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You never know where inspiration and motivation will strike.
For me it was late Friday in a new chiropractor’s office staring at a sign on his wall. Under the emboldened saying were the words: “Five Dangerous Words to Say” and above that were the words themselves:
“Maybe it will go away.”
It doesn’t matter what the IT is. In this wellness provider’s office, it was body pain. But, no doubt, you’re familiar with that thought pattern even if it doesn’t land you in a health practitioner’s domain.
“If I don’t do anything,” it says, “it may get better.” And sometimes that’s so.
Last night, as my computer sputtered and stalled in the Outlook phase of my deskwork, I insisted, “Maybe it will go away.” The dreaded thought I continued to have after I abandoned ship for the night was that what I really needed wasn’t the new monitor I bought and installed last week, but a whole new system. Perish the thought.
This morning, however, I sailed through my inbox leading me to believe it was a connection problem and that everyone in my building was sucking the Time Warner cable lines dry at the same time. I won’t choose to dig deeper until the pain is too great and I have to.
You get to pick your challenges and where to check your foundations. You can sail along in your work/personal life for a long time without feeling the pain. But at some point, it catches up with you, and demands your attention. As it has with the back/leg pain I’ve been enduring for a while now. I know I need to look at the greater system and stop applying bandaids.
Where else that applies in my life is directly addressing issues as they arise and not sweeping them under the rug. It’s seeking out and going to a new doctor, asking for the contract IN WRITING, gently confronting the issue at hand IN THE MOMENT and not hoping it will go away. I’m not 100%, but I’m moving towards the goal of living in the moment, addressing reality and dealing with what is now.
I’ve had accountability partners, aka goal buddies, for years. It’s what keeps me on track on a daily basis.
I also have a Mastermind group that I’ve been part of for a couple of decades. That’s a monthly accountability structure for the bigger things I want to achieve in my business.
Add to my support systems a coach to whom I speak twice monthly. She’s where I sort it all out and remember what’s important to me and why I do what I do.
It’s the goal buddy relationship that offers the dailiness of entrepreneurship for me. The others are the bigger, wider views. My goal buddy is the on-the-ground, day-to-day ‘combat’ colleague and ally for getting it all done.
What I’ve illustrated here is the sheet (actually a manila folder) I use to track our commitments. I write down hers and mine with a check box next to each to house that satisfying gesture of completion.
If you enlarge the image you can see the variety of tasks we commit to each other–some as simple as ‘organize family receipts’ or others more demanding like ‘develop first three topics’. What’s important about organizing family receipts is that NOT doing it–sorting through my annual collection of personal purchases–was taking up way too much room in my brain. Sometimes our commitments to each other are as menial as that one, but need to be done.
Here are some questions and answers for establishing a successful goal buddy relationship. Between the two of you work out these pieces of the connection:
- How often do you want to check in with each other. My current goal buddy and I usually speak 3x per week. I had one partner with whom I spoke each weekday first thing in the morning to state our goals and around 5pm to acknowledge completion of them.
- Who calls whom? We switch off with each call. I’ll call her today at 11am. She’ll take the responsiblity for our next appointment on Monday afternoon.
- How long are the calls? Usually 5 minutes, sometimes less if either of us states at the beginning, “This’ll be just a quick check-in today.” Sometimes we chat for 15 minutes.
- What do you choose as goals? We both have a working knowledge of the other’s business and visions. Ninety percent of our goals are right on course with creating the futures we each desire. Ten percent of the time, like organizing receipts, the goals are set to get rid of obstacles blocking our creativity.
- What’s the benefit of having a goal buddy? As I mentioned earlier, it’s having someone to talk to regularly (isolation is a huge issue for entrepreneurs) to get through the dailiness of life. Left to our own devices, who wouldn’t rather watch the next episode of Girls or Downton Abbey? Being held accountable by someone you respect and admire is a beautiful thing. You might cut yourself the slack, but you’d never want to disappoint your cherished collaborator.
- How do you find a goal buddy? Ask around. You want someone as committed to her visions as you are. Water seeks its own level. Try on a partner for a week or a month and then re-evaluate. You’ll know quickly if it’s working or not by your progress, your happiness level and your gut.
The reason I’m writing this blog post today is because someone in my Community asked me if I could recommend anyone to her. As I was reviewing my notes from my Mastermind Intensive, one of our members needed to find an accountability partner (same thing, by the way) as her goal for our next meeting. I thought about these two women and what a great match they’d make and offered it up to the two of them. The one who asked first was thrilled and upped the ante by asking, what’s the best way to work this connection. Hence this article.
Before I post a quote I’ve heard, I check it out via google for exact wording and reference. This morning, it’s been a slippery slope that I am going to shortcut for the sake of getting this online.
I heard a quote, attributed to George Bernard Shaw, that hit home for me on this 11 degree morning in NYC–
The only decent climate is in bed.
Try finding those words in these days of global warming aka climate change. Call me lazy, but the sentiment of the expression was more important to me today than its origin, so here it is for your enjoyment.
I noticed what judgments went through my mind as I allowed myself the luxury of not getting it perfect. THEY‘ll think I’m a slacker. A smart, diligent blogger would go to any lengths to get this accurate. Who are you to use a quote you didn’t come across on your own?
That’s my message today. Notice when you’re being hard on yourself. Give yourself permission, just this once, to be okay with not being perfect. What Sharon said was that it’s not actually the step of allowing yourself to be okay with what is, but the step before that when you first notice that you’re NOT being okay with it and have that moment of awareness that you have the ability to change this. That’s where lovingkindness begins to take a foothold in your life.
Actually, that’s the decent climate I’m looking for today.
There are so many things I love about working with my Mastermind Intensive women business owners. We met all day last Friday, and the excitement in the room was electric. We’ve been together for 4 months now.
Since each meeting starts off with goals met, the progress is evident. The trust level is there, so the depth of the relationships is also growing and blossoming. It allows for deep truths to emerge, one of which I received permission to share.
While we normally meet until 4pm, Lisa had arranged for a car to pick her up at 2:30pm to whisk her off for a flight at JFK on her way to Italy. Earlier in our time together, Lisa voiced a clear interest in learning more about Italy, preferably working from there with an international clientele for several months out of the year. I challenged her, back in October, to book a trip there in January to test the waters.
Everyone was envious of Lisa’s homework assignment that month: Book trip to Italy. But it takes a great deal of courage to actually sit down, map out two weeks on the calendar, decide exactly where to stay, research places to study the language, and then spend the money on the plane fare and rental property. Which Lisa did.
So, here it is January and Lisa is manifesting her vision. In her words, “It’s one thing to write it down and imagine it. I can’t get over the enormity of actually doing what I said I’ve always wanted to do.”
It sounds so simple, but Lisa’s experience tells the tale. She was nervous, excited and also emotional. It really is something when you are living your dreams and visions. She was an inspiration to each of us and also to herself.
Part of her commitment during her trip is to journal and/or blog. You can read about Lisa’s discoveries here. I laughed out loud when I read an earlier entry about the difficulties in getting around in Venice, particularly locating where her Italian lessons would be taking place. This picture says it all.
I joined La Leche League in my last month of pregnancy with my first child. I knew that I wanted to breastfeed my baby and needed to learn how. That was the premise of the meetings–to place yourself amongst other breastfeeding women to learn and observe the in’s and out’s of this seemingly natural process.
Here was a wonderful group of young women with healthy-looking, robust infants. The literature said how terrific it was for the well-being of both mother and child, and everything I observed at the meetings validated that. But there was so much more.
Even though the process is supposed to be instinctive, and even though every mother and child looked peaceful and serene, it was the deep down, honest, true-to-the-bone sharing that captured me. “This is harder than I thought,” was a sentence I heard more than once.
I’m launching the Soul Proprietor Community on February 1 for the purpose of providing women entrepreneurs what La Leche League provides for new moms–a haven of support, encouragement and knowledge shared woman to woman in an atmosphere of safety and confidentiality.
This will be a place where you can say, “This is harder than I thought” about being a business owner in 2013. It didn’t used to be this hard, but it is now. And I want to offer a water cooler environment where this difficult truth can be shared, heard and honored. In my business life I have found a safe haven or two to reveal my deep-down truths. But these oases are few and far between.
I am making this offer to women entrepreneurs who identify with the importance of stating what is, being heard, validated and offered suggestions (when requested) to help them move beyond the obstacles and stuck-ness.
We all want to present our best selves and our babies aka our businesses in their best light. In order to accomplish this feat, it’s necessary to have a place to go where you don’t always have to put on “the face.”
Somewhere, sometime, there needs to that haven where you can take off the lookin’ good mask and tell the truth. If you want to find that space too, join me on February 1 to get real and free yourself from the burden of having to look perfect all the time.
I’m off to a running start in 2013 having been tremendously inspired by Seth Godin’s event on Wednesday in NYC. It’s as if he heard what I was planning for this year and then developed a talk to completely support and encourage my efforts. I believe that when you’re on the right track, synchronicity makes continual appearances. I am so pumped to launch my new project.
Hold that thought.
On another front, I met someone recently who is taking a life-changing step, in fact, today. She left this morning for California, not to return to New York until the first of May. When she shared what this was all about, I immediately thought to myself, “I want to do that!” I told a few close friends who didn’t even blink an eye, but said, “It’s yours, Jane!” I would undertake this a year from now in order to get plans and preparations in place.
So, here I am ready to launch a great new initiative. I’m working with a fabulous marketing consultant and a terrific virtual assistant to roll this out, and we’re ready to go live next week. There’s some legalese we need to iron out, so I mentioned this seed of the other plan to my marketer. Her email back, to me and my VA said to hold the launch and to please not post/schedule anything until she revised the copy.
Looking at this now, I see that it is completely benign. But, some saboteur in my head, when I first read it, saw this:
We can’t go ahead with this. Jane is pulling a fast one and throwing a monkey wrench into the works, and I’m going to have to pull the plug on the whole thing because I’m working with a crazy woman.
Did you read that in her message? Something inside of me wants to deny myself my divine inspiration, make me wrong and punish myself into thinking I need to put off this thrilling opportunity until I’ve paid all my dues and fulfilled some unspoken commitment that I haven’t even made yet.
My question to you is, do you ever do that to yourself? Talk yourself out of a magnificent idea or opportunity minutes after you’ve come up with it?
I can’t wait to share ALL of this with you, when I’ve got the right words, and also to hear what your cuckoo gremlins are telling you. I’m so glad I can recognize what games my mind is playing and talk myself off the ledges of my own creation.
Last week I had planned to blog about a woman business leader I’d read about and post an entry based on an obituary for the man who invented the bar code. But dealing with the overwhelming sadness and shock of the Newtown massacre, the importance and relevance of these topics rapidly faded.
I do, however, want to voice some thoughts at year’s end. This morning I saw this quote in the inspirational book I read daily. It’s by George Bernard Shaw:
Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.
I wanted to share the window I’m looking through these days and ask you about yours. In spite of the horrific tragedy in Connecticut, I have continued to manage my affairs and to stay afloat emotionally. I credit the enormous support system of positive thinkers with whom I surround myself and the daily practices I engage in to keep me serene and to maintain peace of mind. I pray that this does not come across in any way as bragging. My intention is simply to share how I keep going. I invite you to tell me, and others, what has helped you get through these most challenging times.
Every year around this time I take a look at the past four quarters and those ahead. I do this on several levels: financial, professional, personal, spiritual. I have to admit that financially, this was my least productive year in the past ten. I keep comparative records, and I was discouraged and disappointed that my income was lower.
Then I looked at what I did professionally. My mood immediately lifted. I had amazing coaching clients, great mastermind groups, multiple webinar series, my 21st – 25th Remarkable Women’s Network sessions and I gave a TEDx talk. I also attended several professional development workshops and participated in a holistic cruise where I learned more about how what we ingest impacts everything else in our lives. I also took a one month sabbatical in July. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on where I’m headed as well as enjoy family time with my children and granddaughter.
Personally, my life changed enormously and joyfully in two ways. I met a most wonderful man in February who continues to enhance and enrich my life. And I moved to New York City in October to be closer to my children and grandchild and to swim in a bigger (the biggest!) pond.
I’ve done all this with an open heart and divinely inspired direction. I feel a deep connection to this Universe of ours and hope that I can continue to serve my family, friends and clients for many years to come.
When I hold up my measuring device to these standards, it’s been my best year ever. What are you measuring at this time?
Terry Scarborough has been a trusted friend and colleague since we met several years ago when I spoke at an ASID CT event. As a past president, Terry immediately embraced me and helped me to become an Industry Partner, which I remained for several years.
I recently received an email from Terry and am quoting her with permission:
I have been meeting with a Certified Financial Planner/retirement specialist just to understand my finances and needs for the future. When I told her ‘no, I really don’t want to quit my job–I like working’ and ‘no, my husband and I like our lives and where we live’ and ‘no, we have no kids or family obligations’ she finally said, ‘I’ve never met anyone like you!’ But I assured her we do have dreams of our future like everyone else. It feels very good to be charting a course for financial independence for my senior years.
You can see why I like to hang around this woman.
I know this is supposed to be the most joyful season of the year, but wherever I go I hear that it can also be the most challenging. The perfect holiday may be elusive to many. There is a constant pressure around what you’re “supposed to be” doing.
Rather than obsessing about what you’re supposed to be doing, think about how you’d like to take advantage of this time of year. If your phones are slow, use the time to…
- Learn that new computer program you recently installed.
- Create a new marketing proposal or client presentation to impress your prospects.
- Research your market. (One client finds this excess of time an opportunity to explore which trade shows to enter the next year. Another used the peaceful quiet to research artists’ grants while her neighbors are all at the mall.)
- Join me for the last Remarkable Women’s Network event of 2012 (and the last one in Connecticut), where you will “Come As You’ll Be five years from now.
- Do Nothing! (See below for tips on how to do nothing.)
One assignment I had during my coaching certification program a few years ago was to sit for one hour and do nothing. I chose to bring my collapsible chair to Compo Beach on Long Island Sound for this hour of nothingness.
Within a few minutes of disorientation—how does one do nothing? I began to observe what was going on in the nothingness of sitting. I started watching the gulls. One would swoop down, pick up a clamshell in its beak, fly up, and drop it to the ground. When it broke open, the bird would swallow the contents—mission accomplished. I noticed that the activity would be repeated two or three times if the shell wasn’t immediately compliant. The bird simply swooped down again, retrieved the same shell, flew up, and dropped it again. After a couple of tries without success, it moved on to another shell. It was a force of nature.
The outcome of that assignment for me was connecting with nature, giving my mind a healthy distraction, and not having any responsibility for what was happening in front of me. I left the beach with a renewed sense of energy and optimism.
What about the current season does work for you? What can be accomplished when the phones are quiet? You can cross off some important items from your To-Do List or you can do nothing. Both can be equally rewarding.
Want more inspiration? Download my free report, Top 10 Fearless Women Entrepreneurs: Stories to Ignite Your Creativity, Determination & Courage, by entering your email in the box on the left hand side.
I had my own first November coaching session Wednesday afternoon. As a coach myself, I’m a big believer in the coaching relationship. Michele has been my coach for several years now. She’s the one person in my professional life where I can let it all hang out and know that I will get a clear reflection back.
I was feeling pretty depleted that day and knew that Michele would take into consideration what I want in my life and help me see if I’m on track or not towards the fulfillment I seek.
What she reflected back to me was clear-eyed and affirming. “You’ve been dealing with a lot of complexity,” she reminded me. Here I am, familiarizing myself with a new apartment, a new city, a new state while maintaining my business, important relationships and a conscious lifestyle. Not to mention also dealing with a weather system over which I have no control.
I knew all that, but to have it actually spoken out loud was helpful. She suggested that I ritualize all I’ve done, take stock of it, and spend time acknowledging the closure I’ve lived through recently.
Wednesday night was a stormy mess. I had intended to go out to a meeting downtown. When Michele and I started discussing what would feel good and nurturing, hopping on a subway and negotiating the sleet and snow was not a priority. Instead I took a warm bath, put on my fuzzy slippers, ate a nourishing dinner–slowly–and got under the covers with the prospect of watching something on my laptop.
For anyone out there feeling overwhelmed by the storm(s), the election or the upcoming you-know-what, please take this assignment for yourself. Find what nurtures you, light a candle or three and acknowledge yourself for being the resourceful, capable and compassionate person you are.