of ourselves. By giving ourselves permission to embrace all the crazy impulses we feel, we start expressing ourselves more fully and feel more alive as a result. This year I’m going to commit to embracing my paradox even more. And I’m going to encourage my clients to give themselves permission to feel all the unique impulses they have and to find ways to act on them. This seems to me a fun and enjoyable road to authentic and full self-expression. And since my calling is to help others express themselves fully through their work and life calling, this is probably an essential component that I hadn’t thought of until now! (thank you, Kristen) . My uniqueness #2 – A (latent) ability to speak my mind freely As a child I was always very forthright with my opinions. My mother tells me that she always knew exactly where she stood with me. But growing up, I was constantly told by my family that I would end up having no friends if I didn’t learn to keep my thoughts to myself and be ‘nice’. So I learned to temper my opinions and say only what I thought people wanted to hear. I learned the hard way that others don’t always value what you think and that true authenticity and honesty is an opinion that’s tempered with maturity and compassion for the other person’s perspective. Otherwise you’re just being obnoxious and small-minded. But over the years I’ve swung completely the opposite way and it’s now a major challenge for me to speak my mind freely and to put my opinions out there, for fear of upsetting someone. I’ve developed a hyper-alert sensitivity for knowing when I could upset someone and to keep my thoughts to myself. But given the challenges we’re facing as a global community right now, I don’t think we have the luxury anymore of beating around the bush. I need to develop the courage to voice my opinion and withstand the inevitable controversy and discomfort this brings, and hopefully inspire others to do the same in the process. I’m going to shift my focus from wondering how I might offend someone, to how I can say the right thing to inspire and motivate someone towards positive action, even if I risk receiving negative feedback. I have to assume that the number of people I will help will be greater than those I might offend. My uniqueness #3 – An ability to see and hear others It’s really important to me that the people I’m with feel heard and seen. If I’m in a group I want to make sure no one feels left out. I like to really seepeople and to appreciate the unique qualities, abilities and perspective they bring. I’ve been fortunate to live more than half of my adult life overseas in different countries on four different continents and this has given me a deep appreciation of different perspectives and the huge challenges that people face around the world. It’s helped me see that at the end of the day, no matter what our background, history or culture, we all want the same things – to feel secure, to belong, to feel valued, to be appreciated and to be happy. This is my true desire for everyone. Where will I be brave enough to bring forth more of this quality this year? I feel committed this year to take an even stronger stand to connect people with each other (to nurture a greater sense of belonging for people) and to really see and hear the people I connect with. I will make a commitment to ask and listen, rather than teach and talk. My pledge for 2017 This year I commit to bringing even more of myself forth into my work, creativity and business with that which is uniquely ME, by focusing on these key areas:

  1. Embrace and nurture the paradox in myself and others.
  2. Speak my mind more freely with the intention to inspire and motivate.
  3. Nurture connection and belonging. Ask and listen.

Thank you taking the time to read my thoughts. I’m so excited to dive into the next writing prompts to plan the year ahead with possibility and wonder!

THEME 2 – ENGAGE

Writing prompt #4: How will I use my power as a force for good in 2017?

Today’s writing prompt comes from the visionary psychologist Dacher Keltner at the Greater Good Science Centre (University of California, Berkeley). Dacher asks:

“In your work life, your personal life, and in your community, how will you use power as a force for good, and empower those around you in specific acts that make up your day?” #PowerforGood

At first glance I found this a difficult question to answer, given that I haven’t had a particularly broad sense of the word ‘power’ until I decided to download Dacher’s highly revered book The Power Paradox. I was immediately glad that I did. This is a man who speaks to my heart and who believes that each and every one of us has the potential to be a force for good in the communities and networks we move in. I love how he defines power: “Power is the medium through which we relate to one another. Power is about making a difference in the world by influencing others.” Keltner has a beautiful way of describing this concept further: “Power is not something limited to rare individuals in dramatic moments of their highly visible lives – to malevolent dictators, high-profile politicians, or the jet-setting rich and famous; nor does it exist solely in boardrooms, on battlefields, or on the U.S. Senate floor. Instead, power defines the waking life of every human being. It is found not only in extraordinary acts but also in quotidian acts, indeed in every interaction and every relationship, be it in attempt to get a two-year-old to eat green vegetables or to inspire a stubborn colleague to do her best work.” Given that I’m a mother to two young boys, much of my ‘power’ these days is indeed in getting children to eat green vegetables. I found Keltner’s description refreshing and uplifting, reminding me that power is indeed not limited to how we conduct ourselves in business, but how we operate as a person in every aspect in our lives. In his enlightening book, he defines four ‘social practices’ that constitute powerful, positively influential leadership: empathising, giving, expressing gratitude, and telling stories. He suggests that each of these practices “dignify and delight others… They constitute the basis of strong, mutually empowered ties. You can lean on them to enhance your power at any moment of the day by stirring others to effective action”. So, to answer this writing prompt, I decided to address how I’m going to implement these four practices in my work life, my personal life and my community. Empathising: Like many creatives, I have a natural ability to empathise and I’ve spent much of my adult life trying to figure out where the other person stops and where I begin, so that I can untangle myself from the emotional problems of others and give back what is not mine to carry. Learning to turn down the dial on my empathy register has been a challenge for me and to move from being a ‘fixer’ and ‘saver’ into someone who has healthy, strong boundaries, while still maintaining my ability to empathise. I spend a significant amount of each day empathising with my sons and my husband and the issues they’re dealing with, as well as with my coaching clients where I act as an empathetic sounding board for the challenges they’re working through. However, in terms of using empathy in service to ‘power’ more effectively, I could be more empathetic in my networks and social communities by asking more questions and listening to the answers, as opposed to focusing only on giving and teaching. People like to know they’re being seen and heard, and I can definitely pay more attention to seeing and hearing those in my social networks in 2017, and showing genuine empathy for the challenges they’re dealing with. Giving: Again, giving is a natural part of your profile as a mother and wife. It seems that most of our day is spent in giving our time, attention and focus to people other than ourselves. However, I can definitely focus on giving more to my clients this year in terms of excellent service, providing more free resources and helpful information to support them on their journey. The same goes for my social media networks. After reading Dacher Keltner’s book, I believe that a subtle shift in focus from ‘marketing’ with an agenda of giving to receive, to plain and simple ‘giving’ will help me grow my social outreach more organically, with more authentic and genuine impact. Expressing gratitude: While gratitude has been a focus of mine for a few years now, this is definitely something I can always do more of. I can extend heartfelt gratitude to those people already within my networks and in my community, because without them, I have no ability to have any ‘power’ or ability to influence others. I can express more gratitude to my family and friends because they are my support, my nourishment, my everything. And I can especially extend more gratitude to my clients, because without them, I have no ability to build my business, to develop my gifts, to live my true calling or to affect any kind of positive change. Telling stories: I love this one. I really believe that stories are how we connect to each other. It’s through sharing our stories that we connect authentically, share our humanity, our vulnerability and our strength. And most importantly, stories help us know that we’re not alone in our humanly struggles and triumphs. I’ve written about the Power of Story in a recent blog post. Until now I haven’t thought of telling stories as an effective ingredient of leadership, but I can see how it is. Leadership is all about creating connection and a sense of camaraderie around a common cause. I will strive this year to use story – both telling my own stories and encouraging others to share theirs – as a way to nurture a feeling of camaraderie, belonging and togetherness in my networks. As Jeffrey always says, Doing It Together (DIT) beats Doing It Yourself (DIY)! Thank you Dacher Keltner for helping me reflect on this topic and for your valuable, refreshing insight.

Writing prompt #5: What sacrifice am I willing to make in 2017 in service to the greater good?

  Today’s writing prompt #5 comes from Scott Barry Kaufman, Scientific Director at the Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center (University of Pennsylvania). Scott asks:

“What is one major personal sacrifice you are willing to make this year in the service of the greater good?” #Sacrifice

This was a really hard question for me to answer. I’m coming out of a long phase of life that’s felt like one long, challenging road of self-sacrifice. I’m 41 years old and we’re very blessed to have two young boys aged five and two. It took us a long time to manifest these two little guys and it wasn’t easy. It was a journey filled with heartache, loss and pain, but we did it and we’re so grateful that we’re one of the fortunate couples who were able to make our baby dreams a reality. I’m acutely aware of how many couples struggle every day with the pain and devastation of unfulfilled baby dreams. The road to parenthood was filled with much sacrifice; sacrifice of the small pleasures in life while we tried to live, eat and be extremely healthy to give our bodies the best chance of conceiving. And then as every mother knows, the first few years of raising young children requires an enormous sacrifice on every front. We sacrifice our sleep, our bodies, our sport, our free time, our work, our social lives and more. I really like the quote that fellow Quester Alicia Anderson found on sacrifice:

“A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, must empty ourselves.” – Mother Teresa

I’ve definitely done all of that and more 0ver the past six to eight years. Would I have it any other way? No, absolutely not. And yet I’m at the point in my life where I’m ready to reclaim my life, to start building my own identity again and to keep working on building my business and my dreams, which include the ability to inspire and empower others to live their best lives through my small coaching practice. The hardest part for me over the past six to eight years has been the need to put my work and my business on the back-burner to focus 100% on my family. This year I’m finally in a position where I can start to focus more on myself and my work and that feels good! So, what is one personal sacrifice I would be willing to make this year in service to the greater good? Hmm. My greatest challenge as a mother to young boys is time. What do I need to sacrifice in order to find more time – Sleep? Family time? Time with friends? Sport? Social outings? No, I’m no longer prepared to sacrifice those important things because they’re what make life so rich and rewarding and I believe we must enjoy the journey as much as – if not, more than – the destination.

“You should never sacrifice three things: Your family, your heart, your dignity” – Unknown

Rather than sacrificing life’s small pleasures for the sake of the greater good, I believe that my ability to make a positive impact will lie in becoming more focused in the time that I do have. I’m making a commitment to myself to spend more time planning and less time jumping in and engaging in random actions that aren’t aligned with a bigger vision. I’m making a great start by planning the year with Quest 2017 for the first time, and I start private business coaching next Monday to help me approach 2017 with laser focus. I’ve decided that my one big personal sacrifice this year will be along the lines of what many fellow Questers have already voiced – my addiction to playing safe and small. While I continue to play small and keep my (potentially) controversial thoughts to myself, I’m not serving anyone. The fear of speaking out and attracting negative feedback is irrational and no longer a reason to withhold the gifts I have to offer by speaking and writing freely. It’s only through truth, raw honesty and authenticity that we have the ability to provoke, invoke and inspire. It’s only by daring to put ourselves out there and be seen, that we reap the joy and satisfaction of being of true value and service. My pledge for 2017 This year I’m willing and prepared to sacrifice my addiction to playing small and safe. I will endure the (potential) discomfort of negative feedback when voicing my opinions freely and without inhibition. I commit to stepping up into greater visibility in the knowing that in doing so, I’m helping others do the same. Thank you Scott Barry Kaufman for helping me reflect on this topic and for your valuable, refreshing insight.

Writing prompt #6: How will I shift my focus from ‘keeping busy’ to ‘leaving a legacy’ in 2017?

Today’s writing prompt #6, the final prompt under the theme ‘ENGAGE’, comes from Jocelyn K. Glei (@jkglei), author of the book ‘Unsubscribe’. She describes herself as a writer who’s obsessed with how we find more creativity and meaning in our daily work. Jocelyn asks:

“How can you shift your focus from “keeping busy” to “leaving a legacy?” #Legacy

Hmm… another great question, thank you Jocelyn. I often help my coaching clients get a sense of the kind of legacy they want to leave, so they can build a life vision and goals around that. It’s a very useful and powerful technique for getting through to people’s desires and motivations in life. But it’s been a while since I’ve reflected on the question of legacy myself. So thank you Jocelyn for the prompt. What kind of legacy would I personally like to leave? When I think of legacy I often think about what my dearest ones would say about me at my funeral. I’d love to be remembered for my big heart, for my big dreams and my zest for life. I’d love people to say that I uplifted them, nourished them and made them feel good about themselves and their choices. I’d love people to remember me as someone who was fun to be around and who could make them smile and laugh. I would be touched if people felt that they could be themselves fully around me, knowing that my heart is warmed by people who have the courage and confidence to be themselves without inhibition, who don’t care what society expects or demands, but who choose to do what makes their heart feel good. But in reflecting on this, I have to remind myself that legacy is not what people will remember about you when you die … it’s about what you leave behind that will continue on without you when you’re no longer here.

“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will” – Chuck Palahniuk

So what will be my legacy? Who am I to leave a legacy? Is it reserved only for the mighty and powerful who change the world in some significant way? Or is it possible that we all have the oportunity to leave a positive legacy, no matter how small we feel our contribution might be? If I’m to leave a legacy, what would I like to leave behind? I love to empower and inspire people to embrace everything about themselves and to find ways to express themselves authentically in life and through their work. My business mission is to help as many people as possible in this way: “I’m devoted to helping you connect to your heart and find your calling, to design a life that feels truly joyful and fulfilling.” I believe a life well lived is one where we give ourselves permission to own the desires and dreams we have and to make them a reality in whichever (small or large) way we can. I believe we’re all born with natural, innate gifts and talents – what I call your natural genius – and I’m on a mission to help as many people as possible to unleash their natural genius into the world in service to something larger than themselves. My business vision is all about helping people harness their natural gifts in service to the greater good. It states: “I hold a vision of a world in which each and every one of us is expressing and contributing our unique gifts in a way that feels deeply satisfying and rewarding, in service to something larger than ourselves. This focus on serving the greater good while bringing our full, authentic selves into our work creates a world in which everyone feels connected and valued and is expressing their full potential, while contributing to the flourishing of life.” If that could be my legacy, to know that I’ve contributed to this vision in some bold, impactful and courageous way – I would be one proud lady. If what I leave behind is a trail of people who have – because of me – had the courage to follow their hearts and to impact the world in some way through their gifts, then I would know I have left a positive legacy. And what is the part that will continue on without me? Perhaps it will be an organisation that I set up, dedicated to helping people get their gifts into the world. Hmm, I like that idea… So – how do I shift from simply keeping busy, to aligning my daily actions and choices directly with this greater vision for my life and my business? I believe the answer may lie in questions that I could ask myself each and every day before I jump into action:

  1. What’s one thing I can do today that will allow me to serve people more effectively?
  2. What can I do today to uplift or inspire someone to step up and find more courage and confidence?
  3. What can I do today to build on my legacy of helping people get their natural gifts into the world?

I’m excited about the New Year and the chance to see how these questions might act as a daily compass to keep me focused on the bigger vision and legacy for my life and my business.

THEME 3 – CHALLENGES

Writing prompt #7: Do you spend your time acting or reacting?

  This week’s writing prompt came from Jonathon Fields (@jonathonfields), a New York City dad, husband and lawyer turned award-winning author, media producer and entrepreneur. His most recent book, How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science and Practical Wisdom, is a wake-up call and a path to possibility, complete with 30-days of inspiring, actionable explorations. Jonathan’s current focus, Good Life Project, is a global movement that inspires, educates, connects, and supports mission-driven individuals in the quest to live better, more engaged, connected, and aligned lives. Jonathon asks:

“When it comes to the way you live each day, do you spend more time acting or reacting? If the latter, what one commitment can you make to be more intentional in the year to come?” #ActingorReacting

  This will be a short response today. I’m very fortunate that I’m a Mumpreneur who gets to divvy up my time in the way I want, working from home while raising two young boys. They both go to wonderful schools and so I have time during the day to work on projects that I want, without the inevitable disruptions and distractions that come with working in an organisation or company. So, I spend my days every day acting very intentionally, rather than reacting to things around me. It’s a delightful way to live and I chose very intentionally to live and work this way so that I can focus my time and efforts on my life work and passions. One of my biggest frustrations in my old corporate career was the inability to focus and get things done, due to the constant need to react to the things happening around me. So it’s truly a blessing to be able to work the way I do now. My biggest distraction while working from home is my own procrastination and household chores than can always be done, rather than working! I find that having a very detailed plan of what I need to do each day helps me to focus and stay on track and inspired with the work I’m doing.

Writing prompt #8: Adapt from within or adapt from without. Are you ready?

  Today’s writing prompt #8 under the theme ‘Challenges’ comes from Linda Rottenberg (@lindarottenberg), author of the fantastic book ‘Crazy is a compliment: The power of zigging when everyone else zags’’. Linda is the CEO and Founder of Endeavour, the world’s leading organisation supporting high-impact entrepreneurs. Linda asks:

“Today we all have a choice: We can take risks and actions to ensure that we adapt with the constantly changing times or we can hope for the best and do nothing. Adapt from within or you may be forced to adapt from without. Are you ready?” #Adaptation

  I think this is a great question and so relevant for the times we’re living in. I’ve spent a lot of time in my life wondering how to best adapt to the times we live in. I studied Biotechnology at University, largely because of long discussions I had with my Dad when I was trying to figure out what to study. We both agreed that innovation and environmental protection were going to be big needs in the 21st century and Biotechnology was at the forefront there. My Honours research was on a topic called ‘Bioleaching’ – a mining process that harnesses bacteria to remove precious metals from minerals. It was a pretty novel process for the mining industry back in the late nineties. My first professional job was with BHP in Reno, Nevada (USA) in 1998 as a process engineer. It was exciting to be involved in cutting edge, innovative projects that promised to be more environmentally responsible. But then I experienced my first mining industry crash in 1999. Less than one year out of University and the entire mining industry ‘busted’ as metal prices came crashing down. The BHP headquarters in Reno was forced to close its doors and my colleagues and I were made redundant from one week to the next. A classic case of ‘adapt from without’. I vowed after that experience I would never work for such a volatile industry or allow my life to be so heavily dependent on market conditions. I decided to go back to University and study further in the field of environmental engineering. I was determined to do something positive for the environment and to immerse myself in a more stable and predictable industry. I had an interesting and challenging career in water management and I was fortunate to experience the good times in Australia from 2005 to 2011. Infrastructure projects were booming and the engineering consultancy I worked for had an over-supply of exciting, large and challenging water projects to work on. Engineers could name their price and pick and choose where they wanted to work. We received generous pay rises each year and bonuses were in abundance. They were definitely the glory days. And then in 2012 the bubble burst. On the back of yet another resources industry collapse, engineering consultancies across Australia were forced to let go of many of their staff and those left behind were forced to fight over the small project scraps being tendered out, as infrastructure expenditure halted across the country. We were fortunate enough to be in a position to move overseas with my husband’s work in 2011 for a 5-year long adventure in Paris, France followed by Geoje, South Korea, for his role on Shell’s first ever floating LNG facility. When we first arrived in Geoje in 2013 it was yet another ‘boom’; big companies from all over the world were working on large shipbuilding and oil & gas projects at the massive shipyards here in Korea and expats were flown in from all over the world with generous salary packages. And then the bubble burst again. For the past two years oil prices have come crashing down and again massive projects are being shelved and people are being laid off. In 2011 I’d had enough of the boom-bust cycle in engineering and I made the decision to branch out on my own and start my own coaching business while raising our young family. I’m so grateful I did. It hasn’t been easy and I’m learning the hard way that working for yourself is uncertain and challenging and it stretches you well beyond your comfort zone. But the rewards are deep job satisfaction, flexibility and an ability to do things on your own terms. You get to do what you want, when you want, and work on things you care about deeply. But most importantly, you develop a certain resilience and ability to generate income even when times are tough globally. If you offer something of real value where there is a deep and consistent need, then you’ll always find a way to serve people and build your business in the process. Adaptation has become my middle name since branching out on my own. I’ve been on a steep learning curve while adapting to the field of coaching and the online business world. I’ve had to learn how to set up and run my own website and blog, how to create and launch programs, how to market and sell my services, how to set up online systems to support and develop my business and how to move with the times in technology so that I can stay afloat and embrace the fast-pace changes in the online world rather than get left behind. It’s become plainly clear to me that we’re facing times of unprecedented change. It’s most definitely a time where we need to adapt from within or be forced to adapt from without, as Linda Rottenberg suggests. I’m so incredibly grateful that I happen to love change, variety and finding new and creative ways of doing things. So to answer Linda’s question – “Adapt from within, or adapt from without – are you ready?” – my answer is YES! Bring it on.

Writing prompt #9: How will you stop yourself from being held back this year?

  This writing prompt was contributed by Desiree Adaway of Adaway Group (@desireeadaway). Desiree is a writer, speaker and coach whose mission is to build resilient organisations. Desiree leads difficult conversations on race, class and gender. She asks:

“How have you allowed a system, institution, or tradition to hold you back? What will you do to make sure this does not happen in 2017?” #HeldBack

  I didn’t need much time to reflect on this one, and my answer will be short. I’m thankfully in a phase in my life where there is nothing holding me back except my own fears and inner gremlins. I’ve worked in many organisations and institutions during the course of my life where I’ve felt held back in some sort of fashion. My decision to branch out on my own in 2011 was a direct result of this frustrating feeling. Now that I’m working on my own terms, I’mrevelingg in the delicious feeling of freedom and free reign to work how and when I want, and to impact the world around me in the way I want. Nothing feels more delightful than that, and it’s my mission to help as many people feel the same way! Thank you Desiree for the prompt!

THEME 4 – LOOKING AHEAD

 

Writing prompt #10: What is your intuition telling you to do in 2017?

  Prompt #10 is from Jess Lively of The Lively Show, a podcast designed to uplift, inspire, and help you add a little extra intention to your everyday. Inc.com named it “the #1 podcast that all female entrepreneurs should listen to” and Levo League named it “one of the 10 best podcasts every woman should know.” Jess asks:

What is your intuition calling you towards next?” #FollowIntuition

Whew. It’s mid-January and my family and I have just returned from a few weeks away to my second home – Holland – where my husband comes from and where we lived for many years. Although our time away was filled to the brim with jetlag, visits and catch ups, I always find holidays a refreshing break from the routine of day-to-day living and they allow me to gain fresh insight, even if they are crazy busy. They also help me tap into my underlying intuition. There are a few things calling to me this year. Intuitive nudge #1 – Forgive more I’m a believer that things don’t tend to come into our awareness ‘by chance’. As I was reflecting on this question this morning, a tweet popped up on my phone screen by Emily Burgess that says “The only type of growth comes from forgiveness. Heal your heart. Forgive more.” I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I think my intuition is telling me loudly that in order to make sure this year is a good one, I need to forgive more. Forgive myself, firstly, for the things that I could have/should have done better in 2016, and give myself permission to be human and to make mistakes. What’s important is that we acknowledge our mistakes and try to make amends where we can. I need to find the grace within me to forgive those who I feel ‘wronged’ me in 2016 and refer to the quote by Lewis B. Smedes that says “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and to discover that the prisoner was you.” We all do the best we can under whatever circumstances we’re presented with, and sometimes our imperfect actions hurt someone else. We need to cut each other some slack and allow each other to make mistakes, and forgive quickly. So first port of call this year – more forgiveness. Intuitive nudge #2 – Step out of the shadows into full visibility Next, I’m feeling a very strong intuitive urge to step up and out of the shadows. I’ve been comfortably hiding in the shadows for the past few years while I’ve undergone several major life transformations; quitting my corporate career to re-educate myself and start my own business, becoming a mother to two young boys and living in several different countries as we follow my husband’s work. As we prepare to move back to Australia in the next six months, it’s time for me to have the courage to live my message out loud. I’m passionate about helping people find their true calling and to live the work that lights them up and energises them. The only way I can do this effectively is if I commit to stepping up and proactively getting myself in front of people, with the intention to serve them in the best way I can. Intuitive nudge #3 – Employ at least one virtual assistant to help develop my business The next message coming loud and clear from my intuition is that I must start to leverage my time more effectively and employ one or two people who can assist me with the things that I’m not good at – social media, website development, email newsletters, administration, book-keeping etc. This past year I’ve spent way too much time trying to figure these things out myself when I could have been spending that time coaching or putting my ideas together and developing services and products. I’ve been stuck in the chicken-and-egg thing; I want help getting my business off the ground properly and yet that requires a significant financial investment. So I continue to try to do everything myself, which means I don’t have time to move my business forward as effectively as I could. So it’s time to bite the bullet and employ people to do the things I’m not good at and frankly do not have the time for. It’s time! Intuitive nudge #4 – Develop and launch my coaching programs My next intuitive nudge for this year is to work hard at developing the content for two coaching programs I’m working on that provide people with the opportunity to do much of their deep self-reflection and introspection at home, privately, before they enter coaching sessions with me. This leverages my time much more effectively, and allows me to serve and reach more people. I just need to stop procrastinating and get the programs developed and out there! Intuitive nudge #5 – Continue to get private coaching myself At the end of 2016 I decided to invest in private coaching from Jennifer Smith at The Art of Better Blogging, and it was the best decision I’ve made. Thanks to Jenn’s help, I’ve been able to get crystal clear on exactly what I need to do to grow my business and get the exact, specific advice I need to hear in order to step up into full visibility and get my products and services out there. For too long I dabbled in online programs and courses without private coaching, thinking I could do it myself once I had the necessary information – wrong. I became stuck in an endless cycle of spinning wheels and was not going anywhere. Deciding to invest in private coaching was by far the best thing I did in 2016 and I now know it’s an absolute necessity going forward. Intuitive nudge #6 – MORE is not BETTER Something I discovered in a very tangible way last year was that doing more does not mean I accomplish more. What’s important is that I take the time to get quiet, to listen to my own intuitive guidance and to align my heart, mind, body and soul before proceeding in any particular direction. I’ve been a perpetual ‘doer’ my whole life, and it’s not only exhausting, but ineffective. In recent years I’ve experienced that when I take the time to slow down and align my actions very intentionally, magic happens. And this year I intend to infuse a whole lot more magic into my life! Wow. That’s a LOT to work on this year. I’d better stop writing and go and get started. Thank you Jess Lively for your wonderful prompt and for your super insightful podcast that I’ve recently started listening to. I highly recommend Jess’s podcast to anyone who wants support, encouragement or advice on how to live your best life. @JessLively.com

Writing prompt #11: How will you take stock of your habits and improve them in the coming year?

  Writing prompt #11 comes from Charlie Gilkey (@charliegilkey), a self-described “Walking contradiction: author, consultant, social philosopher, and veteran. Co-creating a better tomorrow with others today.” He’s a champion of and catalyst for Creative Giants, talented Renaissance souls with a compassion-fueled bias towards action. Charlie asks:

“How are you going to take stock of your habits and improve them the coming year?” #KeepDropAdd

Charlie advises that in order to make way for new things in our limited time, we need to ‘drop’ some things. He asks us to reflect on which things in our lives should stay, which things should be dropped, and which things should we add? Thanks Charlie for this reflective prompt. It was necessary for me to think about these things with intention, even though my habit is to just keep ploughing ahead without thinking about these things. I think I can answer this one fairly quickly. Here’s what I’ll keep, drop and add this year. KEEP: My morning 20 minute yoga routine, quality family time on weekends. DROP: Unfocused time on social media, trying to do things myself that I’m not good and instead pay for help to do those things. Paying for help with the tasks required for running my business is the only way I’m going to break the unproductive cycle and win some extra time in my day. This will be a big goal for me this year. ADD: More self-care (a massage once a month, more yoga practice, more meditation), more telephone chats or catch-ups with friends, more date nights with my husband.

Writing prompt #12 – What does your ideal day look like?

  This prompt comes from visionary Jenny Blake (@jenny_blake), an author, international speaker, business strategist, career coach and yogi now living and working in New York. She’s the author of ‘Pivot’, a wonderful book I’ve just finished reading that outlines a four-stage process to mindfully navigate career paths. Jenny asks:

“Describe your ideal average day one year from now. Where are you? What routines help start the day? What projects are you thrilled to dive into? What kind of impact are you having on the world around you? Who are you with? How do you unwind at the end of the day? Don’t think too hard about the answers; go with your gut and fill-in whatever first comes to mind.” #IdealDay

This is a fantastic exercise that I get my coaching clients to do when I’m working with them. The only way we can begin to create the life we reallywant is to first imagine it. The hard part here is to let our mind think truly big, rather than confining ourselves to what we think is possible. It’s not easy to imagine our most ideal life, but opening up our imagination to what’s possible is the first and critical step to creating more magic in our lives. It was great for me to spend the time reflecting on this (I don’t tend to do it enough myself). Here’s how my ideal day would look: It’s December 2017 and it’s been a truly wonderful year. I wake up to the gentle noise of birds outside our window and as I lie in bed I give quiet gratitude for the day ahead and for all the blessings in my life. I wake up gently, put on my yoga clothes and head outside in the cool, fresh morning air with my yoga mat to do my fifteen minute yoga routine on the back lawn. The sun is just coming up over the horizon and the birds are chirping on this beautiful, warm summer morning. I feel my body ground down into the earth as I move through my yoga poses and then I sit quietly in ten minutes of meditation and reflection, imagining a perfect outcome to the day ahead. I head inside to make my morning lemon juice. My boys are now awake and we enjoy a cuddle, a chat and breakfast together. It’s my husband’s turn to get the kids organized and off to school this morning, so I take the time to relish a long shower and prepare myself for my exciting day ahead. Today I’ve been invited to speak on ABC Radio about my Joyful Career Academy that helps young adults through a process of self-reflection and self-discovery that identifies their unique strengths and soul gifts, to uncover the most ideal career path that allows them to bring their full self into the work place. Before the talk after lunch, I’m spending the morning with two of my favourite coaching clients who I’m guiding through a process of starting up their own business. We’ll be working through some of their biggest challenges and helping them break through their blocks to maor growth in their business. After the delightful coaching sessions I go out for lunch with a dear friend of mine and we discuss all things from family life and holiday plans to the things that light up us up and make us feel excited. We discuss music, fashion, sport, shopping, our latest projects and ideas. After a nurturing conversation, I head off to the ABC to get ready for my talk. It’s a wonderful afternoon connecting with like-minded people and reaching out to more people with my message. I feel uplifted and inspired by the impact I’m able to make in helping people unleash their natural genius and get their unique gifts into the world in a way that makes them feel deeply fulfilled, satisfied and valued. I head to school to pick up my beautiful boys and we head down to the beach for a play in the sand, a swim and an ice-cream. My husband meets us down at the beach for fish and chips. We all head into the water for one more swim and play before we head home. The kids go to bed easily after a bath and bedtime story, and my husband and I relax onto the couch to enjoy some quiet alone time with a good glass of red wine. It’s been a great day. It’s been a great year. I’ve developed a full and rich website of resources and guidance for people seeking a more fulfilling working life. I’ve earned my first wonderful annual income based on my high-end coaching packages and public speaking engagements. I’ve launched an online course to help fulfilling career seekers find and live their calling. I have a wonderful team of talented, highly competent people working for me and helping me serve and reach more people. We moved back to Australia and found the perfect family home, in a suburb we truly love. We’ve made new connections and rekindled old ones. We’re surround by caring friends and family. We really are truly blessed.

BONUS writing prompt #13: How will you manifest your understanding that we’re all connected?

Our final visionary for Quest 2017 is Rebecca Walker (@rebeccawalker). She may be best known for her role as the original leader and founder of Third Wave Feminism, the movement, and the co-founder of the Third Wave Foundation, a non-profit organization that works through grant-making, leadership development, and philanthropic advocacy to support young women ages 15 to 30 working towards gender, racial, economic, and social justice. She has authored many books, including her latest collection, Black Cool, which explores the singular aesthetic that has helped to shape the world. Time Magazine named Walker one of fifty most influential American leaders under forty because of her transformative views on race, gender, sexuality and power. Rebecca asks:

“This coming year you have the ability to share a bit of your privilege, energy, and love in a way perhaps you haven’t done before. In 2017, for what person or group will you support with your whole heart and clear voice to make their life easier and personal evolution more possible? How will you manifest your understanding that we are all connected?” #Connected

I truly do believe that we are all connected and that when we make the decision to show up powerfully and be the best version of ourselves, we have a positive and inspirational impact on those around us. We impact the world predominantly through our connections and relationships. And so this year I commit to connecting and reaching out more, to proactively building networks and communities with the intention to serve as many people as I can with my message. My message is an echo of Howard Thurman’s famous quote “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive”. There are so many people out there feeling less than excited about their work. So many people drag themselves into their office or workplace and feel frustrated, uninspired or at worst, depressed and loathing about the way they spend their days. Many people don’t know how to lift themselves out of the rut in which they’ve unknowingly landed and struggle with the nagging feeling that there must be a more enjoyable and fulfilling way to live life. Many people feel they have a ‘calling’, if only they could figure out what it is and know how to live it, and how to make enough money in the process to quit their day job. I will show up for those people this year. I’ve heard many stories lately from friends and acquaintances who struggle at a very deep level with overwhelm and fatigue in life. One of them said “I just have to rediscover my love for my work”. But perhaps the love for your work has changed or been lived to its completion and it’s time for something different. We need to let people know that it’s okay to crave change and something different. It’s a very normal and healthy reaction to life, if we could only embrace the positive side of wanting change. We shouldn’t see it as a failure or a shortcoming of our own in some way. It’s simply acknowledging that you’re ready for the next exciting phase of life. There are ways to change or shapeshift your career to find more pleasure and enjoyment in day to day living. It is possible – and necessary – to move in the direction of something that lights you and up and allows you to use your strengths and talents in a way that offers real value to others. It’s possible to love your life, and you should! Life is too short, it’s a tragedy if we spend our time feeling stuck and overwhelmed. So – my commitment this year is to show up for all of you who struggle with the issues I just described. I know how it feels. I’ve been there – for almost 15 years I was there, struggling with feelings of frustration and complete lack of inspiration. And now that I know the joy of finding my calling, I want more than anything for everyone to feel that kind of deep joy and satisfaction every day. So dear friends, this year I will be here for you, cheerleading you and motivating you to dig deep, to find your calling and most importantly find the courage to take the necessary steps to get out there and start living it. And since we’re all connected, I know that any small positive impact I can have on someone’s life, those changes will flow onto the people around them and the ripple effect takes action. All we need to do is step up and show up for the people we’re here to serve.

Pulling it all together – synthesising the QUEST

Wow. What a process! So much reflection and deep processing of my values, thoughts and ideals. I’ve emerged so much clearer and stronger in my convictions and plans for the year ahead. Thanks to Jeffrey Davis tools and resources, I’ve been able to process the different themes and visions to come up with a solid plan for 2017. I feel really thankful to have been able to participate in this process. A big shout out to anyone who wants to jump on board this process for next year, I highly recommend it. And I hope that by sharing this process with you, it’s helped you in some way on your journey.

In service to helping you live your fullest and brightest life,
Katie De Jong, Ph.D Life Coach & Career Strategist Whispering Heart Coaching katie@whisperingheartcoaching.com
The Rise of 4 Different Species of Entrepreneurs. Which One Are You?

The Rise of 4 Different Species of Entrepreneurs. Which One Are You?

Find out about the emergence of four different species of entrepreneurs in today's changing professional landscape - and which category you fit into! #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #ladyboss #girlboss #freelancing #freelancer #liveyourpassion #followyourheart #liveyourdream #passion #solopreneur #workfromhome #laptoplifestyle

When I was growing up I rarely heard of the term ‘entrepreneur’ and when I did, it usually referred to one of those unique people who had managed to make millions out of business-savviness and clever risk-taking.

 

My Dad knew a few of those people and they always seemed terribly impressive to my young self. But in my world, the messaging I received at home and elsewhere centered around the need to create a stable, financially secure future for myself by getting a good education and finding my way into a large corporation or organisation as soon as possible.

Getting a salary package, holidays, benefits and opportunities for ladder climbing would mean that I had ‘made it’ in life (at least that’s how I interpreted all those messages). So the idea of entrepreneurship simply never entered my world of options and seemed like a scary and risky proposition reserved only for the incredibly bold risk-takers among us.

But when I finally achieved all of that, – the salary, the employee benefits, shares and ladder-climbing opportunities – instead of feeling a great satisfaction, sense of accomplishment and happiness I thought I should feel, inside I felt miserable and empty. After almost fifteen years of working my way up through academia and the corporate world, in 2011 I knew the time had come to take a leap of faith and go it on my own. Even though it was the scariest thing I’d ever considered in my life, the call to follow the small-business-owner/entrepreneurial path was impossible to ignore. The alternative – spending the rest of my career working on someone else’s payroll, on their terms – was no longer acceptable. Suddenly the concept that once seemed so impossible became the only way forward.

 

I’ve since learned that those two emotions – fear and excitement – are in constant tension on the path of the entrepreneur.

 

Now before we go further let me clarify; I’m a fledgling ‘entrepreneur’ and can’t speak with any authority yet on this whole topic. Up until very recently, I’ve been a solopreneur in my coaching business and only recently hired my first virtual assistant (a big milestone for me). It’s been up and down and I’ve been on a steep learning curve since quitting my corporate career in 2011. Through piloting and feedback I’ve developed a service that meets a need that people happily pay me for, and my services and products are constantly evolving and expanding. I’m on the path and continually learning and growing, thanks to some wonderful mentors and teachers.

Find out about the emergence of four different species of entrepreneurs in today's changing professional landscape - and which category you fit into! #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #ladyboss #girlboss #freelancing #freelancer #liveyourpassion #followyourheart #liveyourdream #passion #solopreneur #workfromhome #laptoplifestyle One thing I’m learning is that the definition of entrepreneurship is subtly changing. Bruce Bachenheimer, a clinical professor of management and executive director of the Entrepreneurship Lab at Pace University says “Entrepreneurship is much broader than the creation of a new business venture. At its core, it is a mindset — a way of thinking and acting. It is about imagining new ways to solve problems and create value.” And we all know you don’t have to be running a multi-million dollar company in order to imagine new ways to solve problems and create value.

Linda Rottenberg, entrepreneur extraordinaire, founder of Endeavor and author of Crazy is a Compliment: The power of zigging when everyone else zags says “Today entrepreneurship doesn’t just mean starting a tech company. It means undertaking any bold venture – from improving your neighbourhood to selling crafts out of your basement; from modernising your family business to proposing a new initiative in your corporation. The techniques involved in sharpening your idea, facing down critics, recruiting boosters, and handling setbacks apply in almost every realm of work.” Rottenberg describes the increasing trend of entrepreneurs worldwide:

 

“In the world today, there’s an unstoppable, unwavering trend toward individuals who seek to improve their own lives and, in the process, improve the world around them.
They’re entrepreneurs.”

 

Research in Australia, my homeland, shows that “small and micro business is Australia’s fastest growing employment sector. Aussie start-up culture is burning brighter than ever before as Baby Boomers and Gen Y lead a movement to ditch the corporate ladder in favour of becoming their own boss.” [1]. Research in the USA shows that people are increasingly choosing entrepreneurship too. A study by Intelligent Office revealed that nearly 65 percent of workers would rather be an entrepreneur or independent employee than work in an office.

Rottenberg says “If some moments have been ripe for diplomats, financiers, soldiers, or politicians, today is ripe for entrepreneurs.” The reason for this she says is this: “The reasons behind the shift are complex, but they come down to one simple reality: We live in a time of uncertainty. Our economies, our companies, our jobs are no longer stable and secure. Change is the only constant. To survive, we all need the skills required to continually reinvent ourselves.”

 

Everyone needs to take some risk or risk being left behind.

 

Despite the enormous growth in the entrepreneurial sector, it’s true that it’s not cut out for everyone. There’s a general consensus that certain qualities make a good entrepreneur including: Unwavering passion, open-mindedness, the desire to become an expert, a forward-looking approach, a constant flow of ideas [2], a clear vision, an effective communicator, a desire to continually learn, view setbacks as opportunities [3], a moderate risk taker, self-confident, enjoy hard work, love challenge and problem-solving [4], enjoy change, uncertainty and variety and love to lead, motivate and empower others. If the majority of these qualities don’t sound like you, then entrepreneurship isn’t likely to float your boat for long.

As happens with the growth of any field or model, the entrepreneurial field is diversifying and spreading in its form and impact. Once reserved as a term largely for the start-up industry, it now infiltrates just about any sector you can think of. Rottenberg has spent her entire career finding, coaching and financially supporting fledgling entrepreneurs with big ideas through her organisation Endeavor. In her many years of experience of working with thousands of entrepreneurs and speaking on countless panels on the topic, she defines four different types of entrepreneurs. I found her definitions fascinating and insightful. Here are the different types and their characteristics. I’m most definitely a butterfly. Which one are you? (All definitions below are taken from Rottenberg’s book Crazy is a Compliment.)

 

The Four Different Species of Entrepreneur

1. Gazelles

Gazelles, Rottenberg explains, are the classic entrepreneurs of myth and reality: “Someone who starts a new business venture and aims for it to explode into a white-hot phenomenon”. Examples are Home Depot, Facebook, Jenny Craig and Instagram. High growth is the goal. The term ‘gazelle’ was coined by economist David Birch in 1994 to describe high-growth businesses whose sales double every four years. Though only a miniscule 2-4 % of companies fit this model in the USA, this group accounts for nearly all job creation in the private-sector.

When you hear politicians say “Small businesses really create most of the new jobs”, they’re talking about gazelles, Rottenberg says. In her experience, while wildly brilliant and visionary, gazelles tend to make the same mistakes over and over: They expand too quickly, they lose focus, they tangle with their partners and they can’t give up control. But when they have a supportive team around them who can help them balance out these aspects, they’re unstoppable.

 

2. Skunks

The term ‘skunk’ was adapted by Linda from the Lockheed Corporation, which during World War II set up a secret division to build fighter jets. It was called Skunk Works. Linda uses the term to describe “Entrepreneurs operating within large corporations [who] go out of their way to stink up the joint.” They’re sometimes also referred to as ‘intrapeneur’, an employee operating within a company who takes responsibility for “turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation.”

They’re often people who have become fed up with the limitations of conventional company practice and develop a better way to do it, or see something that is desperately needed and go against all bureaucracy, traditions, and resistance to get it done. Given the rapid pace of change in the world and the need to adapt and innovate, corporations are now urgently requesting and encouraging their employees to be more independent and creative. The corporate world knows it’s essential to their survival.

 

3. Dolphins

These are people who dedicate their skills and services to helping the social sector become more entrepreneurial. These days they are referred to as ‘social entrepreneurs’.

Rottenberg explains: “Dolphins are contrarians in the non-profit or public sector who are willing to buck the conventions of their professions and agitate for real change. Why dolphins? Because they’re smart and social (they live in cooperative pods) and are one of the few animals shown to be altruistic toward others. But they’re not pushovers: Harm a dolphin’s pod, and watch out! Today even causes for which there are no compelling private-sector solutions are ripe for an entrepreneurial shake-up. It’s dolphins making the waves.”

 

4. Butterflies

This may be the fastest-growing group of all. These are small-scale or lifestyle entrepreneurs. First among these are sole proprietors – plumbers, yoga instructors, freelance writers, organic farmers, artists etc. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that a majority of U.S. businesses have no paid employees. Forty percent of American adults have now spent part of their careers working on their own, and 24 million more are expected to be self-employed by 2018. Globally the number of independent contractors will reach 1.3. billion by 2020. Rottenberg explains “These fields are booming because they’re open to anyone: moms, dads, grannies, twenty-somethings, even teens starting microventures in their basements, cars or bathrooms. As Jay-Z put it ‘I’m not a businessman; I’m a business, man.’”

The second group among the butterflies have a handful of employees. There are 7 million companies in the USA that employ workers; 90 percent of them have fewer than 20 employees. While some of these entrepreneurs aim to be fast-growing gazelles, many are content to stay small and local. Rottenberg’s reasons for calling this group of entrepreneurs ‘butterflies’ is beautiful: “Butterflies are incredibly varied (there are at least 17,500 different types of butterfly) and [are] driven by freedom and individualism. In both Eastern and Western cultures, butterflies have long symbolised the soul, especially one reborn after a period of cocooning. Beyond personal transformation, butterflies are vital to their habitat and an indicator of its overall well-being. More butterflies equal a healthier ecosystem.”

At first glance, this group may not appear to reflect the ground-breaking level of skills that entrepreneurs usually harbour. She says “Do you really need to be disruptive when you’re selling homemade cheese at the farmer’s market?  The answer: You do, especially because your competitor probably has an in at Whole Foods, now accepts credit card payments with a Square reader and has just launched a vibrant Web business.” Besides, she says, “butterflies are uniquely suited to this age of disruption. In chaos theory, ‘butterfly effect’ is the term given to the idea that change can come from anywhere. The weather in Central Park can be affected by a butterfly flapping its wings in South America […] Don’t underestimate the tenacity of a butterfly. […] They aren’t waiting for changes to happen to them; they’re making changes happen every day.”

 

Find out about the emergence of four different species of entrepreneurs in today's changing professional landscape - and which category you fit into! #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #ladyboss #girlboss #freelancing #freelancer #liveyourpassion #followyourheart #liveyourdream #passion #solopreneur #workfromhome #laptoplifestyle So clearly entrepreneurship is no longer restricted to a minority group of high-growth tech start-ups but is infiltrating increasingly into every corner of life including the public sector, the corporate sector, and the small business/lifestyle sector.

 

I found it humbling and validating to know that butterflies like me are on the rise and that “more butterflies equal a healthier ecosystem.” At the end of the day, a healthy ecosystem is one in which all species are thriving and growing. And in the case of entrepreneurship, this definitely seems to be one large, thriving and growing global ecosystem.

In service to helping you live your brightest life,

Katie De Jong, Ph.D
Global Career Coach for Thriving Professionals
Inspired Careers International
katie@katiedejong.com
www.katiedejong.com