I wrote my first ’10 things I’ve learned’ back in mid-2013 when I was finalising the new website. Soon after that I became very unwell with glandular fever and decided to put the new site and launch on hold while I recovered. I had a lot of time off and it wasn’t until the following January that I revisited the new website and realised we didn’t have it quite right. In fact, it was a lovely site and brand, but it wasn’t aligned with what I really wanted to bring to the world.
And so began a new strategy process – ALL OVER AGAIN – the execution of which began a year after that. Here I am in 2015, a whole three years after I first penned the vision and values of this movement (which haven’t changed one bit), newly re-launched.
It is so good to be here. And I have learned so much about my business, myself and the art of balancing passion, health and client service.
Here are some of those insights.
- Creativity is not a to-do list; let it flow. One of the big aha-moments for me this year has been around giving myself space to be my creative self. Back in March I was talking with a friend by phone and saying how I needed to get the imagery for the brand finished for the webmaster and it was just a big hassle. She was really surprised and pointed out that I love all that creative stuff, so how was it a hassle suddenly? It made me realise I had turned a creative process into a to-do list that just had to be done.I turned it back into a get-to-do instead of a have-to-do and planned some time with that very friend and then later my designer to start playing with the imagery. It was fun, productive and super worthwhile.
- Creativity needs its own time and space. I think creativity happens at the oddest moments and when we’re at our most relaxed. I feel ideas percolating away and then an aha moment might occur while driving along in the car, or folding washing. I think we also need chunks of time and space for the deeper creative spark to light up with process and product our best stuff. I spent a morning and two afternoons around my dining room table with hundreds of images, and out of that evolved the heart of the brand.
- Being a slave-driver is a choice. Given this wee re-brand has taken 3 years (I’m honestly not kidding) you can imagine what kind impatience one could experience in trying to finalise things and go live. Patience?! It has been the lack thereof that has at times had me pushing myself or those helping me, only to fairly quickly feel the discomfort and pressure of that, and to then back off again. The thing is, you can push through and make things happen faster. Sometimes it’s necessary. Often it isn’t. In many instances, I decided to choose sanity over speed.
- It’s about balancing wellness and performance. When you choose sanity over speed, it brings more balance into the wellness and performance equation, which I think is the sweet spot in enjoying our work. When we only have wellness we might feel healthy but we may not be achieving or contributing to our potential. When we have performance at the cost of health and wellness, the satisfaction is short lived and not enjoyed nearly so much. Getting to the end of the week so knackered you don’t even have enough juice in the tank to go for a walk or run on Saturday, or to play around with the kids is hardly quality of life! This balancing act sometimes means things take a little longer. I’ve noticed that despite what we think we ‘should’ have achieved in a particular timeframe, 9 times out of 10, the earth continues to turn despite our incompletions. Actually that’s 10/10.
- No one can see your Vision with the clarity you have. I was working with a business-owner client recently who was seeking lending from their bank to fund the purchase of another business. The deal was solid but the bank was super hesitant. As we discussed how he wanted to approach the situation and uncovered and cleared some self-limiting beliefs around the situation, he suddenly said “No one can see the whole picture the way I can.” The hesitant bank manager didn’t have the same view of the industry, past successful purchases and the potential for growth. But my client could. With his newfound confidence and clarity he went to another bank, they lent the money, and the deal is almost done.In the process of rebranding I have had all manner of people ask me what I’m trying to do, what the purpose is, why this or that is important, and it’s easy to let those questions rattle you. They are a way of reminding you to tune in to what you know is true, what you know is possible, and why you’re aiming for what you’re aiming for. No one has that whole picture clearer than you.
- Stick to your guns and stand for what you want. I’ve talked before about being a big advocate for seeking advice, and I’ve been lucky to have so many experts around me in this process. There are many decisions to be made, and sometimes you need more information before you can make them. And sometimes people disagree with you. On one design point on my website I sought opinions from about five people because I’d been told I shouldn’t do it my way. Four out of the five agreed with me. My instinct was right from the start. I realised I could back myself and stick to my guns.
- Trust the process and trust others. In the midst of wondering when a project is ever going to be finished, and knowing so many things are outside your control – you can’t do everything or know everything – it’s easy to fall into those ruts of ‘oh god, this isn’t going to work’ or ‘it’s going to be a disaster!’. I’m pleased to say I’ve avoided these ruts for the most part, but I’ve still had moments where I’ve needed to remind myself to focus on the outcome I envision, and really line up with that. I think if we have a clear vision then we can trust the process and trust others to make it happen. That’s the energy to bring; focusing on what you want and what you want more of, not what might be missing, not working or unfinished.
- Communication makes all the difference. It’s so easy to sit at your computer, waiting for an email or a phone call and almost tearing your hair out wondering if ‘that thing’ is going to be finished/solved/approved today. I’ve had various periods where I have asked my webmaster or designer for an update on timing – not because I want to push them but because I just need a timeline to work other things around. I think knowing one way or another helps. Even if it’s not good news.
- Perfection is over-rated. I have been a ‘recovering perfectionist’ for most of my adult life. My first boss, who was probably the best boss I ever had, was always trying to beat out of me the need to have everything 110%. He told me my 80% was usually bang on, and that I was then to get on with the next thing to do. It is a work in progress…! Earlier in the process of creating the new brand and site, I heard myself saying time and again, ‘I’ll do that once we’re on the new site’. Some things have had to wait, but I soon realised that you can’t put life on hold while you try to get everything perfect/redone/re-launched. In recent months we’ve run events, created products and continued to build on our customer service whilst we’ve been ‘getting ready’ to do those things. As Thich Nhat Hanh says “We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living.”
- It really does start with you. Of everything I’ve discovered in recent times, what stands out for me the most is that the solution to anything I struggle through in my life lies with me, and in fact, I keep discovering it over and over again. Whilst it is so tempting to blame others, the economy or the weather, or to wish things were different in some way, or to blame ourselves for what’s what, simply accepting what is and then looking inside as to what needs to be done, changed or healed is usually what takes us forward (and sometimes there is wisdom in knowing that the answer that is ‘nothing’).
I know anything I want to overcome, heal, or achieve starts with me. How powerful it is to know that.