Living life Woman and Man skydiving in tandemWho’s life are you living is a question you should ask yourself to check if you are really living your own life or somebody else’s.

The reason is that fulfilment in life is related to how well you are living in alignment with what’s truly important to you. Do your decisions emerge from the essence of who you are—not from who you think you should be? Take this quick quiz to see how well you are living a life that is of your own making.

  1. I have spent time thinking about what’s important to me, and I can articulate those things because they are crystal clear.
  2. While I have been influenced by my parents, teachers, society and other outside forces, I have not simply adopted their values and beliefs. My own values and beliefs come from deep inside.
  3. I am not easily swayed by others’ opinions and am not a follower. I know my own mind and am confident in myself.
  4. So I can remain open and flexible and growing, I am willing to reconsider my opinions and beliefs to see whether something is still true for me. I am always interested in other points of view.
  5. My spouse/partner is a good match for me. We share in a way that pleases me and have an ideal amount of separate space. We don’t have to agree on everything and can consider each others viewpoint.
  6. I chose my business model and choose to remain in it because it most closely utilizes my skills, strengths and passions.
  7. I also choose my friends and colleagues. I don’t go along with a friendship that doesn’t feel right just because that person pursued me.
  8. Any spirituality I practice feeds my soul.
  9. I have aspirations and goals. I spend time thinking about them and taking action toward those that are most important to me.
  10. Anyone looking at my life from the outside would see what I value because I walk my talk.
  11. When I or a family member is sick, I listen to the appropriate health care provider. If the advice doesn’t feel right, I get a second or even third opinion.
  12. On the rare occasion when I let someone break a boundary or persuade me to do something I don’t want to do, as soon as I’m aware of it, I take steps to stop and correct the situation.

If you answered false more often than true, you may wish to clarify what is truly important to you and then find ways to bring your business and life into greater alignment with those values. Please don’t hesitate to book a free breakthrough session if you’d like support in doing this.

A woman hitting the money glass ceilingWondering how to tell if you’ve hit the money glass ceiling?

The path to abundance is strewn with roadblocks that can keep diverting you from reaching and enjoying the richness in your life and business that is your birthright.

If you’ve found yourself stuck at roughly the same income level no matter how hard you work or what you do then chances are you’ve hit your self imposed money glass ceiling.

This glass ceiling is an invisible barrier that you co-created and inherited from your family and other significant people from your childhood then re-enforced over your lifetime.

Money is simply a mirror of how much you value yourself and how much you are prepared to show up in your life.  This is reflected in the amount you are willing to receive.  No-where is this more tested than when running your own business.

And the reason you feel trapped and find yourself repeating the same patterns over and over again is because these beliefs are buried deep and lurking in your sub-conscious.  That’s why knowing this intellectually is not enough because it is your subconscious that is really running the show.

Consciously and logically you know you are skilled, experienced, and capable of so much more yet you fall short of your own expectations so begin to question and doubt that you can achieve your goals.

The good news is it is totally within your control to change your negative beliefs and heal your relationship with money.  The little known secret to increase your net-worth is to increase your self-worth.

It is our self-worth perception that holds us back or spurs us forward.  This is why all the efforting you engage in is often frustrating and fruitless if deep down you don’t truly believe you are worthy of being paid what you are worth.

Also be alert to the notion that how you do money is how you do everything.

Like peeling back the layers of an artichoke to get to the heart of the matter you can start identifying the negative beliefs you hold about yourself and eliminate them one by one, replacing them with empowering beliefs instead.

There are 4 emotional undercurrents to be aware of.

  • rejection
  • fear
  • guilt
  • shame

Remember, it is your thoughts that create your emotions and how you feel creates your actions which in turn affect your outcomes.

In the moment, when you notice feelings come up that cause you tightness or restriction – stop and ask yourself “What am I telling myself that is making me uncomfortable”?  Listening to your answer will unearth the disempowering belief that is likely to be driving your actions.

For example, a common limiting belief (especially for women) is the recurring theme of “I’m not good enough”.  A more empowering belief would be “I’m perfect, right now, just as I am”.

If you really want to breakthrough your money glass ceiling, heal your relationship with money and increase abundance in all areas of your life, including your business then cleaning up your mindset is a critical place to start.  Get started today!

Service based business owners and entrepreneurs are used to juggling a myriad of things and can often put up with issues or behaviour that holds them back instead of dealing with it and nipping it in the bud. One reason for this is they often don’t consider the real cost of toleration and simply learn to live with it.

Or so it seems. What’s really happening is their tolerance level is being stretched incrementally but just like a rubber band there’ll come a time when it will snap! And that’s when the peanut butter hits the fan and dramas are created. Dramas that can be avoided by taking action to address the situation sooner rather than later.

The best way I know to get into action is to ‘put a pencil to it’ meaning calculate what it is costing you to put up with (fill in the blank)!

A few common scenarios you could be tolerating.

  • Undercharging for the value you deliver
  • Discounting your fees even before a client asks
  • Giving away services that discount your value
  • Keeping an underperforming team member
  • Buckling in to an over demanding client
  • Supporting an unsatisfactory supplier
  • Permitting others to waste your time
  • Putting other’s needs ahead of your own

Now let’s extrapolate just one of these and see what the real cost of toleration adds up to in actual dollar terms.

Putting other’s needs ahead of your own

How much of your time is taken up by looking after friends, family and non-paying potential clients? Time you could be spending on your business. Think about an average day in your business then estimate the amount of time you spend looking after others needs that prevents you from using that time. Time is the one resource that’s not replenishable – once spent it’s gone forever.

Now, for our example let’s be conservative and say it’s just 1 hour a day, 5 days a week. That’s tallies up to 20 hours each and every month and remember when it comes to business, time is money. So let’s say your time is worth $100 hour (remember we’re being conservative here). That’s $2,000 every month you’re not charging out which comes to $24,000 annually.

Add to that the cost of missed opportunities. Opportunities that passed you by because you were ‘busy’ looking after others needs instead of minding your own business!

Ask yourself, what else could you have done with that time to create more income in your business? For instance, 5 hours each and every week spent on marketing would surely generate new clients. Even 1 extra new client a week would add up wouldn’t it?

Conservatively,  let’s say a new client is worth $1,000 (this could be more or less in your specific business) which means you’re like as not leaving an extra $4,000 each and every month on the table. That’s a whopping $48,000 each and every year that you can never get back.

It doesn’t take long to add up does it?

My coach’s request to you is to pick just one instance where you’ve been tolerating the situation and ‘put a pencil to it’ to come up with the real cost of toleration. Then all you need to do is decide specific actions you will take to change the situation and by when. The sooner the better!

If you want some help finding the money leaks in your business take advantage of my free 30 minute money breakthrough discovery session

Do you value being seen and heard?

Do you want to have truly successful relationships?

Do you want to make an impact on others?

Then speak up!

Of course, for some people, that’s easier said than done. You might prefer to train wild tigers than tell another person what’s really on your mind. But it is possible to develop an assertiveness connected to head and heart that clears the way for honest, empowered living—without being rude to others or surrendering to “nice-itis.”

“We all need to learn to dance in rhythm to the beat of our own soul,” writes Kelly Bryson in his book, Don’t Be Nice, Be Real: Balancing Passion for Self with Compassion for Others.

Those who stay mum when they would be better off speaking their mind do so for a variety of reasons:

•  Fear of being rejected. Any time you risk disclosing yourself, you become vulnerable. Communications skills, such as those taught in Non-Violent Communication (NVC) or Powerful Non-Defensive Communication (PNDC), teach how to combine vulnerability with strength and compassion for powerful connections.

•  Fear of not being approved of. If you speak up and tell others what you want you might risk their disapproval but so what. Your self-worth does not need to depend on the good opinion of others.

•  Fear of what you would tell yourself if you or any requests you make are rejected. If you speak up and tell your colleague how much you would like to go out with him, you definitely risk rejection. But if you are rejected, does that really mean you’re unlovable? Destined to a life alone? Or is that just a story you tell yourself?

•  Fear of hurting feelings. Related to this is the belief that it is better to please others, even at your own expense. As Bryson points out, being Mr. or Mrs. Nice Guy or Gal is actually a form of violence to yourself and others, and an escape from a fully lived life.

•  Fear of being judged. Worrying about what others think can be a real drain on your confidence but holding your tongue will eat away at you from the inside as your self-worth is diminished. On the other hand, speaking up will build your confidence muscle and you’ll begin to care less and less what others think.

•  Fear of “rocking the boat,” or upsetting the status quo. The writer Muriel Rukeyser spoke to this fear in her memorable quote: “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.”

•  Fear that you have nothing worth saying. Years of poor self-image can lead to this and result in eroding your self-worth.

•  Fear of sparking a conflict. If you have an abusive or volatile family history, you may have learned to keep quiet or be invisible to avoid confrontation. And yet the danger is that constant suppression of powerful feelings can lead to frustration and possibly aggressive or abusive behavior. As Rollo May writes in his book, Power and Innocence, powerlessness is the precursor to violence.

It is important to distinguish between being assertive and being aggressive. Aggression trespasses on another’s boundaries without regard for feelings. Assertiveness, on the other hand, communicates feelings, thoughts and needs clearly and directly.

One of my grand daughters who was 5 at the time told me while we were on the phone that she was a chatterbox. I told her that’s OK and that I was too. She excitedly called to her mum that Grandma’s a chatterbox too! I also told her to never hold her tongue, if she’s got something to say – then speak up! The days of children being seen and not heard are over.

All the same, speaking up after years of zipping your lips may not be easy. You may need to take baby steps—take classes or workshops, consult with a counselor, join an assertiveness support group or work with a coach. But the payoff is more effective relationships, genuine intimacy and, more than anything, an increased feeling of self-respect and empowerment.

Do you give it all away? Most of us have been taught that it is better to give than to receive. While giving can be a wonderful, heart-warming experience, giving too much of our time and energy can be detrimental to both our physical and emotional health, leading to anxiety, overwhelm and even burnout.

For a business owner this can have far worse ramifications and may keep you struggling to create a sustainable income and possibly even lead to losing your business.

Take this quick quiz to see if you give it all away.

  1. I force myself to do things even when I don’t have the energy to do them.
  2. I ignore my body’s “no” signals when I think someone’s needs are greater than mine.
  3. I feel obligated to answer the phone when it rings even when I’m in the middle of something that’s important to me.
  4. I hate conflict, so I’ll do whatever it takes to avoid it, which often means doing something I don’t want to do.
  5. The amount of time I spend listening to others far exceeds the amount of time that others really listen to me.
  6. I feel guilty if I don’t answer all the emails I receive.
  7. In order to provide luxuries for my family I work many more hours than I want to.
  8. I schedule my work time around my clients’ needs rather than around my own preferences.
  9. I can’t say no when people in need ask me for money.
  10. When I’m out to dinner with people who have less money than I do, I feel obligated to pick up the cheque.
  11. I volunteer for my place of worship or other organisations even if I don’t have the time.
  12. People won’t like me if I say no so I usually say yes and then often resent it.
  13. I’m the person everyone calls when they need help: a babysitter, chauffeur, or someone to fill in when they’ve made a commitment they can’t keep
  14. My children’s happiness comes before mine. I’ll do whatever it takes to make them happy.
  15. I have a hard time saying no to my partner because I want them to be happy, even if saying yes makes me unhappy.
  16. I feel selfish if I don’t share what I have with others.

If you answered true more often than false, you may want to find ways to create more balance in your life by getting clear on your values and priorities and learn more about boundary setting.

Please don’t hesitate to book a free money breakthrough discovery session with me if you’d like to explore more about how to have a healthy relationship with money.

Fulfillment in life is related to how well you are living in alignment with your values. Values are not morals or principles. They are the essence of who you are – not who you think you should be and certainly not who others think you should be. For instance, money is not a value, whereas the things that money might buy, such as free time, adventures, and being of service are values. When you’re aligned with your values, you feel inner harmony, your choices are made more easily, and your actions are in accord with your true self. Take this quiz to see how well you are living in sync with your values.

1.  I have spent time clarifying my values and can easily articulate them.

2.  My values are my own. I have not simply adopted them from parents, teachers or other outside influences.

3.  I based my choice of occupation on my deepest values.

4.  My values are in alignment with the company I own (or work for).

5.  My business associates and I regularly examine how we are living up to our values and mission.

6.  I turn down money-making or status-building opportunities when they conflict with my values.

7.  In resolving disputes, I look beneath the apparent problem to see if values are being dishonored, and then I seek ways to honor them.

8.  Anyone looking at my life from the outside would see what I value – I walk my talk.

9.  I use my values as a guidepost for making decisions. I ask if a particular choice would bring me closer to – or further from – a core value.

10.  When I feel upset, it’s almost always because my values are being trample – either by me, someone else, or the situation.

11.  I am not easily swayed by others’ opinions when they conflict with my values.

12.  To remain open and flexible, I am willing to re-examine my values to determine whether something is still true for me.

13.  I find creative ways to honor all of my values – even when they conflict with one another.

14.  My business/work values are in harmony with my personal and relationship values.

15.  If I live according to my values, I will feel satisfied and successful throughout my life.

If you answered false more often than true, you may wish to clarify your deepest values and bring your life into greater alignment with them. Please don’t hesitate to call if you’d like support in doing this.

Burnout happens when we burn the candle at both ends and in today’s fast paced world that’s fairly typical so it’s getting harder and harder to avoid burnout.

In today’s “go, go, go” society, we idealise the pink Energizer Bunny® that beats his drum non-stop. As the battery commercial says, “He keeps going and going and…”

And so do we.

We work long hours, days and sometimes weeks without a break. Some business owners never take a holiday and some employees don’t even take advantage of their entire vacation time. Then we pack our non-work hours with more activities.

But taking breaks—whether for a short walk or a long vacation—helps you avoid burnout, improve mental health and reduce the likelihood of stress-related illnesses that sometimes accompanies the “don’t stop ’til you drop” attitude. Breaks encourage the discovery of fresh perspectives and new ideas. They are a delicious reward for hard work, a pause that reinvigorates.

If you feel overwhelmed, depleted or under-energised, chances are you’re suffering from burnout and it’s time for you to take a break. These three practices will help you renew, recharge and refresh:

 Get up and walk or stretch. If you spend most of your day at a computer or stuck in one place, get up and move around for a few minutes several times a day. At least hourly is ideal and have a good stretch as well. Experts constantly warn that sedentary people are at increased risk of developing health issues, such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Also, most of us are stuck at a computer for hours on end. Looking away from a computer screen for even one minute now and then can give your eyes—and mind—a much-needed break. According to the Mayo Clinic, although eyestrain can be annoying, it usually isn’t serious and can be relieved by resting your eyes.

On the other hand, if you are running yourself ragged, chasing after kids or keeping up a hectic pace, carving out a half-hour for a nap or some rest and relaxation will do wonders for your body and soul. Even most athletes recognise the importance of resting after intense exercise. It’s essential to high-level performance and allows the body to repair and strengthen itself.

Take a day off. When, or even better, before you start to dread getting up in the morning, take a mental health day every now and then. Do whatever recharges you, whether that’s soaking in a bubble bath, reading a book, going for a round of golf or even having lunch with friends. The idea here is to take a break before you get sick, depressed or feel overwhelmed.

Plan a vacation. Whether you have one week or a month off a year, make sure to take every moment of it. Or if you decide that a “stay-cation” or “play-cation” is your best option, figure out in advance how to make the best of the time you will spend in and around your home or city.

According to Karen Matthews of the University of Pittsburgh’s Mind-Body Center, “It is important to engage in multiple leisure activities, both as a way to enjoy life more, but also to potentially have a benefit on health and be a stress reliever.”

It’s up to you to discover when it’s time to take a break from your business or job, or whatever your regular routine is. Taking breaks—big or small—helps you remain motivated and excited about your life. You want to be the Energizer Bunny? Take time to recharge!

 

Do you sometimes feel like you’re the leading character in the movie Ground Hog Day? You know where the guy wakes up and repeats the same situation over and over and over again! Well, while it makes for an entertaining movie it’s not what you need in your own real life, is it?

Well, you may not realise it but when unfavorable situations, actions and emotional conflicts happen again and again in your life—same scene, different characters—there’s a good chance you are in the clutches of a negative “pattern.”

Some examples: In business – taking on clients who pay late or not at all. Or if you have a job, constant conflict with co-workers or always getting to report to the boss from hell. On the personal front – chronic debt creation, picking the wrong lovers/partners, people-pleasing.

At best, these negative patterns cause frustration. At worst, they cause undue suffering, uphill struggle, sometimes even death.

The good news is: you have the power to change these negative patterns. Below are some ways to begin to disrupt them so that you can start laying down new, more positive patterns.

Become aware.

I don’t believe you need to turn yourself inside out and dig into all your bad habits to discover where they came from and why you keep repeating negative patterns. I use the analogy that when you walk into a dark room – you don’t need to chase away the dark, you simply have to turn on the light and the darkness is gone. Just like magic!

No matter how entrenched a pattern seems, the act of noticing begins the shift away from damaging thoughts or behaviors. Put simply, you can’t change what you’re not aware of.

One way to become aware is to just sit with your thoughts and watch for the patterns. The goal here is to notice, that’s all.

In this step, focus your awareness on just the facts and feelings of the patterns. Don’t let your mind wander into the analysis of “why” you have them right now, for it will likely try to justify and defend the pattern. You can analyze later (see below); for now, just notice.

Also, ask people you trust to help you see the patterns. Our blind spots are called “blind” for a reason; we just don’t see them. But they’ll be clear as day to others.

Discover the hidden payoff.

Becoming aware of your negative patterns, you see evidence they are disserving, perhaps even damaging, you. For example, your pattern of conflict with co-workers has gotten you fired several times, and now your resume reflects that pattern, too.

The key to interrupting negative patterns is to understand this: we generally don’t keep repeating behaviors unless, on some level, we get something good out of them.

These hidden reasons are known as “payoffs,” and they either help you get more of something you want or avoid something you don’t want.

In the example above, the person in constant conflict with co-workers could be using the conflict to cover up deep insecurity with his/her work quality. The conflict, in effect, distracts from scrutiny.

Or the conflict could stem from uncensored outspokenness. The person may have an oppressive situation at home and being excessively frank at work may allow them to feel powerful and self-expressed in at least one arena of life.

Look for (and create) positive patterns.

One of the best ways to disrupt the negative patterns that may be wreaking havoc with your life is to also study the positive patterns in your life. For these can be “grafted” onto your negative patterns with great success.

For example, you can utilize the discipline you’ve always had around working out regularly to stop using credit to finance your lifestyle.

Consider your negative patterns as the pipes to your backyard pond that are old and clogged with mineral build-up. Laying new pipes (positive patterns) could be the easiest, quickest and most effective solution.

 

The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has been in the mainstream for decades. Long-term studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a higher sense of well-being, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery and other health set backs.

A personal example – when I snapped my kneecap in two following a fall, I had emergency surgery where screws and wires were used to hold the two halves together to mend. I went home the following day and I was so grateful I hadn’t done any further harm. I could have smashed my face and teeth or suffered a head injury or worse. The surgeon did a fantastic job plus you can barely see the scar. More reason to be grateful. Throughout my recovery I continued to give thanks daily as I did my rehab exercises then sat on the couch watching the birds visit my garden. I was back driving in three weeks, playing golf by five weeks and totally fit and strong in just two months.

But while we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it can still be difficult to sustain each and every day. So many of us are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. And for gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word. We have to learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit. And that can take some time.

That’s why practicing gratitude daily is essential. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing.

Remember that gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Pain and injustice exist in this world, but when we focus on the gifts of life, we gain a feeling of well-being. Gratitude balances us and gives us hope. It also delivers better outcomes!

There are many things to be grateful for: clean water, legs that work, friends who have your back, chocolate, fresh eggs, warm jumpers, strawberries, the ability to read & write, flowers, our health, butterflies. What’s on your list?

Some Simple Ways to Practice Gratitude 

  • Keep a gratitude journal where you list things that you are thankful for. Whether you make daily, weekly or monthly lists it’s important to keep the journal where you can see it to remind you to think in a grateful way.
  • Make a gratitude collage with pictures, drawings and words.
  • Practice gratitude around the dinner table where everyone shares what they are most grateful for each and every day.
  • Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.
  • Don’t complain, make a gratitude list instead. You will be amazed by how much better you feel.
  • Notice how gratitude is impacting your life. Write about it, sing about it, express thanks for gratitude.

As you practice, an inner shift begins to occur, and you will be delighted to discover how content and hopeful you feel. That sense of fulfillment is actually gratitude at work. Better and better!