Do You Profit From Being Stuck?


 

Abstract:
 

Not too long ago, I went through a period of little progress in my business. I worked hard but had little to show for it. After a while, I noticed that being stuck felt oddly familiar and even comfortable, because it confirmed my old lack of self-confidence, not feeling good enough and it satisfied the nagging voice asking: “Who am I to try and change the world?”
 

I figured I might as well use this opportunity to heal some old wounds inside myself. It took some digging but I eventually got to the bottom of it.
 
 

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What’s really going on

 

You may experience being stuck in any number of ways: You may suffer from writer’s block, a lack of creative ideas, relationship problems or a dead-end job. That’s the surface issue, but there’s always something underlying as well.
 

In my case, it was a fear of losing the people I love if I “grow beyond them” and become successful or wealthy. Yours might look completely different, but in most cases it’s about not wanting to leave a safe zone where you feel protected from whatever it is your subconscious fears.
 

being stuck
 

Benefit outside of being stuck

 

The process to get un-stuck has two steps:
 

  1. Be very good to yourself. This happens to everyone who achieves anything, so don’t beat yourself up! Be kind and most of all, patient – the process may take time. Practice self care, get enough sleep, good food etc.
  2.  

  3. Try and get the benefit in some way that doesn’t require you being stuck. In my case, I reached out to get reassurance from my loved ones. Whatever it is for you, create the same benefit in some different way, and then your block will dissolve, because it’s no longer needed.

Find Your “Why” In 3 Simple Steps

Find Your Why

When I talk about my motivation behind offering Coaching about money and help to find your Why, I usually tell the story of when I went into debt decades ago. It was an utterly terrifying and isolating experience which has shaped my entire life since.
 

And yet – I was broke, but I still had a roof over my head, I still had food to eat, and I was in a country with social security where I never had to worry about being able to afford healthcare or have my basic needs met.
 

In the years that followed, I worked through the laborious and for the most part, completely un-glamorous process of financial recovery. As I made mistakes and learned, studied, read, and saved and denied myself everything, I listened to many millionaire gurus’ stories.
 

They told about how they had lost everything, became homeless, or nearly died after alcohol or drug abuse. Everyone seemed to have one defining experience which shook them up enough to turn things around.
 

Sometimes, when things were hard and unrewarding, I almost wished I’d had a wake-up moment like that. Something truly drastic which would fire me up enough to make it through the long slog, the many years of getting back on my feet.
 

If you’ve ever wondered if you have what it takes to truly go for your dreams, this article is for you. I’ll spoil the ending: You do have what it takes. Here’s how you, too, can find your Why.
 
 

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The power of rock bottom

 

I’m not denying that a catastrophic life event or experience can definitely help your determination and perseverance. When you’re at rock bottom, the only way is up, as they say. Remember Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind, as she stood on her land raising a fistful of soil and swearing to the evening sky that she and hers would never starve again? These are moments which stick in memory.
 

We all like hearing stories like these. They’re terrible, but because they are usually told from the perspective of someone who has overcome the adversity, they give us a comfortable sense of infinite possibility. There’s nothing more inspiring than a human who’s overcome all the odds and triumphed.
 

Do look for these stories, but please don’t feel like you fall short in comparison. Use them for inspiration instead, without comparing your own life. You can be just as strong and determined as a surviver of calamity, if you only learn to access that power to find your Why.
 
 

Find your Why

 

I tell you at every turn to pursue your passion and find your purpose. In our world of seeking material gain and worldly achievement, it’s a lot harder to do these things than they should be. Doing what lights you up and shaping your life around that, is your birthright. It shouldn’t be so danged difficult to make that happen, should it?
 

The gurus who used to be homeless and became millionaires, the starving artist who overcame addiction to become a celebrated painter, they’re one in a million. If you’re one of the other 999,999 just like me, then your big “Why” might not be so obvious. That doesn’t mean it isn’t there, though – you just have to dig a little deeper. Here’s how.
 
 

3 ways to unleash your Why

 

1. Imagine loss. Lightning strikes your house, the roof starts to burn. You need to get out. What’s the first thing that comes to your head, that you want to save? Note: this is not about the most important/logical thing to save, but the absolutely first thing which springs to mind.
 

2. Defining life moments. On a piece of paper, draw a timeline representing your life to date. Mark important or defining moments in your life on that timeline, and then ask yourself what these moments are. Be sure not to just mark things like marriage and births, but also other experiences which affected you emotionally and shaped you.
 

3. Emotional response. What makes you choke up or cry? What kinds of scenes in movies or books? Which kinds of experiences? What genuinely moves you? Also, what makes you tingly or grin happily?
 

Your answers to these exercises all contain hints to find your Why. Try and pin it down. Don’t give up if it isn’t immediately clear. It is there, and once you have it, hold on to it. This is why it’s worth the effort to grow as a person. It’s why you must do what lights you up, why you must find your purpose. It’s what makes your life magnificent.

Power Up Your Passions

passion and community

My friend Sarah and I were sitting in our favourite cafe discussing ideas and dreams as we always do. One recurring theme was our little town, and how much we’d like to create community there. “There are so many talented artists and crafters around here… and none of them know each other!” I exclaimed.
 

A month later, we held our first Community Market in the large beer garden behind the local pub Sarah’s family owns. Yesterday, we had the 4th of the monthly markets, and we’re getting more and more stalls each time. Artists and crafters are coming together and getting to know each other. The atmosphere on these markets is quite unique; fun and inspiring at the same time, for both stall owners and visitors.
 

There’s a certain magic which happens when creative people share a physical space. The truth is, making art or crafts can be a little lonely at times, and so can writing or practising music. To touch minds with other creatives feels like the breath of life, and it’s something I believe could benefit practically everyone. This includes you, even if you say you’re “just a beginner” or “not good enough” at your art or craft!
 
 

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The Red Tent movement

 

You may have heard about the “Red Tent” movement, inspired by the novel. Basically, women of all ages get together in a safe space to share stories and experiences. They laugh, cry, dance, support each other, and form a bond which spans generations.
 

Of course arts aren’t excluded from these spaces, but they aren’t their main focus. I’ve always thought that we need a similar movement for passions, and the Community Market I mentioned above is part of this dream made reality. It’s so incredibly important to share and reach out to others.
 

There’s a powerful synergy effect when people share things they have in common. It doesn’t even have to be the same passion, or even an art at all (our market includes everything from bows and arrows to homemade food, with paintings, knitting, homemade soap, and jewellery in between). Passionate people are contageous. Put in the same space, they “infect”, inspire, motivate, and support each other. It’s a natural process.
 
 

How this can benefit your passion

 

When I talk to friends or clients, it’s always variations of the same theme: We don’t have enough time for our passion or we don’t have the money. Oftentimes it’s just a matter of finding “headspace”, enough energy to devote ourselves to what lights us up.
 

It can be a struggle, and it’s all too easy to just give in to society’s demands. We end up going with the flow of being functioning citizens who work, eat, sleep, and do the housework.
 

But that’s not how we’re supposed to be. To truly live our joy, our full passionate and creative potential, goes against our modern society’s fabric. In order to stick with it, we need all the support we can get. And where better to find it than from other passionates and creatives?
 
 

Ways to make it happen

 

Not everyone’s family owns a pub with a beer garden. There is, however, a strange dynamic which happens when ideas like this are born: Things tend to fall into place. When you start to reach out to even one fellow passionate in your life, the universe begins to move in your favour.
 

Make a point of seeking out others like yourself and talk to them. Plant in their minds the idea of community, of sharing and mutual support. Have a pie-in-the-sky session where nothing is too crazy and every idea can be voiced, even if it sounds completely over the top.
 

Eventually, someone’s going to come up with an idea. There could be a community space that’s available for free some nights a week. It might even be a private person’s large garden or living room at first! Whether you’re starting a knitting group or a book club, a market or a discussion space, things will fall into place. They always do, as long as you make your intention heard and share it with others.
 

If all else fails, you can always resort to the internet. It’s not quite as powerful as sharing physical space, but it’s still inspiring to exchange ideas and mutual support with fellow passionates online. Seek out forums, Facebook groups, or other platforms. A Google search can open up a treasure chest of new friends to be made.
 

Stack the odds in your favour when it comes to pursuing your passions. It’s worth working for, and the rewards far exceed the investment in terms of time and energy.

Monday Sparkles: Your Priorities Aren’t What You Think

Sunny hillside, wild money, wild spirit

It’s clear that we aren’t always free to choose our priorities exactly how we want them. If we could, every loved-up couple would spend all their time together and hardly anyone would turn up to work anymore. However, we do have control over our lives and therefore it’s worth it to take a look at our actions versus our intentions.

In the following, I’m going to help you gain clarity about your own, deepest priorities in life. If it turns out they aren’t aligned with your life situation, I’m also going to suggest steps to take towards balancing priorities with the demands of life.

Let’s dive in.

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What really matters to you?

Open a new text document, or if you prefer, take out pen and paper. I would like you to take five minutes to write down your priorities. Be sure not to write what you think is expected of you (family, kids and so forth feature on most people’s lists, but please don’t put down anything just because you feel it’s “the right thing” to focus on). Nobody will see this list apart from you, so be completely honest with yourself.

I suggest you start out by brainstorming anything that’s important to you without regard to the order in which you write them down. Once your list is complete, you can try ranking it. You should end up with at least five items (there might be as many as 15, or more) saying anything from “my husband” to “table tennis” and “time spent alone in nature”. Don’t forget to include worldly matters like success in your job or making money.

The moment of truth

Next, start a new page and write two more lists:

1. A list of the things you spend money on each month.
2. A list of where you spend your time every day and week.

The first list will be easy to put together if you’ve done the first part of my free money training series. One of the exercises was to write a list of all your expenses in a month. If you haven’t done the training yet, it’s still there for you whenever you wish to do it, and in the meantime you can simply write down your expenses by yourself.

Number 2 is even easier: How many of your weekly waking hours do you spend at work, doing housework, chauffeuring your kids, following your passions, with loved ones, exercising, etc etc? Rank this list, too, and the money list, by largest amounts of time respectively money spent. Now compare these two lists to your list of priorities, the one you wrote out first. What do you see?

Your result and what to do about it

They say, “money talks”. I say, yes it does, and time talks, too. What does your comparison reveal? Do you spend your money and your time where your heart lies? Or is your life out of alignment with your goals? The truth is that your priorities are wherever you spend your money and your time. It’s good and well to protest that other things are more important to you – as long as your actions, your life, don’t reflect this, your “priorities” remain pretty words.

This may sound harsh, especially since there are realities in life we all face, such as having to pay rent or a mortgage, and needing money for food. Like I said at the beginning of this article, most of us have obligations we cannot simply break free of, especially since they often affect other people in our lives as well, such as children or other family members.

At the same time, it’s still possible to align your life with what matters to you. Work and obligations only take up so much time. The rest of your day is up to you. You may argue that you’re tired in the evenings, but does TV really refresh you or is it just convenient? Look over your list again and find the time- and money-wasters. If you are serious about putting your money (and time) where your heart is, you’re going to have to learn money management as well as time management and be ruthless with anything that keeps you from living the way you want to.

It’s quite a process, and I gently suggest you get some support in the form of a buddy, a mastermind group, or a Coach. Your life is your own, and it’s up to you to shape it into a form you love! Otherwise, what’s the point? The effort is always worth it.

Monday Sparkles: Information Overload vs Action

Information overload, coaching, pursue your passion
A few years back, I went to see Peter Gabriel live (again), and in between two songs he talked about, in his typical insightful way, how these days dictators can no longer get away with “disappearing” people in secret. People will spread the news via the internet to every corner of the earth. He went on to say that ordinary people have never been so powerful, and that we have yet to realise the full extent of that power we hold through modern media.

I’m tickled by the potential, the endless possibilities of this. In a way, I already participate in this with my one-woman freelance business which is conducted through Skype, with people from all over the world, people I never would have connected with if it wasn’t for the internet. Peter Gabriel is right, we have only just scratched the surface of what we can do.

There is, however, a danger inherent in the immediate accessibility of information. That danger is that we will get better and better informed all the time, learn more and more, but fail to actually do anything. And with the constant bombardment from advertising and cute but pointless Social Media stories, we often end up spending a disproportionate amount of time on trivial bits of “news” instead of taking action and living our own lives.
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Information Overload

Have you ever scrolled through Facebook, commented, reacted, clicked and read articles, and suddenly realised you just spent two full hours doing nothing but stare at your computer (or phone)? It’s scary how these things can eat up your time, even if the articles you’ve been reading were actually useful.

Marie Forleo says: “Clarity comes through engagement, not thought.” We try to figure out our lives and move forward, and to that end we tend to collect and consume more information and learning, hoping that this will give us direction and purpose. In reality, though, only action – moving forward, making mistakes, performing course corrections and gaining ever more experience – will give us the clarity we crave.

 

Striking the balance

Some people reject the internet and especially Social Media altogether, but that’s throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I don’t think we should forego all the amazing benefits of the internet just because we can’t restrain ourselves and “overdose” on information. In the following, I give you some steps to take towards sanity and a productive balance between information and action.

Be smart with your online time. I used to have my email open in one tab and Facebook in another at all times when I was at the computer. Every time I saw a new notification or email, I’d interrupt what I was working on and check it out compulsively. It scattered my focus and made my work take twice as long.

These days, I check email and my social media accounts three times a day. When I receive newsletters (yes, I too am subscribed to some newsletters, just like you read Monday Sparkles!), I save them in a special folder and read them in the half-hour I have allocated each day for “educational reading”. I quickly scan through offers and promotions, reply to business and personal emails, look through my social media accounts, respond to comments etc, and then I close these tabs again. Done.

To cut it short: I recommend using the internet, but use it on your own terms and in your own time.

Spend “offline” time with people who matter. I have recently ramped up my work on my Coaching business, and whilst this is one of my passions and lights me up, it also means more time spent on my own, working, because I also have a daytime job. To balance this, I make a conscious effort to have fun in between, and most especially to meet friends “in the flesh” regularly. I often don’t feel like I’m missing something and only afterwards realise how good it’s done me to actually hug and talk to people I love.

To cut it short: Your passions are important, but so are the people in your life. Make sure to spend quality time with loved ones regularly.

Take action. Forget waiting for the right time, or until you’re ready. If you want to do something, start! Get Coaching (the shortcut to action!), get a teacher, do whatever it takes to get into action mode. If you just keep reading and learning about it, you might get smarter but you’re no step closer to actually living what you really want.

To cut it short: Stop overthinking and take a first step towards your goal today. You can thank me later!