It has been months since I have properly written on this blog and I’ve been going round in circles not sure of where to start because there is just so much to share!
Two different things have been going on for me:
1. The Work Stuff
Work wise things have been going pretty well. I haven’t achieved world domination but I have had a slow and steady stream of work that has kept business ticking over and moving me in the right direction.
It has all fitted around the kids which has always been my number one priority and all in all things were fine.
But just fine.
And I wasn’t really enjoying things being ‘just fine’.
I often got frustrated with myself and if I am honest with some of my clients.
For those that don’t know already know me, I have been mentoring female small business owners, usually solopreneurs on the practical aspects of running their business – everything from getting their websites up and running to implementation planning to content development.
Two things became clear to me over the course of the year:
Practical Advice Is Only 20% Of The Picture
You can give all of the practical advice in the world but if the recipient is not in the right headspace to receive that advice and take action, then it is pretty much pointless.
I have had many conversations with people about what they ‘should’ do to build their business and then got very frustrated when they weren’t taking the action required.
The old saying ‘you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink’ springs to mind.
Some of them did and they reaped the rewards.
However, some of them didn’t.
There were a variety of reasons for them not taking action but more often than not the root cause was FEAR.
Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of what others would thing, fear of not being good enough, fear of making the wrong decision…. fear, fear, fear.
Others would head off in the right direction and then get derailed by events outside of their control or distracted by bright shiny objects that came their way.
What I came to realise was that my practical advice was often falling on deaf ears. Many of my clients who had the potential to create and build an amazing business were not having the success they deserved because the self belief, confidence and resilience wasn’t there.
I have a very limited attention span(!)
The second thing that I learned or more accurately, have come to accept, is that I have a very limited attention span.
If you look back at my corporate CV I was rarely in a role for more than 2 years. In my five years of self employment my target market has evolved several times and I’ve had my fingers in various (online) pies.
I realised earlier this year that yet again, I had got to the point where I was getting bored of what I was teaching people.
And a bored person is not an inspired person.
But I fought against this boredom because I didn’t think that I could change AGAIN. I mean seriously…. will I ever find that ‘thing’ that I’m supposed to do when I grow up?
It doesn’t seem that I will…. Apparently I’m a multipotentialite. Watch the clip below if you think I’ve gone slightly crazy and made up a word.
It’s a rather grand word to sum up somebody who has lots of different interests and wants to explore them all.
I’m not sure I want to be a multipotentialite.
There are some people who are born, grow up, get married and raise their children in the same town. They pick a career at the age of 20 and stay in the same job for the next 40 years. And they are blissfully happy!
I envy them! I do think being satisfied with regularity and routine would make things so much easier.
But I’ve always had itchy feet, eager to try the next project, the next employer, the next business opportunity. Although thankfully we do seem to have put down roots in a community and have no intention of moving physical location any time soon.
It’s taken me nearly 40 years but I can now accept that is who I am and I never am going to discover ‘what I’m going to be when I grow up’.
It’s time to face facts, I already am a grown up and I am just me being me.
Incidentally, I’ve always tried and struggled to come up with quirky business names and titles…. a couple of weeks ago I changed all my social media tags to @iamnicolasemple.
A little way of me accepting that I am just me being me.
2. The Personal Development Stuff
Now in parallel to this growing frustration I have been doing a huge amount of personal development work. Thinking about it, the growing frustration may well have been as a direct consequence of the personal development work.
I have always been a keen reader but this year I have voraciously consumed dozens of business and personal development books and most importantly, I have put into practice a lot of the things that I have learned. I’ll add some reviews on the blog over the next few months but in the meantime drop me an email if you want some specific recommendations.
I have also been embracing some ‘woo woo’. For years I had tried and failed to meditate. So many people, particularly other business owners, had told me that they got enormous benefit from meditation and I believed them.
But every time I tried to meditate I just got a sore bottom, a stiff neck and a feeling of ‘so what exactly am I supposed to be doing?’
At the start of 2017 I saw a local mindfulness class advertised and thought ‘right let’s go and see what all the fuss is about’. It certainly wasn’t love at first sight… or love at first breath but I diligently attended the course, did all of the homework and little by little over the course of the eight weeks I noticed a difference.
I noticed that I was calmer, that my mind was not racing at a million miles an hour, I noticed that I was enjoying the time I had with my family more and I noticed that I was better able to deal with life in general.
Also, the more I learned about mindfulness there were light bulbs going off in my head about the impact mindfulness could have on small business owners. Could embracing mindfulness help to stop my clients who were getting derailed and distracted? Could it help to build their confidence and conviction in themselves and their business?
Never being one to do things by half measures…. I signed up for a six month Professional Mindfulness Practitioner training with the Dorset Mindfulness Centre. It has been nothing short of transformative.
I spent a lot of time over the summer thinking about how I could bring this new knowledge to life and how I could use it to help the busy and overwhelmed people around me. Particularly the small business owners with very limited support networks to prop them up and keep them moving on their journey.
As frequently happens, the mind monkeys started to take over and I had to talk them down:
Mind Monkey: Who am I go teach people about mindfulness? I mean seriously, I’m all about business not ‘woo woo’ stuff.
No Nonsense Nicola: There are a lot of people out there who are not into ‘woo woo’ stuff. They’d be scared off by somebody who was but perhaps would be more open to learning from somebody with a practical and pragmatic approach.
Mind Monkey: Busy people are too busy being busy to take time out to learn about mindfulness.
No Nonsense Nicola: Mmmmm but isn’t the whole point that becoming more mindful will help them to free up time and since I was so sceptical to begin with perhaps that makes me ideally positioned to convince them they need to make the time.
Mind Monkey: What will people think?
No Nonsense Nicola: People will think what they will think. I can’t control that. And after the first 30 seconds of thinking ‘that’s an odd shift of direction’ they’ll probably get back to worrying about their own stuff.
And just as No Nonsense Nicola was getting the Mind Monkeys under control, a delicious piece of synchronicity occurred. I received an email from Google congratulating me on my scholarship to their Search Inside Yourself: Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence Leadership programme.
I had applied for the scholarship months ago and had completely forgotten all about it.
It was a little nudge from somebody, somewhere that I was moving in exactly the right direction.
So I now come at this with the acceptance that my business is about to pivot (again).
Indulge me for a minute….when I write the word ‘pivot’ there is only one thing that springs into my head…. if you’ve got a spare 3 minutes, watch this and remember how awesome Friends was:
And I wholeheartedly, unashamedly embrace the pivot, the shift in direction and remind myself that I have the freedom to do exactly what I want and not to give a stuff about ‘what other people will think‘. After all:
“Freedom is not the absence of commitments but the ability to choose – and commit myself to what is best for me” Paulo Coelho
Here is to embracing what is best for you too!
If you are interested in finding out more about mindfulness and the transformative effect that being more mindful can have on your business then please drop me an email and let’s chat.
This is all new and all being scoped out at the moment. I’m developing something that is unlike anything that I have seen before. It’s scary and it’s exciting and I’d love to tell you more about it!