This morning I’m flying to Majorca for The Brand Stylist retreat. 4 days away to focus on nothing but how I take my business to the next level. I feel so lucky to have this opportunity. 4 days away feels like a huge indulgence but when the prep notes ask you to bring literally every piece of written or digital content you have about your business you know it's going to be worthwhile.
I tend to forget this, or not let myself remember it, but taking time away from your business is absolutely essential to keep it growing. It seems counter intuitive but there are three reasons why it's hugely valuable.
Time away allows you to:
Real creativity comes from the subconscious mind. Being ‘on’ all the time means we’re working in our conscious minds, constantly thinking and developing decision fatigue. It’s absolutely essential to give yourself the space to switch off and let the ideas flow.
Physically taking a step back to look at where your business is, creating physical distance between you and the day to day gives you a different, more abundant perspective. Taking the time to look at what’s working, what’s not working, what you could do more of, or less of and so on is an incredibly powerful way to create the breakthroughs you need.
Running a business is HARD WORK! Physical time away gives you time to recharge and renew. So when those ideas flow you have the energy you need to put them into action.
Making an impact on the world is largely to do with knowing where best to put your energy. So when I get the opportunity to do something that has a potential impact on not just my business but those of my clients and peers I grab it with both hands. Last week I was thrilled to be invited to an event run by The Entrepreneurs Network, a think tank set up to give entrepreneurs, small businesses and the self-employed a greater collective voice. It was called ‘A Parliament Fit for Entrepreneurs?’ and aimed to understand what the government needs to do to support entrepreneurs better.
I was excited to go, and at the time the discussion was absorbing and inspiring. The overwhelming message from the panel, made up of Baroness Susan Kramer, Andrew Dixon and Gilian Keegan MP was that the way to change government policy was to ‘get involved’. Lobby, speak to your MP, play your part in discussion groups and forums. ‘Great’ I thought, I’m here at this event, getting involved, changing things – that’s a start.
"The bit no-one talks about is the emotional side of running your own business" - Steph Douglas, Don't Buy Her Flowers. A quote from a talk I attended at Stylist Live last Friday - three successful female business owners, on stage talking about how to start a business in an industry that ostensibly you know nothing about.
All three, very impressive women, all three, disarmingly, well, female. Maybe it was the audience (at least 99% women), maybe it was the event (a fashion and lifestyle event), it was probably the brief (make your story accessible) but they were unashamedly and wonderfully open about what it means to be a woman in business.
The one thing I hear time and time again from business owners both new and old, startup or established, big or small is a feeling of overwhelm. A feeling of doing too much, being in too many meetings, trying to succeed on too many fronts.
It's a common issue, and there's a common cause. Complexity is the downfall of many a business and business leader. In the pursuit of success we do as many things as we can to get the results we want. We launch as many products as possible through as many channels as we can, create as many connections as possible and try and be everywhere at once. It's a kind of commercial spread betting and in the start up stage, it kind of makes sense.
I wrote a post last week asking working mothers what they struggle with most. It got nearly 200 responses, I couldn't keep up. As the responses started to roll in and I got chance to read them all, I noticed they fell into three main themes: mum guilt, time and focus, finances and childcare. It's time to drop the excuses ladies, if you want to take control of your career, you need to FIND A WAY.
If you're thinking about hiring a coach but don't know where to start, then you're not alone. The coaching landscape is incredibly confusing and extremely competitive. I posted on Facebook this week to do a bit of research on how people choose coaches and it garnered nearly 40 comments, many of which had various different descriptions of what coaching even is. It also attracted several other coaches trying to sell their services!
One of the main issues is that coaching seems to be a bit of a buzz word at the moment. The problem with that is, when people realise that they can add credibility to their offering by adding a word like coach, it becomes misappropriated time and time again. When everyone’s a coach, no one is a coach. I imagine it won’t be long before McDonalds rename their servers food selection coaches.
So if you think you might benefit from the help of a coach, but you don't know where to start, let me help you to cut through some of the crap!
This week, I wanted to write in a bit more detail about an area that I really struggled with in particular on this holiday, and that's self doubt. It’s something I help people with every day but that doesn’t mean I’m immune to it myself and when it gets me, it really does it’s worst. I've questioned whether I should even write this post but I see so many women struggling with this every day that I really wanted to share my thoughts.
Holiday… Celebrate? How to manage holiday stress and actually relax!
I’ve just got back from a 10 day break in Majorca. Big picture, it was bliss. 10 days of late starts, long breakfasts, sunny, breezy boat watching from the balcony and afternoons spent by the pool. What could be better? Well to start off with, my head could have been in a much better place. If you, like me, feel as though holiday stress, and the pressure to have an instahappy time makes it feel far from relaxing at times then at least take comfort in the fact that we are not alone – a quick google search on vacation stress returned 179 million results!
I don’t know many people who love their job quite as much as I do. I come away from coaching sessions literally buzzing from head to toe. I know, I sound like a maniac, but honestly, there is nothing greater than seeing potential unlocked and dreams being allowed a chance to come true. It really can happen. With the right framework and mindset in place, it is possible to achieve whatever you want.
On the mindset point particularly, in my time as a coach I’ve noticed some recurring themes. To support my clients, I’ve also put many hours into finding out what the most successful women out there have in common. I wanted to share with you the top 5 habits shared by the women who really stand out: