For over 10 years I worked in learning and development, creating courses and online training for multinational companies. Whilst doing that I learnt a lot about how people learn and how we hold and retain information.
There are many ways to give information but to give information which sticks and is remembered, now there's an art form.
As humans we all absorb information through our senses and we don't all absorb information in the same way, but why should you as an entrepreneur care?
Why should learning styles matter for a professional?
Because we're all in the business of giving and sharing information. Whether you think it or not every time you speak you're sharing information and if you don't know about learning styles you're probably getting incredibly frustrated because you have to repeat yourself over and over or because someone just doesn't get what you're trying to tell them.
It also works for yourself, if you've ever been told something and its not sunk in or you have a list of 10 things to buy and you never remember them all.
The information we receive can be communicated in different ways. Understanding your style can enable you to request information in a way which you find easy to understand and remember.
I love improving efficiency and also making life easy so learning styles is top of my list when it comes to helping people ease their frustrations.
The most common learning styles
There are many profiling tools out there from Belbin's team types to Myers Briggs but I like to use the following two. I chose these for you because we're not profiling teams in large companies, we want simple tools to help us understand ourselves better. These two are simple, quick tools and give you enough for your needs.
Before we get into these a quick few words of warning, I've seen these tools used many times to put people in boxes. This doesn't account for the complexities of being human. We are all neuroplastic, ie we're constantly learning, so I encourage an approach based on awareness and flexibility rather than labelling people. We all have the ability to access all of these styles, my question is always what would be helpful to you, rather than a rigid 'I'm an x'.
1) Honey and Mumford's Learning Styles. Based on the work of Kolb this approach breaks down learning styles into 4 areas. Pragmatist, Activist, Theorist and Reflector. Below highlights the characteristics for each of the areas. You can be more than one.
Pragmatist - These people like to see the real world application of something. Games and abstract scenarios don't work for them. They like to experiments, try it out and see if it works.
Activists - These people learn by doing. They need to get their hands dirty and have a non-biased approach to new things. They jump in with both feet and give themselves fully to the learning experience.
Theorist - These people like the models, concepts and facts. They need to see the theory behind the learning. They like to analyse, theorise and bring new learning into a new model or formula.
Reflector - These people like to step back and observe, they like to take in all the information before giving their thoughts and opinions. They like to look at all the perspectives and then contribute to the learning.
As you can see all of these have their benefits and all can be useful to aiding the ability to absorb and retain information. Perhaps think about which styles you are more comfortable with, ask yourself is this helpful for you. Also asking what other people prefer and aiming to give information in a style which they find easy. Understanding this can really improve your success.
2) VAK. This is an NLP technique I learnt many years ago and it's still one of my favourites. I use this with all my clients to understand how they think so I can deliver information in a way which matches them. This model breaks down into our 5 senses Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic, Olfactory and Gusfactory. I've excluded the O and G as we don't tend to lick and sniff things as our most used option in a business context.
Visual - what we absorb through our eyes. If this is your preferred sense when recalling a memory you'll see it like a picture. You'll use your hands when talking and also visualise images easily.
Auditory - what we absorb through our ears. If this is your preferred sense how something sounds will be important to you, you'll love words and how they sound. You'll have an attuned ear which picks up on the smallest sounds.
Kineasthetic - what we absorb through feeling. If this is your preferred sense you'll feel the atmosphere of the room, you'll wear your heart on your sleeve and how someone is feeling will really matter to you.
As with the previous model you can be more than one. Knowing your ability means you can use your strengths to receive information in your preferred style eg visual people need it written down, auditory need it spoken and kinaesthetic people need to feel it's right.
I explore learning styles when I work with clients so if you'd like to know more about your preferred balance and how this impacts your actions and communications, book a free Mindset Review today.
I hope this post has helped you to realise the importance of learning styles and given you two simple ones which you can get started with.
It's always nice to hear your findings, so feel free to share your style in the comments and lets continue the conversation.
Until next time
Your values are what makes you, you. They're your inner moral compass and let you know what's right and what's wrong. They can be very powerful and when you go against them it can negatively affect both your mental and physical health.
What I find is that most people don't know what they're values are.
So if you're finding yourself conflicted in your work, life or struggling with stress related illness maybe it's time you make sure you're not fighting your inner moral compass on a daily basis.
A previous client of mine put it so elequently:
"I reached the top level of my industry by never compromising my values. Regardless of if that meant losing out on additional income or financial growth. For me success without integrity isn’t success at all, it’s sacrifice." Lisa Holroyd
Any business problem, especially for solopreneurs or small teams reflects a personal challenge. When you're not right, the business isn't right and how can you feel right when you don't know what's important to you?
Many of my previous clients have pinned their values up on their notice board at work or on their fridge at home as a constant reminder to follow what's important to them, they find it makes decision making a lot easier.
It's also helpful to know you values in priority order as this can help you make those really tough decisions. For example if making one decision answered one value but making the opposite choice matched another, eg tell the person the truth or hold on to the respect for a colleague. Tough choice but if you knew that truth was higher on your values list, you'd feel more confident to make that choice. So a priority values list can really help you in many areas of your life.
I have a really nifty way of finding out the priority order of your values using unconscious strength testing. Here's a picture of a group doing it at a workshop last year. It's great because your unconscious knows the truth and you don't have to force yourself to decide.
Your values are fundamental to your happiness and it's always really interesting when you suddenly realise how people with different values affect your interactions and relationships. I also teach you how to increase your confidence whilst also respecting other people's values. If you suffer with self-doubt or imposter syndrome, this can be a life changing revelation.
In summary your values are in integral part of who you are, if you feel hurt by someone else's comments, find it hard to let go of particular conversations or feel at loggerheads with yourself, your values will be to blame.
If you'd like to find out what your values are, in a prioritised top ten list and learn how to respect others whilst keeping your values intact apply for the Refreshed Minds Mindset programme.
Mindset Programme - Apply Here
For now, notice when something hurts, notice what you get on your soapbox about or what you can't stand in others. All of these are clues as to what really matter to you and therefore to the values which you hold dear.
Until next time
A few weeks ago I delivered a talk to a wonderful group of ladies in Ilkley, the talks was titled, 'Brain Basics and How to Get What You Want.' I introduced them to Meta Programs and the impact these unconscious programs have on their actions and decisions on a daily basis. It was a roaring success, each of them went away with a new strategy which they knew would work for them, they absolutely loved it so I'm going to share the wonder of Meta Programs with you too.
What are Meta Programs?
NLP Meta programs (Neuro Linguistic Programming) determine which of your perceptions are selected for your attention. They are the key to the way you process information and impact every element of your actions, behaviour and decisions.
Each person has their own mix of meta programs and understanding both yours and other people's can unlock the art of effective communication and enable you to get much better results both personally and professionally.
Although most people will have a general preference when it comes to each Meta Program they aren't static. Each Meta Program works on a 'slider' with two opposing ends, everyone has the ability to utilise both, practising a particular approach would improve your ability and you may utilise a different approach for particular situations. That's what makes Meta Programs so interesting.
An example to get you started...
In this example one side of the Meta Program represents Same and the other represents Difference. Remember you can be anywhere along the line.
People who like 'Same' love routine, they like things to stay the same and they get flustered when things change. People who like 'Difference' love variety, they find change exhilarating and fun. Difference people get bored by routine and are always looking for new things to try.
Where would you plot yourself on this line? Do you love routine or thrive on trying new things?
This is just one of about 50 meta programs but it gives you an idea of what it's all about and gets you started.
The impact of Meta Programs
So what, I hear you ask. Well imagine you have a conversation and one person is 'Same' and the other is 'Difference', how is that conversation going to go?
Perhaps you have a small team and you want to announce some changes......perhaps now you understand why some people jump straight on board and others think it's the worst thing that has ever happened to them.
You will always enter a situation from your own Meta Program as will anyone else, so understanding them and learning how to maximise their potential can have amazing impacts on your ability to communicate, negotiate, influence and even sell.
Want to find out more of your Meta Programs?
I hope you've enjoyed that introduction to Meta Programs, if you'd like to find out more of yours and learn how to use them to get more of what you want join me on the Refreshed Minds Mindset Programme. Along with teaching you more about Meta Programs we can also find out what your Values are and also your Representational Systems too. Apply below
Until next time.
Growing up in the countryside I've always been an avid lover of nature but recently I've discovered studies which demonstrate it's health benefits far outweigh just that nice fuzzy feeling you get from the fresh air on your face.
This study from Japan’s Chiba University on 280 subjects in their 20s showed that just 30 minutes in the forest environment promoted lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity. In effect time spent amongst the trees made the subjects less amped, calming their fight or flight and boosting their rest and digest systems.
Trees can soothe the spirit too, in this study 498 healthy volunteers were studied for the psychological effects of forest bathing. The study found that being amongst the trees resulted in less hostility and depression.
Still not convinced? In 2009 Qing Li, a professor at Nippon Medical School found increased NK (natural killer) cell activity in the week after time spend in the forest, a benefit which lasted a month after each weekend in the woods. These NK cells are in the immune system and provide rapid-response to viral infected cells and tumor formation. Spending time in the trees can promote a healthy immune system and cancer prevention.
All of this research, and a personal love of nature is why when I decided to create a workshop to support entrepreneurs to reconnect with their true selves I chose to deliver the workshop in a woodland setting.
The Reconnect With You Workshop
It is also the reason why I chose to build my office last year in the garden, amongst the trees. In the past I've rented office space in the city and also in a wellbeing centre but you just can't match the health benefits and calming feeling of being amongst nature.
The Refresh Shed
Need a healing, self-development day in the woods?
Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is to take a step back to think, to reconnect to what's important to you and to understand the way you think so you can be better equipped to deal with life's challenges. All the details for my next Reconnect With You workshops are below.
Make sure you get out amongst those trees and enjoy all the health benefits it brings for us busy entrepreneurs.
Until next time
I've just got back from a refreshing Easter weekend away. Just like you before the long weekend I'd been working my butt off and I was counting down the sleeps till my weekend away. I couldn't wait to kick back, forget about the world and just knew I'd return energised, refreshed and raring to go.
Psychologists have shown that holidays are mentally beneficial. They allow you to distance yourself from the people, pressures and demands of life and instead immerse yourself in new places, new cultures and cuisine. Holidays give you the opportunity for a good night's sleep and to drift from experience to experience rather than focusing on one thing for long hours. They can refresh you physically and mentally but how long does that feeling actually last?
How long does the holiday feeling last?
A comprehensive meta-analysis study by Jessica de Bloom, now at the University of Tampere in Finland, demonstrated that these benefits generally fade within two to four weeks. In fact in one study of 96 Dutch workers that energetic, less tense feeling dissipated after just one week!
A holiday is like eating a piece of chocolate fudge cake, an immense pleasure that doesn't last very long. It's unrealistic to live permanently on holiday for most of us so if we want to excel ourselves towards more happiness, energy and productivity what's the alternative?
How to stay mentally healthy
Leslie Perlow of the Harvard Business School and her colleagues tracked the habits of employees at the Boston Consulting Group, after five months of regular time off and restful evenings employees reported they were more satisfied with their jobs, more content with their work-life balance, more likely to see a future for themselves with the company and prouder of their achievements.
So what time do you clock off work to enjoy your evenings? How often do you allow yourself time off, without thinking about work?
It looks like prioritising your rest/downtime actually has a significant impact on your happiness, energy and productivity. Perhaps you need to relook at your life and make some adjustments. Want to start with rest right now? Download my 10 minute Rest and Refresh audio and I'll deliver it straight to your Facebook Messenger. Don't wait till your holiday, boost that refreshed feeling every day.
So, do you wait for your holiday to rest or do you make it part of everyday life? What stops you from resting? What tips do you have for others? Please do join the conversation by commenting below.
Until next time
You may not be a Fortune 500 company but that doesn't mean you can't learn from the projects they spend millions of pounds and years investing in, Tony Schwartz, a journalist and CEO of The Energy Project has worked with companies like Google, Apple, Ford and many others helping them revolutionise their understanding of downtime and energy.
The Energy Project's strategy relies in part on the idea I fully support of regularly topping up physical and mental energy. Schwartz says, 'People are working so many hours that not only in most cases do they not have more hours they could work, but there's also strong evidence that when they work for too long they get diminishing returns in terms of health costs and emotional costs."
You may believe that busier is better, and watched endless You Tube videos telling you that in order to be successful you have work harder/more hours but this goes against the findings of so many research studies. It's great to hear that large companies are starting to understand the reality of human functioning and the benefits of downtime on productivity.
Schwartz says that time and time again his strategies of sleep, power naps, meditation and doing the most challenging tasks first thing in the morning have pushed workers' overall engagement well above the average level and that Google has been satisfied enough to keep up the partnership for more than five years.
If it's good enough for Google, it's good enough for us.
Are you being productive or just a busy fool?
If you are working a ridiculously long hour week and aren't getting your downtime you aren't being productive....FACT!!!
Research has shown that regularly working long hours is actually detrimental to your productivity. It is not sustainable nor conducive to the function of learning or mental processing. It can actually leads to negative symptoms like imposter syndrome and feeling overwhelmed. I talked about this connection in this blog.
So what are you going to start doing today to readdress the balance?
In my experience revolutionising your life is unlikely to stick. I recommend picking 2 or 3 small things which you can do differently and focus on doing those consistently. Suggestions may be:
Remember if it's good enough for Google, it's good enough for you. Update your belief about how to be the most productive, decide on one or two things which are really going to work for you and commit to doing them consistently and take some steps to readdress your balance.
I hope that's helped
Until next time
PS. If you're struggling to rest, would like support in improving your mindset or help to let go of limiting beliefs book a complimentary 30 minute Mindset Review and I'll happily give you some help.
Nearly all the entrepreneurs I chat to experience some kind of imposter syndrome (that feeling you're going to be found out/aren't good enough), many also say they are experiencing symptoms of feeling overwhelmed. And yet when I chat to them and ask, 'how much time do you give yourself to rest' they laugh and say, 'I don't have time to rest'. I then find out what they do when they're not working and usually find they either have very little time when they're not and/or they fill their time with activities like facebook, instagram and watching TV.
It is averaged that in any given day we are bombarded with the equivalent of 174 newspapers of information and in this blog (Why Resting Isn't Idle) I talked about how resting is far from being idle but a fundamental process in helping us to understand the information we receive.
If you are experiencing symptoms of imposter syndrome or feeling overwhelmed then you may be guilty of taking in so much information every day but not giving yourself the mental time you need to process it? You are suffering from information overload.
How to stop the negative impacts of information overload
At first making changes to the way in which you live can be hard and take practise but we are learning beings and so long as your reasons are big enough any new behaviour will form a habit pretty quickly. Take a look at your life at the moment and assess the following:
1) How much information do you take in each day? What can you reduce? - Since information comes into your life at all times these days and the high from social media is addictive you need your own self-discipline. Focus on the things you can change, turn off your notifications and set some boundaries which you feel are reasonable eg I'll look at social media twice a day for 10 minutes and that's it or I can plan one evening per week when I don't watch TV.
2) Make time and give yourself permission to rest - this is time to daydream and process information, not watch TV, read a book etc. Go for a walk and actually enjoy the walk, sit looking out of the window or ponder the world whilst you drink your coffee. It may take practise and feel a little weird at first but it is worth it.
Get used to your own thoughts, don't assess them, action them or get worried by them, they are just a thought and they can come as fast as they can go. This time is about giving your unconscious mind time to process, make connections and strengthen your mental pathways of learning.
If you're struggling, download my 10 minute audio and give it a listen. When you start this practise of resting it may feel strange so listening to someone talking you through it can make it easier.
Some people also rest by doing, if that's you thats absolutely fine but pick an action which is mundane and repetitive, something which requires no new learning or much cognitive application examples may be doing a jigsaw, washing dishes, walking, running, climbing etc. For people who rest by doing these repetitive actions distract your conscious mind and allow you to focus on processing your day. If you're not daydreaming the action is too involved!!!!
Most important of all, change your belief that resting is a nice to have, or that by resting you're being lazy, resting is a fundamental human function and without it you struggle to process life!!
Want a whole day of resting, recouping and reconnecting with who you are? Details for my next Reconnect With You workshop can be found by clicking below and join me in the woods for a whole day of mental processing which can help you refocus, re-energise and overcome your symptoms of imposter syndrome and overwhelm.
Until next time
Click here: Reconnect With You 1 day Workshop
Did you know that your brain demands 20% of all the energy the human body produces and only demands 5-10% more energy than usual when someone is solving a math problem or reading a book. In his research Marcus E Raichle also noticed that a particular set of brain regions consistently became less active when someone concentrated on a mental challgenge but began to fire in synchrony when someone was lying still in a functional MRI scanner, letting their thoughts wander.
This circuit which mysteriously came alive when people were daydreaming eventually became known as the default mode network (DMN) and is one of the most researched of the resting state networks.
In recent research Mary Helen Immordino-Yang of the University of Southern California and her co-authors found that the resting mind is anything but idle and instead downtime is in fact essential to mental processes that affirm our identities, develop our understanding of human behaviour and install an internal code of ethics.
Downtime is when we mentally rehearse conversations to help us develop deeper understanding, it helps us process the day's learning and also gives us the ability to reflect our external world inward to boost our productivity, creative thinking and reasoning.
6 ways your mind/body is telling you to rest
So when was the last time you gave yourself permission to rest? And when I say rest that doesn't necessarily mean a week long vacation or a day off at a spa. If you are struggling with any of these symptoms it can be a sign that you need to increase the amount of rest you experience in your day.
Our minds need rest as much as our bodies need vitamin D so reframe your belief that rest means being idle, it's actually a fundamental function of how the human mind works.
What would you do if you were free of the symptoms above? How would your life improve? How would you feel??
How to get more rest and still get things done
How many times a day do you worry, stress and think about the symptoms above? How much time does that take from your day?
What if you were to readdress where you spend your mental energy and spend that time resting instead? Doing this isn't easy, it takes practise but you can absolutely get started and I promise you it will have an amazing impact on your life and your ability to achieve.
It doesn't have to take long, a couple of research studies suggest just 10-20 minutes per day can make a positive impact.
This is why I created my 10 minute Rest and Refresh Audio, so you can have a go and see what a difference it makes. Click below to download the audio and make resting an important part of your day.
If you are someone who struggles to relax, that's absolutely fine. There are many different ways to relax. Not everyone relaxes by taking a breath or drifting off to a beach. If you need help learning how to relax/rest get in touch I can certainly help.
Until next time
If you are feeling overwhelmed, pressured, lost, drained or just full of negative thoughts....this is for you. It's the month of love so I'm going to give you 3 reasons why you should fall in love with your unconscious mind.
This part of your mind is the most amazing tool, lets have some fun and teach you how to use it.
What your unconscious mind is not......
Before we start I want to dispel a few myths. So many people are afraid of their unconscious and what it might 'do'. They don't want to go there in case it opens pandora's box or does something they 'can't reverse'. So lets just get a few things straight.
1) Your unconscious is yours and it's number one role is to keep you safe. It will always continue to do that.
2) Your unconscious is where your beliefs and values are held so anything which goes against those isn't going to be entertained.
3) You control your mind, it's up to you what you do, where you go etc. If something is too big, you can break it down or just not even go there, it's always your choice.
4) Your unconscious is like a small child, it can be mischievous at times, it likes lots of praise and support, it's not malicious or unkind.
5) You do it already!! You already access this type of thinking every day, when you're day-dreaming, driving the car, reading a book, watching TV, sitting on the toilet etc etc.......
Ok with that put to bed lets move onto the wonderful things your unconscious mind can do.
3 reasons why you should love your unconscious
Lets dive straight in.....
1) It holds all the answers: Your unconscious mind is like a massive library of everything you've ever experienced, learnt, believed etc....it has so much information and you can access it. When you sit and slow your brainwaves down, ease and slow.....you throw open the doors and if you listen it will give you the answer to your questions......eg. Where are my keys, why am I feeling annoyed, what's the right thing for me to do etc. You have the wealth of power at your fingertips, if you'd just sit down, be quiet and listen.
2) It's creative and fun: Your unconscious mind is where your creativity and imagination are, if you allow it, you can have some real fun. So often this gift is trained out of us, as a child we had the ability to laterally think, to invent and imagine. What would you give to unleash that fun spirit again?? How many great ideas could you create, if you let yourself? Sometimes it's not about being in the box, it's about showing yourself you can enjoy jumping out of it.
3) It calms the fight or flight response: With our busy lives and hectic schedules we are constantly living in our fight or flight response (I shared a video explaining this here.) During this we aren't healing, we aren't digesting and our hormones are all over the place. The outcome of too much of this can be anxiety and stress. Unconscious thinking calms and switches off our fight or flight response.
The benefits of slowing down have been well documented in research studies and with mindfulness and meditation on the rise it's great to hear that the message is being heard. Your unconscious mind is estimated to be 30,000 time more powerful than conscious thinking. Just imagine what amazing things you could have access to.
Don't know how to access your unconscious?
If you would like to have a go at unconscious thinking but don't know where to start I've created a little 10 minute audio which you can download. Just find somewhere peaceful, sit back and listen. Once you've got the hang of what it feels like, you'll start to fall in love with how amazing your unconscious mind can be.
I hope that has given you a new found excitement and interest into the power of your unconscious mind and it's potential. If you would like help with your mindset and overcoming nerves, overwhelm or other issues I'm always happy to help.
Until next time
I don't know about you but as a fellow small business owner in the past I've found getting the balance right between the time spent working, the money I need to earn and my own wellbeing a constant juggling act. My time to enjoy, go running, play the piano, go to the spa was always squeezed out of my schedule by 'more important' stuff like meetings, social media and networking.
I had a belief for years that the harder you work the more successful you'll be but I quickly found this to be a belief which leads to not feeling so well. My constant pushing, demanding more and more from myself led to a series of health issues, some small, some not so small. I, like so many, left it way too long before listening to my unconscious (that inner sense of truth) and taking steps to nurture and prioritise my wellbeing. I'm glad to say these days my wellbeing is a lot higher on my priority list
But.....why do we wait so long before realising our physical and mental health and wellbeing is a priority?
Perhaps, like many, you're just busy getting on with things and don't even realise your wellbeing isn't in tip top condition? So to help below are my 42 signs of stress. I challenge you to question how you're currently measuring up against these.
It's ok if you didn't realise your wellbeing wasn't great till now, self-reflection is a hard thing to do. Its always easier to see everyone else's world rather than your own. This is one reason I recommend regularly checking in with how you feel, it can make a significant difference.
How your unconscious can hold the solution
As small business owners we are often the worst at putting themselves on the priority list, never mind anywhere near the top. We're so passionate about what we do we rarely stop. We tell ourselves we love it, that it will all be worth it and that we can cope but who are we actually kidding?? As humans we just don't work that way.
So today, I challenge you.....what do you do to make your wellbeing a priority? Do you check in regularly with your unconscious to listen to your body and mind before or after you start experiencing symptoms? Do you say, 'oh I know, I've done to much' after getting the cold or before??
Regular quiet time can allow you to reconnect to how you feel and give your unconsious time to let you know what's going on. Have you ever noticed how a holiday away or a walk in nature can give you clearer perspective?
And, it doesn't even have to take long. Just 10 minutes a day can make a huge impact.
Come on, we're talking about your wellbeing!!! We're talking about your ability to actually be able to do your job....if that isn't a priority I don't know what it.
I've created a wonderful 10 minute audio which you can download for free. It can give you that time to just settle, connect to your unconscious and it can make a whole world of difference. Type your details in below and I'll email it over to you.
I can't tell you the impact realising that my wellbeing was important has had on my energy, determination and motivation. It's still a constant juggling act to get the balance right but at least now I don't feel guilty for taking some me time.
Until next time
What holds you back from getting the most from your time and yourself? Are you plagued by lack of energy? Do you have constant distracting thoughts? Perhaps you wish you had more creative ideas or more motivation? What if I told you that your unconscious was the key to unlock all of the answers to these frustrations and readdress your understanding so you can become more efficient?
Your unconscious is an amazingly powerful tool, if you don't know anything about it, I wrote a blog which explains how it works. What I find from my work with clients is that most people aren't using their unconscious potential and as a result struggle and hold themselves back.
Your levels of energy, creative ideas, clarity, motivation and peace of mind all have an impact on how much you actually get done and how easily you do them.
Tim Kreider wrote in The New York Times, 'The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration - it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done."
So lets explore how you can harness your unconscious potential and improve your efficiency.
How does your unconscious impact your efficiency?
Your unconscious mind holds information about everything you've experienced, learnt and believe. It's estimated that it drives up to 80% of our behaviours and actions. Your unconscious often has a greater level of understanding than you're consciously aware of.
Lets give you an example.....have you ever had the logic, illogic debate with yourself eg logically I know this should be ok but that doesn't seem to change the fact I don't feel comfortable or are still sat there not doing it? Yep, this is a great example of a conscious vs unconscious battle. You're consciously saying it's fine but unconsciously there's something else going on.
Connecting with your unconscious could actually tell you what's behind the behaviour and even come up with some lightning strikes of inspiration to help you change it. Amazing stuff eh!!!
Your unconscious doesn't work on logic and sense, it works on creativity, imagination and randomness. If you want to harness your best ideas, increase the amount of time you spend unconsciously thinking.
This quote from Einstein says it beautifully.
How to practise unconsciously thinking
Most people haven't practised this art for many years so it can take a little getting used to. First reframe your belief that sitting down for a few minutes is being idle. It's not, it's powering the unconscious to make connections you didn't even know were there so you can maximise your efficiency.
Teaching people unconscious thinking is an integral part of what I do so I'd like to give you an opportunity to give it a go. Click below and download my 10 minute Rest and Refresh audio, it's designed to gently ease you into the slower brain waves which the unconscious loves and top up your good stuff too. It's a great way to enter into this practise and it can have amazing benefits not just on your efficiency but also on your confidence and overall mental wellbeing too. I advise listening to it every morning.
That's it for this week. I hope you've enjoyed finding out more about your unconscious and how it can help.
Until next time
PS. My business works on word of mouth, if you've enjoyed this post please feel free to like and share it.
Sincere apologies for the spelling of 'minds' in the title at the start of this video, I'm now off to listen to the audio I share with you below!!!
In 2009 I was introduced to an understanding and connection which changed my life, it not only vastly improved my health but also turned around how I handle all of my frustrations in life too, I suddenly knew how to find the answers to all that held me back and frustrated me so much.
Prior to this I was a stress head, so much so I made myself very sick. Everything felt like pressure, life annoyed me, people annoyed me.......I needed to jostle with life and beat it into my submission. I took on way too much, pushed myself way too far and generally felt that everything was my responsibility and my fault.
People who meet me now often comment on how calming I am and my sunny disposition...the difference is remarkable......so what changed??
It all started with understanding the unconscious mind so I'm going to share an introduction with you today so you can understanding this marvellous connection too.
An introduction to the unconscious mind
I'm going to talk you through the diagram below. Since this is an introduction, I'm going to keep it simple.
There are two parts to our minds, the conscious and unconscious and each works in a different way.
Lets start with the one you are probably most familiar with, the conscious. This part of your brain is firing on all cylinders for most of your waking hours. Here's the three functions I'd like to focus on today:
- handles between 5-9 pieces of information (the average human remembers 7)
- for anything which requires conscious thinking it makes the ultimate decision, I call it your filter set
- it works on fast brainwaves which is what you use when you're fully awake.
Ok so lets compare this to your unconscious which I describe like a massive library which stores everything you've ever experienced, learnt, believed etc. Your unconscious:
- has endless amounts of storage and holds lots and lots of information.
- finds the evidence which matches anything you ask for, ultimately it's a 'Yes' machine.
- works on slow brainwaves which is what you use when you're daydreaming or resting.
Why is connecting with your unconscious so useful?
We live in busy times, constantly distracted by phones, meetings, to-do lists etc. We are effectively always consciously thinking, pushing those 5-9 slots to their max all the time.
So what does the unconscious do? It's said that a whopping 80% of what we do is unconsciously driven, it's habit, programmes and patterns which you've created from your experiences and learnings. But, when do you ever listen to what it has to say, what if I told you you could access those, spring clean and even update them? How helpful would that be?
And when do you give your unconscious time to process all the things you experience each day? When do you allow your unconscious to connect those dots and give you it's amazing insights?
If you just gave it chance your unconscious could reveal so much and support you in a deeper level of understanding which could revolutionise your life. I'm not even kidding cause that's precisely what took me from stress head to smiling, sunny disposition, calm me.
How do you connect to your unconscious mind?
Unconscious thinking isn't logical or ordered its creative, colourful and random. It's about giving yourself time to let those thoughts go, giving yourself quiet time to think and the more you do it the better that connection to your unconscious becomes.
At first it may seem chaos and like it will never shut up. Remember you haven't been listening for years, it probably has a lot to say but stick with in and that ability to access all that understanding and knowledge will serve you greatly.
Helping clients access this powerful tool is an integral part of what Refreshed Minds does, if you aren't sure or need some help to get there, click here and get in touch.
I've also created a 10 minute audio to help you, as sometimes when you start out it's easier to just sit back and listen. If you feel that would help you click below and I'll get that straight over to your Facebook messenger so you can start listening now.
Remember your unconscious mind is an amazing and wonderful tool which you rarely access the potential of. Imagine what you could do if you understood it better.
Until next time
PS. My business works on word of mouth, if you've found this post helpful please use the buttons below and share it with those you feel would benefit.
How come whenever we face something new we immediately jump to assessing the negatives eg what might go wrong, how hard its going to be or how many obstacles we will need to face? Today I'll be talking about why this happens and teaching you the art behind managing your mind so you can take back control and say yes to new challenges with confidence.
Why? because as busy entrepreneurs we have to step out of our comfort zones constantly, so these are pretty essential skills if you hope to do that without shaking, sweating, mumbling or potentially dreading something so much that you say 'no' when you really want to say 'yes'.
So there are two parts to the fear puzzle.
1) Our natural human instinct to watch out for danger
2) Our unconscious evidence (or lack of it)
Lets look at the each in turn:
1) Did you know that our brains have 5 times more negative receptors than positive? This is because we're a survival being so we naturally tend to air on the side of caution and watch out for danger. Which is pretty important, otherwise we would be stepping out in front of cars and jumping into hot water without first testing the temperature. This is why you're more likely to jump to what could go wrong and the obstacles you face.
2) The other part of the 'fear of the unknown puzzle' is your lack of mental evidence. Its reported that 80% of what we do is led by unconscious habit. If you’ve never done something before you have no evidence to tell you what it’s like, what to expect or if you are going to be any good at it. Add this to our survival instinct and you can see why it leads to feeling nerves, fear and trepidation.
But there are people who do new things all the time. They like to test themselves, they love the thrill of having a go. So what's different in their approach and how can we harness some of that to help us get out there more?
How to overcome your fear of the unknown
The wonderful Wayne Dyer once said, 'when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.'
People who say 'bring it on' when trying new things call it curiosity and adventure.
This is a very clever technique called reframing.
As I mentioned as business owners we’re constantly having to face the unknown so this is a really useful skill for you to adopt, practise and make part of your mental toolkit. For this reason I'm going to challenge you to start now and make some changes......STARTING NOW!!
Reframing the fear of the unknown
Pick something which you are going to have to face in the next month. One thing you would like to do but haven't done before. It can be big or small it doesn’t matter.
Grab a piece of paper and write how you currently feel about it. What do you say to yourself about it, what do you say when others ask you about it? Write it all down.
Next walk away and do something else.
When you come back, come back metaphorically wearing the hat of curiosity and adventure and rewrite how you'd feel about these two things from this new perspective.
Pick a few powerful statements relating to this new way of thinking as reminders that will also give you motivation every time you think about your 2 things going forwards.
If just knowing these statement in your mind isn't enough for you I’ve created a sheet of 4 'Reframing Cards' you can download for free. You can write out your statements boldly, one statement per card, and then display them or keep them close as a constant reminder of your reframe statements. Just click below and I'll send them straight to your Facebook Messenger.
Click 'get started' and then follow the prompts, if you joined my messenger before the download link will come straight up.
The more you can repeat your new statements the more the repetition creates a new habit and boosts the unconscious evidence of how you feel about it. This reinforces the positive receptors in our brains and helps us change the fear of the unknown into a curiosity for the new.
Let me know how you get on, I always love to hear how this technique is working for you.
Until next time.
I may surprise some of you today, the fear of failure can actually be a good thing? ? There I said it.
Being human is a strange conundrum, whilst sometimes fear of failure can hold you back (I wrote about that in this blog) it can also provide the kick you need to spur you into action.
Think about it.......if it was perfectly possible and something you can easily do.......do you think....
Often people say if there’s no challenge it’s not worth doing. As humans we like to take it on, beat it, and show to ourselves (and others) that it’s possible.
We all know people who when they hear, 'you can't do that', say, 'I bloody well can, you just watch me.'
The possibility that it can't be done, the idea that you might just fail can actually improve your motivation. So, what's the difference between those who allow fear of failure to fuel them and those who don't?
Personality traits and perceptions
I believe it's a mixture of personality and perception.
If you have a competitive nature, or a rebel streak, you're more likely to find a fear of failure motivating. Like wise if you are stubborn or like to feel like an individual. These traits mean you're more likely to say, 'I'm doing it anyway'. Some people are naturally motivated by adventure and challenges too.
But that doesn't mean we can't all harness our inner badass when we need too.
What perception do you choose?....if you see something as fearful, if you think it's going to be arduous and not worth while you'll fuel your fear of failure. If you have a perception that new experiences are fun, that you give things your all and that failure is part of success you're much more likely to be able to harness the mindset of motivation for any task.
It's not the fear of failure which holds you back, it's your perception of the task you're trying to achieve. Fear can actually fuel your motivation to achieve something amazing, if you allow yourself to experience it that way.
Want more tips, mind tricks and motivation?
I go live every week, sharing mindset tricks and tips, covering topics such as new business confidence, motivation and public speaking nerves to anxiety, fear and self-esteem. If you want more mindset support delivered to your inbox, enter your details below and I'll get them over to you. I don't spam or sell your details, I just send you my best advice and news via email to those who are interested.
Until next time
PS. My business works on referrals, if you know someone who is struggling and could benefit from some support, please pass on my details.
A statistic often banded around is that 75% of people suffer from public speaking anxiety, however the source of this particular figure is illusive. Having said that there is evidence which suggests that 'glossophobia,' as it's called, is still one of our biggest fears. Today I’ll share with you my 5 steps for relieving public speaking anxiety.
Why presentation nerves are normal
According to cognitive psychologist and business neuroscientist Lynda Shaw, this is due to our desire to be part of a group, (I explained this in this blog post, How Fear Holds Us Back) as Linda says "With so much uncertainty in this current age, group membership is increasingly vital. Effectively we want to stand out less and merge into a group more. This affects our ability and desire for public speaking.”
“We are fearful of telling people what we think because of the repercussions we believe this has on our group membership, magnified further by the power of online communities and social media,” she said. “It has become so easy to shame people anonymously.”
Nerves are a natural part of our fight or flight response which activates whenever we perceive a danger. Simply put, your body is preparing you to fight a tiger but you're stood in front of your peers or sat in a chair. Your body corses with adrenaline making you fidgety, you also sweat, lose your words and even feel sick. This is a natural part of human functioning but that doesn't mean you can't learn and overcome it.
Below are my 5 steps to relieving public speaking nerves. These steps have been tried and tested both personally and also with many of my clients, with great results.
5 steps for relieving public speaking nerves
To make this exercise easier I've created a free 'Relieving Public Speaking Nerves Worksheet' which you can download by clicking below. This worksheet leads you through each of the steps above, giving examples and some great questions to get you thinking and make sure you get the best results from this activity.
Download your free Relieving Public Speaking Nerves worksheet below....
Thats it for this week, remember that nerves are just a normal part of human experience and just because you currently experience something one way, doesn't mean your brain can't learn another.
Until next time
We all know that dreaded feeling of fear, the niggling and creeping feelings of what may happen and how it's all going to go wrong or how you're not capable of doing something. Fear can hold us back from stepping up, stepping out and making our businesses what we truly feel we're capable of.
Today we're talking about how fear holds us back because self-awareness is the first step to making a change happen. I've created a 'Fear Analysis Exercise' which you can download. This will provide you with questions to help you to uncover your individual behaviours and beliefs about fear, because once you understand it, you have a better opportunity to change it.
Why we fear
Imagine for a moment a herd of zebras. They're on the move, looking for somewhere with plenty of food and water. Where is the most dangerous place in the herd to be?
Answer: On the outer edges or anywhere away from the pack.
This is the same for humans, we are naturally a pack mammal so stepping up and out makes us naturally feel we're in the most vulnerable and dangerous place. In modern life this manifests in our feelings of fear of public speaking, fear of success, fear of marketing to our fullest, fear of going to networking meetings, fear we're not good enough, fear of asking for finances etc.......
In business this is pretty much where we put ourselves constantly, out on the edge, standing out. We're pretty much always saying 'cooee, look at me!!' We're constantly creating new ideas, putting ourselves out there and thinking about how we can stand out.
Our mind's natural reaction is to say, 'what the hell are you doing'.......'sit down, shut up and get back within your pack i.e. your comfort zone.'
How fear manifests for business owners
If you're experiencing any of the following, you're experiencing feelings of fear:
- Deep down you feel you're capable of achieving more but you don't take action to make it happen.
- You're a magpie, constantly distracted by the lovely stuff rather than your to-do list.
- You don't put yourself out there because you feel you'll be judged.
- You procrastinate and those things on your priority list, never get to be an actual priority.
Fear plays a part in all of these behaviours.
I'd like to give you an opportunity to assess your individual behaviours and question whether these are done because of fear........once we understand ourselves we can then take steps to change it.
Fear Analysis Exercise
Today I challenge you, for the next week, to notice what you're doing, when you're procrastinating, avoiding, getting distracted etc and take a few moments to notice what your thinking/fearing at the time.
This can be so enlightening because so often our behaviours are habitual, unconscious and we don't actually take time to be self-aware.
To make this easier I've created a 'Fear Analysis Exercise' sheet which you can download and print. Use this to note down your findings and it gives you the really good questions to help you uncover the impact this fear is having on your decisions, actions and behaviours.
Enter your details below and I'll send it to your inbox so you can get started.
Need more help?
Sometimes we struggle to see our own thoughts and beliefs so if you need help with this exercise, get in touch. Often someone else guiding you and asking the right questions just makes everything flow more easily. I can also help you take the next step and work through the changes you'd like to make too.
Remember: Fear is our natural defence when we feel unsafe, anything you can do to make yourself feel more capable, strong and resourceful will minimise fear and even make it disappear.
Until next time
Why do so many people suffer from negative self talk, why does this happen and what can you do to change it? Just so you know I don't prescribe over crazy positivity like the world is amazing etc....I focus on the science.
Today I'll be sharing with you what shapes our self talk, the impact it has on our day-to-day lives, along with 3 simple techniques you can use to improve your mindset, energy and motivation.
The reality of self talk, a quick story....
I don't know about you but as a busy entrepreneur my self talk seems to never shut up. My head is constantly awash with a running to-do list and endless tasks.....then out of nowhere
A little voice says.....'Why are you bothering, you know you're no good at this.'
I try and ignore it, distract myself and crack on but not a moment later I hear......
'No, seriously...just close shop and get a job.........'
Before I know it my head is swimming in negativity (which I know is not good for me) and I feel like a failure....
Whilst this crazy inner dialogue continues I can also rationally think AT THE SAME TIME....that I'm being ridiculous and need to stop but it doesn't seem to make a difference.
Isn't being a human amazing!!!
Within about 5 minutes I can go from getting on with my day quite happily to a self-doubting, negative wreck.
Sound familiar? If so read on, I'm going to explain why this happens and then give you 3 tips you can use to change your self talk.
The science of self talk
I believe that a good understanding is the first pillar of building natural confidence. If you don't know what's happening how can you fix it?
PS. This is what most solutions lack in my opinion. They give you the tips but don't empower you with the understanding. When you know what's going on and why, you can implement the tips much more effectively.
These 'negative' thoughts emanate from our survival instinct, our basic need to keep ourselves safe. This is the fundamental role of your subconscious mind and in order of importance, keeping safe is above all else.
Our negative inner dialogue serves as a barometer reminding us of things which our unconscious believes we need to assess in order to be 'safe'. In the example I gave above the fear stems from feelings of insecurity eg I may look stupid, fail, lose or embarrass myself.
To keep you 'safe' your mind will throw anything it needs to at you to make sure you listen. And it's efficient, it knows what will have the biggest impact. It will not waste it's time with insignificance, it goes straight to the jugular. If you are majorly affected by what others think, guess what......your mind will play on that. If success is important to you it will say what if you fail etc.
Whats more, you are a survival mammal so you look for danger and threats more than you look for pleasure. Your brain is geared to highlight these 'negative' things, it's human nature. That doesn't mean those thoughts are true, it just mean's you're a human.
There isn't a single person on the planet who doesn't have inner self talk and we all have to keep it in check from this barometer of keeping us safe. You are certainly not alone!!!!
3 effective techniques for changing your self talk
If you're finding your self talk is overwhelming or having a negative impact on your motivation and energy try one or all of these techniques.
- Don't listen - often self talk is fuelled by our analytics. We don't just think the thought, we analyse it's meaning, which starts the snowball effect by giving it our focus our unconscious goes into overdrive. DON'T!!! It's just a thought, give it no power, no attention at all.
- Counteract it - Purposely force yourself to think about all the times the opposite has been true. Question the thoughts validity, don't just take it at face value. Often these thoughts are like verbal diarrhoea. They just tumble out and actually they lack honest sustinence.
- Lighten up - it's just a thought, that doesn't mean it's true. I call mine Mr Niggles, I give it a silly character, a mischievous personality. It's like a child who doesn't get it's way. I laugh at how awful it can be. Lightening it up can make you feel less drawn in by it.
I use all of these techniques both personally and with clients, they really work. The absolute key is noticing when you're doing it, when that inner self talk is happening. Only when you start noticing it can you actively choose to do something about it.
Notice it.....question it......minimise it........and then crack on...
I hope you find these practical techniques useful and I know they take a little practise so.....
If you'd like more mindset support book a place on my monthly Break Free, Find Clarity sessions. These give you an opportunity to learn even more simple mindset tricks and also connect with a like-minded community.
And if negative self talk is a real problem you'd like some one 2 one support with, book a free 30 minute Mindset Review and we'll have a chat and get to the bottom of it.
Until next time
Over 6 years ago I stumbled across a set of techniques which have ensured my sanity whilst running my own small business. It's called Hypnosis. Here I explain how Hypnosis works, how it can help and why I passionately teach it to all my clients.
They say running a successful business is 20% knowledge and 80% mindset, I happen to agree.
If you're fascinated by hypnosis and want to understand how it works, read on.......
What is hypnosis
When I say I'm a fully qualified hypnotherapist most people start backing away or say something like, 'Oh, don't look in her eyes'. Hypnosis has a reputation for mind control but actually the reality is something completely different and I'm pleased to say over the last few years people's perceptions are starting to change.
Hypnosis is actually something you do naturally every day. Have you ever.........
All of these are hypnosis.
So you probably enter the state of hypnosis 2-3 time every day, maybe even more!!
What's going on?
During your awake state your brain waves operate at a level which your conscious mind loves, it's firing on all cylinders but as you settle down and those brain waves slow down your conscious mind doesn't work so well. Instead your unconscious comes alive and starts processing and thinking. So during these times which I mentioned above you are thinking more with your unconscious mind and that type of thinking is very different.
In the 1950s they did some research and found out that your conscious brain can only handle 7 +/- 2 pieces of information so its capacity is very limited. In contrast your unconscious brain is like a library, storing all the things you've experienced, heard, seen etc. It's capacity is amazingly large and it's here where habits and unconscious actions are created and held. I read a quote somewhere saying your unconscious is 30,000 times more powerful than your conscious and I can well believe it.
Just a quick note on the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy. Hypnosis is the state which you're in. In the 4 situations mentioned above you are in a state of hypnosis. Hypnotherapy is then the action which is taken during the state of hypnosis. Effectively the therapy or changes or work which takes place. I hope that makes it easy to understand.
2 Benefits of Hypnosis for Solopreneurs
So what are the benefits of hypnosis to the Solopreneur? Well I've already alluded to one of them but I'd like to focus on two, which are:
1) Problem solving - sometimes you're looking at something so hard that the answers just become further away. You're ultimately using your limited conscious mind to find the solution and not tapping into the incredible resources held in your unconscious. By using hypnosis you can have more light bulb moments by having access to the unconscious library which has so much more resource at it's disposal.
2) Giving your head a break - we all know as Solopreneurs that we are constantly thinking about our businesses. Every waking moment is ticking over some element of your to do list, aims or issues. Hypnosis gives you time to take your head off for a little while. This is great for resetting the fight, flight and freeze instinct (more about your FFF Instinct here.) This calms your whole system and has huge long term benefits too. Great if you're feeling any anxiety, stress, pressure etc.
Hypnosis vs Meditation
So what's the difference between Hypnosis and Meditation?
None, they both reach the same state i.e. the state of hypnosis. Which is that daydreamy kind of state when you feel you're there but not really all there.
The difference is in hypnotherapy where something is worked on during the state of hypnosis. Where in meditation/hypnosis you're getting the value of being in that state rather than purposefully amending or assessing any files in the library while you're there.
Want to have a go?
If you would like to experience hypnosis I've created a 10 minute Rest and Refresh audio which you can download. It's designed to be listened to every day and includes affirmations to top up your good stuff, give you strength and refocus your mind and thoughts in the right direction.
If you would like my 10 minute audio you can download it here.
Hypnosis is an amazing set of tools which can really help you stay sane whilst also running a small business. We all need mental time away because it's not just a nice thing to have it's actually a powerful part of how your brain works. Hypnosis gives you access to the library and all it's resources, tapping into that can have amazing results for you and your business.
Until next time
Do you think you're going to get 'found out' or that you're only pretending to be the expert? Do feelings of not being good enough plague your day. Perhaps making you feel like you can't or shouldn't be doing whatever it is you do?
This is called 'Imposter Syndrome' and is extremely common. In this live video and blog post I discuss the causes of Imposter Syndrome so you can gain a better insight and understanding into what drives you to think and feel this way.
I believe that understanding why you do something is the first step to realising what options you have to change it. So keep reading or click the video and find out why Imposter Syndrome happens and some simple techniques you can start using today to overcome it.
Where does Imposter Syndrome come from?
This feeling of not being good enough or being 'found out' for not being as expert as you think comes from our primeval need to be safe and protected. By nature we are a pack mammal and deep within all of us is the idea that being on the edge or outside our pack means we're going to get eaten, starve and most likely die.
The very nature of having a business requires you to stand out, it requires you to stick your head above the pack and say look at me, look at what I can do and this makes us feel unsafe. This feeling of uncertainly is the route cause of your imposter syndrome.
Deep within our brain standing out sends alarm signals to say 'what are you doing', 'this isn't safe', 'you'd be better within the comfort zone', 'get back in the pack and shut up'. It does this by saying things which hurt. Whatever is going to get you to sit down and shut up the quickest, after all your mind's number 1 priority is to keep you safe.
So if you suffer with Imposter Syndrome, congratulations you qualify as a human!!
Why can I feel great doing my thing one day and then cower in a corner a dribbling mess another?
I know how you feel, on some days it's easy to stand up, feel confident and take on the world and others you question the very core of the simplest of actions and think you might as well just stay in bed. So why the difference?
It all comes down to thoughts.....ask yourself the following:
We work on balance and whatever gets the most attention wins. There's all sorts of things which impact on how we feel, from the weather and relationships to our experiences and daily routines.......some days are great, others are not but you do have a choice.
This is a great video by Todd Herman who coaches top atheletes to overcome their Imposter Syndrome. It's about making a choice over your thoughts and not just letting them have free reign. It's also about making yourself see that being on the outside of the pack isn't a danger but an opportunity and that you're strong enough, capable enough and will do perfectly well. The technique shared in this video puts you back in control.
I hope that you're starting to see that what you say and feel makes a difference and is completely within your choice. As I said before it's about balance and whatever gets the most attention wins.
I've found that achieving this balance requires a daily top up of your good stuff, so you can constantly readdress and choose to feel strong and capable. For me the ultimate solution lies in having a long term solution and a quick fix too.
With this in mind I created my 10 minute Rest and Refresh Audio, designed to be listened too every day and top up your good stuff, give you strength and refocus your mind and thoughts in the right direction.
If you would like my 10 minute audio you can download it here.
What are your experiences of Imposter Syndrome?
I love lightening up the pressures of life and bringing humour into the realities of being human, so what's the most ridiculous thing your brain has said to try and make you sit down and shut up? Please share them, share your experiences of Imposter Syndrome so we can all learn that it's a normal part of being human.
Mine........I'm just as bad as you, my 'Mr Niggles' sometimes goes on a right rampage and I think the most hurtful thing he can throw at me is 'nobody cares about what you do', or 'you don't make a difference so what's the point.' I'm getting better at nipping these thoughts it in the bud but I also appreciate it's part of being human.
I hope this helps
Until next time
Recently I read a wonderful book by Geoff Thompson called 'The Elephant and the Twig' which shares 14 golden rules of success and happiness. Rule 4 particularly caught my eye so I'm going to focus on that one today.
Rule 4 is all about how to have the energy for the journey.
Life takes lots and lots of effort and determination so how do you keep your energy topped up along the way?
In this video I share with you some of the realities of running a small business and a technique you can use to boost your energy, whether you're employed or self-employed, a technique which you can implement today. You can either watch the video above or read the three lessons I learnt from Rule 4 below.
The three lessons I learnt from Rule 4
1) I loved the analogy of starting a long journey and topping the car up with fuel. This really resonated with me. If you're in it for the long haul you better be topping up the fuel. How many of us push and push ourselves without really topping up our energy. I know I'm certainly a victim of that!!
2) The power of nature - In the book the author kept going and going until his wife said they were taking a few days holiday. He said he couldn't afford too, she said he couldn't afford not too.
Nature is a wonderful way of topping up your fuel so don't wait till someone else has to drag you out kicking and screaming. Book in time for relaxation whether it be a walk, a holiday or just sitting in a field, it can be wonderfully refreshing.
So often we go full pelt and keep going, going, going. Have you ever wondered why we get our best light bulb moments when we're not thinking?? It's because of how our brains work so if you want the best ideas and quickest solutions get out there and rest.
3) Making mistakes is a normal part of the process - you can lose so much of your energy after you've made a mistake. Thinking that you're not good enough or will never be successful. Actually making mistakes is part of success and often gives you your biggest learning.
Don't let your energy get sapped away whenever you make a mistake. Take a breath, take a break and get straight back in there.
If you want to feel like you're firing on all cylinders....
1) Top up your fuel
2) Take breaks and get out in nature
3) Be ok about making mistakes
Get your hands on a copy of the book
If you would like to buy a copy of the book, click the book image below and it will take you straight to Amazon (affiliate link).
Would you like more support?
I hope you found these tips helpful.
Until next time
5 years ago I started my new business with no money, no support but plenty of determination. Over the years I've learnt a lot!!! So in this post I'm going to share with you 5 things I know now which I wish I'd known back then.
This post is for you if you're thinking about starting a new venture or if you're a business owner who feels a little lost. Perhaps you're frustrated or losing confidence in yourself or just apprehensive and want to make sure you do it right, in this post I share with you my biggest learnings so you can make the rollercoaster a little less bumpy.
My 5 learnings from starting a new business
Lets dive in and get straight to it. I'm going to start with something simple.
1) Have the ability to edit your own website - Over the last 5 years Refreshed Minds has been through 4 fundamental changes, not to mention countless tweaks to packages, prices, freebies, layout etc. If I'd had to pay every time I wanted amends it would have been so frustrating and very costly. It definitely benefits you to be able to edit your own.
That's not to say you have to design your own website from scratch, although there's lots of simple options now available like Weebly (I use this one) and Wix. But if you're going to pay a web designer to create your website make sure the training so you can edit it is also part of the package.
2) Start with the customer, not the products - At the beginning I spent all the little money I had on building some brilliant packages, a website, a leaflet and paying for stalls to promote my amazing new business. Only to found I'd created packages the customers didn't want.
When I say start with the customer, I don't just mean thinking who your customer might be, I mean really get to know them. You need to be able to talk in their language, solve all their challenges and in a way which they will love. You need to know where they are, what they're doing and what would be the perfect solution for them. Build that product.....not the one you think will be amazing.
3) Prepare Yourself for the Long Game - I can't count the amount of people who think they'll open the doors and people will come. Who go to a couple of networking meetings and get frustrated because they've not been offered any work. You have to work your ass off for 4-6 months consistently in order for your hard work to start paying off. If you're a brand new business make that 6-12 months!!
At the beginning I found this part of business soul destroying, I worked super hard and got nothing back, zip, diddly squat and I started thinking what's the point, I lost my confidence and thought about giving it up.
This 4-6 months window is normal so prepare yourself for the long game, every time you do something new it will take at least that long before you start seeing results.
Which leads me nicely onto learning 4........
4) Have strategies to top up your determination and motivation - Your motivation and determination will need constant nurture and care. You do not have endless amounts of either and the work a new business requires drains them quickly.
At the start you're out of the gate like a racing horse but it only lasts so long (see point 3!) you absolutely need to take care of yourself and top up your good stuff regularly. Even more regularly than when you're in employment because there's just you, only you and without you and your drive, there is no business. Don't expect yourself to have endless energy, motivation and positiveness, these need care and attention to keep them topped up.
With this in mind I've created a little freebie you can download below if you're in need of a motivation and determination top up.
5) Get help, ask, hire, network and talk - I missed the gate on this one. When I started my business I was a one woman, taking over the world, I can do this, watch me kind of business owner. I went to networking and heard from people like the Chamber of Commerce and the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) but thought no I can do this on my own........I was stupid....utterly stupid!! I missed out on loads of support, grants and help.
Support is out there, get yourself in there and don't be too proud to take it.
Equally, you can't do this all on your own. Trust me I tried!!! As a solopreneur you don't have a team to bounce ideas off, you don't have colleague to nip to the canteen so you can download to them. As a business owner those people aren't around you all day so you have to go out there and find them, go networking, find your tribe and support each other, counsel each other. Nobody is an island, you need a support team.
You'll also need expertise from others, you can't be great at everything. This also took me way too long to realise. 4 years in and I finally got myself a coach, priceless!! Absolutely priceless. You can't see your own stuff until someone else points it out. Equally there's lots of things you need in order to run a business and people out there who are experts at them, hire them and if you can't do that talk to them, ask their advice, go to their free webinars. It's worth thinking, how can I best get the expertise I need.
I got exhausted from trying to be everything.........you need a team, go find one!!
Feeling overwhelmed, I have just the thing.
Since topping up your motivation is so important, and something which business owners don't do enough of, I've created a free Rest and Refresh Audio which you can download and listen to. It lasts just 10 minutes so can fit into even the most busy of days.
This audio is a guided meditation with affirmations to unconsciously top up your good stuff and lift your mood. When you're feeling overwhelmed, tired, anxious, stressed.....and all the feelings that a 'busy-life and business' brings, then please take 10-minutes to gain some clarity on the situation and Rest & Refresh with this 10-minute mindset audio.
Click 'grab your freebie' below to access the audio.
Prefer face to face support?
If you're feeling pressured, frustrated and would benefit from a break to find your clarity, my Break Free, Find Clarity monthly mindset event for entrepreneurs would be perfect for you. They bring together like-minded entrepreneurs to work on all things mindset, have honest conversations about running a business and we always starts with a relaxing 10 minutes too. Their just £15 and all the details can be found by clicking below.
That's it for this time, I hope you found those learnings useful and whatever you do don't suffer in silence. If you would like support get in touch.
Until next time
Surprise!!! I'm human too. For years I've battled with a whole bunch of thoughts which make me feel I'm never good enough. What I've come to appreciate is that this is actually a very normal part of being a human being.
As humans, we have to look around us and take in information about our surroundings and understand expectations in order to know what and how to do things. We then naturally, inwardly compare ourselves against that to see how we measure up. How would you know what to do or what to learn so you can grow if you didn't do this?
But that natural human condition doesn't mean we have to be plagued by the outcome of 'I'm never good enough'.
I also think that culture has a lot to do with it. A stiff upper lip in England can make us feel like we're the only ones who feel this way and we must buckle up, stuff it down and crack on with it. In reality I don't know a single person who doesn't feel this way at some point, even really successful ones.
We also keep pushing, pushing and pushing to get better, quicker and the goalposts feel like they're constantly moving. Whether that's from ourselves or from our bosses or family. This cultural norm makes us lose sight of who we are and strips our ability to feel comfortable for what we already do.
You see, when you outwardly look, you're comparing yourself again someone else's highlight's reel. You've probably heard many times about the impact of social media and everyone putting out there, their best selves (sometimes it's even not true.) It's been proven time and time again that someone's inner world is a vastly different story. Don't compare someone else's highlights reel to your inner world, it's like comparing apples with oranges.
What do you do to stop it?
Over the years I've tried many tips and tricks but these simple steps have been the most effective for me.
I've found that in 99-100% of cases the verbal diarrhoea my mind comes up with is actually false when I've looked at it properly.
You see, most people let these thoughts just go without checking them or questioning their validity in any way.
So here's the steps I take whenever I feel I'm not good enough (and I still do sometimes!!)
Step 1: Notice it - the first step is becoming consciously aware of that thought or thoughts. At the moment you're unconsciously doing it, it just happens but when you start to notice these thoughts you give yourself an opportunity to think about it and perhaps even choose something different.
Step 2: Question it - where did it come from, what are you doing, is it true, where's the evidence.......asking yourself to question it has made me realise I'm being unfair, unrealistic or just down right unnecessarily mean to myself.
Step 3: Move on - once you have the new evidence, move on, distract yourself, or do something different. Let it go and move on.
In a real life example, this happened to me a good few months ago.
I wanted to create some new audios for people to download so I was searching the internet for inspiration. I came across this amazing website and the more I looked at it the more fearful and self-loathing I got. Within a few minutes I was ready to pack in my business because I'll never be as good as them, my brain went into overdrive and lashing after lashing I began to lose myself, my confidence and my clarity.
So what did I do?
I caught myself and asked what I was doing, where did that come from and was it true.
I re-looked at their website, looking at the 'about me' page and found out they'd been in business for 20 years!! 3 times as long as me at the time. I hope you agree, it's hardly fair to compare the work of 20 years to that of a business not even half that length of time.
I then shut my laptop, made myself a brew and came back to continue my task of creating amazing audios. Telling my mental 'Mr Niggles' to shut up.
Guess what.......It worked!!!
But I still have to do it over and over again. I can't get away from being human, sometimes these thoughts creep up on me, but I just do the same thing I did here.
Instead of thinking I have to be a shining super human who is always positive (PS that's not a real human) I give myself permission to realise these things happen, I've got the tools to handle it.
Want more help?
I love sharing these tips and tricks with you, I hope you find them beneficial and they help you put mind over matter and start to realise the power of what you're capable of when you put your mind to it.
That's it for now. Let me know how you get on with the techniques I shared. I'd love to hear from you.
Until next time
Today I had the pleasure of interviewing the amazing Dorne McLoughlin, founder of Ribbit Media Solutions. In the interview Dorne shares how she came to me for guidance, as she wanted to “feel comfortable and confident” standing on stage and delivering a presentation of over 1,000 business women.
Dorne had all the knowledge to prepare an amazing presentation but what she didn’t take into consideration was how to prepare herself. In the interview Dorne shares how the programme not only helped her deliver this presentation, but gave her the tools for every presentation to come.
Dorne was a previous client of mine and I invited her along to the interview today so she could share the importance of preparing yourself to speak.
The first step to confident public speaking
Don't let nerves or fear hold you back, you can absolutely learn how to manage them. I love Dorne's attitude which means she's constantly stretching outside her comfort zone and reaching for the right people to support her to get there.
Dorne's Biggest Takeaway
The biggest takeaway for Dorne was trusting in the process and believing that it would happen
Here's Dorne, on stage delivering to over 1000 women......
The feedback from the audience was incredible and I'm sure Dorne is now equipped to do this again with even more confidence in her abilities.
Sometimes when we want to step outside our comfort zone the fear can be overwhelming but instead of saying no and holding yourself back, take Dorne's approach. Ask for a little help, learn some practical tools so you know you can do it comfortably, confidently and then you're much more likely to make that come true.
Until next time
Owain and Rory have taken lessons of the wider psychological literature and of the Behavioural Insights team which was set up by the government in 2010 and turned them into a simple structure which can help you understand the small steps which in turn help you achieve your goals.
For those that don't know the Behavioural Insights team's soft motto was, 'shunning the bureaucratic levers of the past and finding intelligent ways to encourage, support and enable people to make better choices for themselves.' It's findings have been applied in job centres, schools and many other places, many referenced in the book.
I'm going to skip chapters 1 and 2 which are to Set and Plan, both gave me insights but it was chapter 3, Commit which I chose to share with you today.
One finding which jumped out at me was from the research by behavioural scientists Read, Loewenstein and Kalyanaraman which showed that we tend to prefer immediate 'vices' rather than immediate 'virtues' e.g. after a long day we'll choose to watch a mindless programme rather than a documentary, or buy a takeaway rather than eat a healthy meal.
This research also showed that if we commit to a plan further in advance we're more likely to stick to it.
Taking that one step further, research by Soloman Asch in the 1950s demonstrated that if we then made our commitment public, we were even more likely to stick to it. The final piece of advice from this chapter was to have a commitment referee, someone to keep you on track and again this increases your chances of success.
I haven't yet finished reading this insightful book but the next chapter talks about Reward and I love the idea of choosing a positive outcome which will reward your commitment to boost your motivation towards achieving your goal.
If you would like a copy of the book, click the link to the below......
Lets put these commitment ideas into practice.......
I'd like to help you reach your goals, I'd also like to help you make it more likely that you'll get there so as a result of reading this book, I've introduced my Monday Pledge and Reward. This will take place on my Refreshed Minds Facebook page, if you've not already liked the page you can do so here.
Here's how it works
Every Monday I'll give you the opportunity to publicly pledge your commitment for that week along with what your reward will be for achieving it. Then each Friday I'll check in with you and give you a chance to celebrate your achievement. Together we can make those big goals happen and help motivate each other along the way.
Like the Refreshed Minds Facebook page and come and join in.
Need more support to achieve your goals?
If your big dreams feel over-facing and you would love to Break Free and Find Clarity, join me in September for my 2.5 hour workshop sharing with you:
I hope you've enjoyed learning about Think Small with me and have found the topic of commitment thought provoking. If nothing else, think about how you could focus on the little steps which will enable you to reach your goals, rather than the big mountain.
Until next time.
PS. I am an Amazon Affiliate which means whenever I suggest a book, if you buy through my link I get a few pence as a thank you, which I usually put towards buying my next coffee.
Whether it's a new venture, a presentation, a job or a new hobby - our lives are full of new things, but nothing strikes fear into our minds like facing the unknown.
Today I wanted to explain why the unknown makes us nervous and share with you a few of my tips so you can have a Confidence Toolkit for those times when you're facing something new.
Why does my confidence wobble when faced with an unknown?
The reason why your confidence wobbles is because our unconscious mind needs the evidence to reference in order to determine our level of competence. It's only when you've practised something over and over do you have lots of evidence which supports how to do it. When it comes to facing something new there is no evidence to call upon and therefore your mind has to look elsewhere to determine our approach.
Your mind either searches internally for something similar or something it thinks is related which in some cases can make the situation feel even more confusing, or it looks outwardly for something to reference too. Effectively your antenna goes up and you start to notice other people doing it, or you're drawn to looking at books, videos etc looking for whats expected and how to do it......
Next it then depends on what your interpretation is of that reference. For most of us the outcome is 'I can't do this,' or 'I'll never be as good as them,' or 'I might as well not bother.' Which aren't very confidence boosting outcomes.
What do I do instead to boost my confidence?
I have a Confidence Toolkit which outlines the steps to take to stop the internal battles and readdress the confidence balance. I've put them into a little video which you can watch below.
The steps are:
1) A Powerful Stop
2) A few deep breaths
3) Change your language
4) Use distraction
5) Refocus the mind
And here's an example of how I would use these.
A few weekend's ago I was booked to go on a Segway Rally, I've never been on a Segway before. As I was walking to the start I started to feel my confidence wobble.....
What if I make a fool of myself......
Oh go what if I fall off.....
What if I break it and it costs me a fortune.
So I said a Powerful STOP. I took a few deep breaths. I changed my language to 'I'm looking forward to spending some time with my husband', 'I'm pretty sure we're going to have a fun.' I then distracted myself by admiring the beautiful grounds of the park as I walked. Finally I refocused my mind on the task once I arrived at the event start as there was a safety briefing to listen to.
Want more support to maximise your Confidence Toolkit?
I hope that's helped. Let me know how you get on with your new Confidence Toolkit.
Until next time