Not to bypass from the current experience or themes that are (for me at least, there’s no need to bypass what I’ve already visited many times over the last few decades and already found ways to navigate. Ways I can now share with others at such times. For some of you, that might ring true too, and for some, maybe this is where you need a hand right now?) But as a balance point. As the inner truth you stay connected to throughout all of this and the fuel to your ongoing fire. That continues to inform what you do in your personal and professional time, no matter how many aspects of it may have to either, temporarily, go on hold. Or be reworked into a new form of expression and presentation right now.
If I were to put that process in a map it might look a bit like this:
IGNITION- to feel into what you love and what lights you up
DECISION- to own it and decide to express it
IMPLEMENTATION- to start taking personal and professional action steps to express it
COMMUNICATION- the real world feedback loop as we share with others, which leads to either validation, encouragement, reaction or reflection
RESOLUTION- the engagement with what has come up as a roadblock along the way, with the intent to make peace with it. (Not to lose oneself in chasing trying to fix it all, but to just deal with each roadblock that appears as we live on purpose and purposefully choose to move in the direction of our soulful purpose)
REALISATION- every little breakthrough, every step of learning, enjoyment, achievement along the way
EVOLUTION- the continuing process of creation and innovation that individually and collectively evolves, as one continues to connect with one’s inner light, and express and be of service
But that’s to keep the parts of our brains and minds that might need a process to feel safe and content to proceed. Now I’m speaking to the creative part, and your heart. What is it that you just can’t wait to spend some more time doing right now? What are the things that you truly love and feel called to do, when you have time now for you?
For me, every morning I wake up right now and there are so many things I love to do that I just can’t wait to do. Things I can STILL do, despite all of this. I can answer questions and find new ways to work from home. I can sing. The first thing I’m doing the moment my replacement Go Get access card arrives (or a friend with some time does) is do a run to storage for warmer clothes and my keyboard. So many songs I can’t wait to play. I can still dance every day. I can do yoga or workout. I can write. I’ve been able to still walk or run to the bush/park with the stream in it, just up the street for my x1 exercise piece a day, without coming near anyone else. People I love, who love me, are just a message or a phone call away. I can tell people what I love about them, I can tell them what beauty, what talent, what amazingness I see in them.
I make myself laugh with the 26 potential funny videos I keep writing in my head. I can meditate, I can talk to spirit, I can play with tarot cards. I can delight in the colours of the sunset from my window, or the sweetness of a piece of fruit. Or in the feeling of the breeze on my skin, in the evening. I can have a bath. I can still dream a thousand technicolour dreams (and I do.) I feel great comfort in the feeling of my own hand on my own heart, or my arm, or my belly, or my leg. In the presence of nature, of ancestors, of loved ones and the presence of so many people I feel ‘with me.’ Even all the microorganisms within me seem like they’re singing with delight, since we’ve been chatting of late and come to a whole new level of peace and harmony in regards to sharing in this body, that’s really a community, not just me... and working on physically healing the things in me that the medical system can’t make a priority right now to heal. (This might sound like crazy Transpersonal, Shamanic talk to some, but If only the whole system could start to see and understand microorganisms in a similar way, as our ally, not our enemy we’re at war with, my Goodness we could turn the tide of this this pandemic a WHOLE lot faster.)
And as someone who’s had not a just (another) potentially ‘lethal’ virus to face, but a year of (periodically) journeying her own version of what both her parents had either died of or just starting having cut out by my age, who has had to sit an extra precious month of time minimum in limbo without biopsied confirmation that this tumour ISN’T cancerous, not unlike the time I stood there on my 9th birthday, 2 days after my Mother had died, being told I had a choice now whether I closed down and lost myself for years now in the grief, or decided to commit to going on and living life and loving to my fullest capacity, confined to a bedroom/study and one building or no, and even if it IS just a ‘harmless’ cystic fibroid:
I choose to make the most of this time. I choose to love, I choose life, I choose joy, I choose to do my best to serve whoever I can help.
I wouldn't want to waste this precious time I have, fighting pointless battles, trying to convince people who don’t see it that there’s something worth looking at within me, that I hold something of value, that I’m worthy of their time. While I can't help myself but WANT to keep creating and wanting to contribute to something that makes a massive difference, that reflects in quality the level of love I (and others) inevitably pour into it, I don’t want to waste that time losing myself, trying to create something that impresses, that is world leading, that wins all the prizes, chasing glory, recognition, numbers, losing all my focus being distracted by that thing off in the distance, not being grateful enough for what i've achieved yet, that I’ve bent all my focus on, to the neglect of what and who sits in front of me in the present...I want to be here fully in THIS moment, living, loving and expressing, making the most of this opportunity to engage with people who are here and ready to engage with it, right here, right now.
While I feel about the happiest, the most balanced I’ve ever been in my own company (because lord knows there were years spent in the middle of nowhere, alone, where I certainly wasn’t), I wouldn't want to spend this time playing out old patterns, withdrawing or holding out on love, or hold back out of fear, like Liz Gilbert at the end of Eat Pray Love, fearing that I’m going to lose my balance and people won’t like my crazy once you see the real me, with all my crazy patterns and illnesses and scars. I choose love. I choose doing what I love. I choose to share what I love and be of service where I can, from a place of love, with those who want to share in that love.
And so if anything, if there’s one thing that I hope rubs off on you from reading this, it’s that I hope it serves to deeper activate that part of you too, that amidst all of this world crazy, can’t wait to do just a little bit more of what you love, and light up the world of those you love, just a little bit more, in whatever new ways you might now find or create to do so. Keep reaching for it within all of this. Let it have expression and a voice. Let it lift you and the world up.
Until next time...
This week, amidst all that is currently going on in the world, a quote I shared in 2013 spontaneously reemerged out of the archival depths of the Facebook servers and has been doing the rounds. Join me this week if you're interested in a discussion about how and why this quote can be and what we can do to stay on track to living, loving, engaging with life and finding new ways to connect, despite all of this.
Fear is adaptive in a few respects:
-Protection: It has it’s useful evolutionary protective function by reminding us to be cautious in dangerous circumstances
-Reconnection: It beckons us to reconnect with and start listening to ourselves at times when our head has been off in the clouds of whatever vision or project we’ve been completely consumed with. Or have been running away with ‘what if’s’ And can be one of the triggers from within that can bring us back out of worrying about the future and back into the NOW. It puts us back into connection with our own life force and wakes us back up into feeling ALIVE.
-Education: And it is also a very effective teacher, if we choose to sit in class for the lesson.
In the end, it’s what we DO with all that energy next that makes it either helpful, or maladaptive.
If we try and shut it down, stuff it down and ignore it, or run away from whatever caused it, for example:
-the central object at the heart of a phobia (eg the spider, the dog, the virus) or
-the experience at the heart of one e.g. the act of standing in front of a room of people, being rejected in business, being rejected in dating, abandonment, criticism or negative feedback, ill health or potential death
the downside is that we may never learn to be emotionally resilient, or get to practice staying centred and grounded in the face of that potential threat. Which, in turn, means, that we might miss out on the ‘good good’ that’s waiting on the other side of dealing with it. We might miss out on living life.
Part of the reason that both adrenaline junkies and people working with, say an Hypnotherapist or NLP Practitioner or Coach on a specific phobia end up overcoming that fear, is not just because of the specific techniques used. But because the act of being brought face to face with their fear, makes them have to stay and be present with the experience of the fear, for maybe the first time. And in staying present with this thing, this thing that they’ve built it up in their minds with a thousand repetitive thoughts and stories full of whatever evidence they’ve seen reinforce their worst fears about that thing or experience to be valid, they then have no choice but to experience the ACTUAL reality about that thing and to start to realise a new truth about it, instead.
That, whatever the thing was, neither the experience of their fear of that thing, or the actual thing itself, actually killed them (or was ever likely to.) And that they DID in fact cope in the face of it, once they stopped trying so hard to control and repress all their reactions to it and just let what is essentially the healing and transformation process flow into happening…and then they inevitably got to the other side of the experience, in which they start to go something like, “oh hey, actually that wasn’t as bad as I thought, actually I CAN cope with this, this is how I do it, i'm stronger than i thought. I can do this!”…and a whole new mental story and a shift in the beliefs that underly it starts to develop.
Which ultimately then allows you to start being around that thing or experience in a whole new way. And with repeatedly being around it further, your capacity to stay centred and present despite it, and maintain your perspective despite it, builds. More than that, from this more centred place, you can now consciously choose to direct your thoughts and channel your energy into creating a different experience, one that moves you towards your end goal and in the direction of what you desired in the first place, rather than AWAY from it.
This is why simply trying to shift our thoughts and lift our vibrational frequency to create a better, healthier, happier reality alone doesn’t always work in resolving a phobia and the web of past traumas that are interwoven with it. It can become a bypass strategy that helps us feel something better and formulate a vision of living what we want instead. But if that is our only response every time a fear comes up, it’s still a bit like driving AROUND the block in the middle of the road, without anyone stopping to drag it OFF the road and or take it somewhere for recycling or reuse for another purpose. It can STILL keep us running away from and never being able to actually be resilient and stay centred in the face of the thing we feared. Which can end up cutting us off from both our power to make a choice, our capacity to truly channel our energy into creating what we really want and most importantly a hell of a lot of amazing experience of life that may be waiting on the other side of that fear.
Fear does not ultimately protect us from death, if we end up spending all our time and energy trying to avoid what we’re so afraid of, let alone avoid and completely eliminate fear itself. It can cut us off from the experience of life and feeling alive and truly living and loving how we wish we could. And then we can end up 'dying' in a whole other way. We end up surviving. But at what cost to really living?
Which is why as we sit at a place in life right now, where there is SO much fear and false information getting around about Coronavirus, I say that, while YES absolutely there are things we need to DO right now to reduce the risk of transmission and maintain our health and wellbeing, we need to also be really careful that we don’t get so caught up in our fear response, that it blocks us from from living and find new or alternative ways to KEEP loving and engaging with life fully anyway.
If you want to get some reliable facts, what to do's and perspective on the health aspects to help alleviate the fear of the unknown, watch this TED talk by Global Health Expert Alanna Shaikh below:
But then, it’s also important that we get reconnected and move through all the feels, get the download and keep flowing onwards to the place where we can KEEP focusing and channelling our energy into being, doing and living with and from love.
Why do I also say any of this? Because I know what it’s like to live with the stress of being diagnosed with some scary virus and I know what it’s like dealing with the fear and the host of reactions it triggers in the people around you. I had my own experiences of how to navigate that. And I spent many hours within my Women’s Wellbeing practice speaking about and working with both women and men who had recently found out that they’d been diagnoses with HSV 1 or 2, or who had long had it (and or been navigating various other co-existing sexual health concerns) and were struggling with how to navigate dating, relating and LIVING with it, at times when they had to occasionally ‘distance themselves’ physically because of it. So I’m somewhat familiar with the range of reactions we have when we’re confronted with a tiny virus we don’t know much about, let alone how to control it and we’re afraid might threaten our health, our loved one/s health, our relationships and how people might perceive or engage with us in public view, should they find out. And a lot of that experience is transferrable to how we navigate Corona in the present moment.
A lot of my work involved not just talking to people about the practical health aspects of how to live with it and prevent infection, but also Louise Hay style, trying to get a grasp on the psycho-biological and psychosomatic manifestation of both the initial and later ‘attacks’ of the virus and WHY it keeps coming back (because, interestingly, like our fear as a teacher above, it DOES seem to stop manifesting when you get the download on what it’s trying to teach you and take appropriate action accordingly) as well as in helping people believe that they CAN create and then CREATE an awesome quality of life and amazing relationships DESPITE having and us all potentially living with this crazy little virus.
Like many people, when I first got HSV 2, I (temporarily) thought my life was somewhat 'over.' I thought no man would every touch me or want me again once they found out about it. Like many, i fell into such a deep, dark, depressed hole, grieving the future loss of physical intimacy. And I was terrified of how people would judge me and shame me and maybe distance me for having it. And yet, ironically, it was in the first few months AFTER I got it, that I ended up getting into one of the longest, most beautiful relationships that I’d been in so far. Ok, so that relationship later ended for a different set of reasons and when a separate set of patterns came into play. But what i never anticipated was that, as a result of having that virus, I had to start navigating relationships and life in a whole different way. Actually, a much healthier one than before.
Before, I’d jump into bed trying to please and convince a guy that I was worth his time, with not NEARLY enough regard at times for my own wellbeing, while hoping for some relational outcome. But that virus MADE me have to start loving myself, valuing myself, be more honest and direct in my communication and have better boundaries from minute one. By forcing me to take my vagina OUT of the equation at times, for their benefit as much as mine, it taught me to start focusing on creating and nurturing a friendship with a partner before anything else, and over trying to be a master seductress people pleaser to prove that I was something a guy should madly WANT. When I started coming from THAT place in romantic and intimate relationships going forward, the whole game changed. And in the years after, I’ve had some relationships and connections that were definitely powerful sources of healing OTHER things. BUT honestly, i share any of this because that little virus has a) properly managed, NEVER EVER infected anyone else I’ve ever been with since I got it 2) NEVER been a block to me having had some of the most sexually fulfilling and adventurous years of my life and living a life I love and 3) never got in the way of me being able to HAVE a relationship and live a quality of life I love. (While other things certainly HAVE instead of it.) So, in the end, I have a whole heap of love and gratitude for that crazy little virus, because it taught me how to do life a WHOLE lot better.
Corona may be from a different family of viruses all together and scary because it’s a new strain. But many of the lessons are, paradoxically, the same.
Many of the common reactions that Alanna Shaikh talks about in the video above, that she’s seen while managing global outbreaks of Corona (and other outbreaks), are exactly the same. Being afraid of getting it and worrying what it might do to our own health, it bringing up our fear of mortality, being afraid of what it might do to others we love, being afraid we might be cut out from the herd and shamed or isolated if we admit that we have it, and not wanting to be alone or lose our friends, colleagues or loved ones for disclosing we might have it, being afraid of what damage it will do to our reputation and public standing if people find out we have it. Being afraid what will happen and what we will lose if we DON’T do or say anything. Feeling ashamed and embarrassed. Not knowing how long this will take and just wanting it to be over. Wanting to be able to DO something, anything to be able to manage our fear and do what we can to get a sense of control again.
My question for us all though is:
What is this virus also showing and teaching each of us about our individual and collective ways of living and doing things? What is the fear REALLY about? Go head to head with your fear and uncover what's in it and you might just succeed in engaging in life and relationships in a whole new way on the other side.
There is a time and place to be vigilant in trying to protect ourselves and others from it, as an act of love and care. But may we be careful NOT to get so lost in the fear of it, that we stop living, loving, engaging with life and finding new ways to connect. No virus or illness can ever take that away from you. I promise you.
Seeking treatment so far has both put me back in touch with many amazing Practitioners and offers of help I’m very grateful for. Including my GP and the original Gynaecologist I didn’t stop raving about after I last saw his team (because I thought this generation’s patient-centred focus on listening to the Woman first as the expert on her own body, before telling her what she should do with it, is the remedy to everything that’s been WRONG with the paradigm of Obstetrics and Gynaecology for centuries). But then, I’ve also had more than a few messed-around, having been agreed with that it’s urgent, but then pushed back 6 weeks due to schedules, having to do the same ultrasound twice, dealing with the talking about me (and through residents), rather than to me, in earshot, in the corridor moments, and all the extra stress that goes along with engaging with all of this. Both combined, have had me re-reflecting on what specifically makes for a high quality of care in situations like this.
What does it take to help a client to feel truly safe and supported, at such highly anxious times and best facilitates their healing and catalyses their growth in a timely fashion? Not to mention helps them leave feeling they received both what they needed and, hence, a high quality of care?
For those just catching up with who i am, where i've been and what i now do: After 22 years in many client facing and relationship building roles, numerous years working at State Leadership level in Health and Emergency Services, co-managing clinics and RTO's, due to the kind of knowledge and experience you pick up not only having been a Practitioner who's trained and worked in various settings providing Counselling, emotional support, grief, abuse and trauma counselling, due to having worked with A LOT of emotionally vulnerable people in times of crisis, but also having been in constant contact with over 20 000 Allied Health and Holistic Practitioners in the last 15 years, I’d like to think I have a little bit of wisdom by now to share on how to well take care of clients who find themselves in similar circumstances. As well as of what awesome bedside manner and duty of care SHOULD ideally look like, in an ideal world.
And I think there are 5 things many clients need in those moments, in addition to the expertise they're presently getting, that can make things SO much more humane. Not to mention honouring of the client’s wellbeing and the duty of care the Professional has to the client at these times. Those 5 things being:
1- Intention: Yes we might be busy off our head and dealing with bureaucratic and competing demands. But the client still needs to feel us bring focus to the part of us that is there to be of service, more than whatever part of US is all wrapped up in what else we’ve got going on right now.
This is a bit esoteric, but before I ever go into any room, with any client to do work, there’s a question and intention I try to alway make time to align with first. In addition to wishing for the absolute best outcome for whoever is there, I ask the Universe/Divine Intelligence/God/ess (whatever you personally call it) and all the “guides” or spiritual helpers who also want what’s in the best interest of and the highest outcome for whoever is in the room, to help me, help THEM co-create that outcome, in a way that best honours and supports us all.
The spiritual practice part is not the point though. The intention IS. Us re-affirming our intention to be of service and wanting the best outcome for them WILL be felt by them. And it does make a world of difference when we take the time to do it. No one ever leaves your space feeling like a number or like they’ve been de-valued when we do. They leave feeling the love and like you’ve got their back, even if the problem couldn’t be fully resolved right away. The intention changes how WE show up, which in turn, changes the quality of their experience of our presence.
2- Presence: it’s not enough to just be a walking, talking source of expertise in the room, delivering messages that turn people’s world’s up-side-down, from a place of detachment, in order that we get through the day relatively unscathed, when a client is on the verge of a meltdown (and likely crying when you’re not in the room.) In these moments, we’ve got to bring some presence, which is to say be willing to show up, look the patient in the eyes and give them as close to 100% of our attention in that moment as we can manage, while we do our thing. But more importantly, be willing to see them and hear them.
We don’t need to be afraid we’ll have to spend an hour listening to someone therapy style to satisfy them with presence if that is not our main role (though we could also refer them for that, so that they DO have a chance to talk). All it takes is a minute of being there, looking at them, while thinking “I see you, I’m with you, I’m here to help” for the person to start to trust and feel safe in our presence, at a time when things may well seem scary and out of control, while we then get busy on the ‘how i can help’ part.
3- Empathy: it helps to make time to ask the question, what is this like for them right now? Notice their non verbals and listen to how they say that it is for them, to help work out what type of response and energy to respond to them with. No matter how expert or intuitive we might get and how much we might think that we know because we’ve seen it before, or how much we might think we KNOW because we went through a similar thing (which doesn’t actually mean that we get how it is for THEM, it means we get how it was FOR US), where we need to start is still to ask where the other person is at...and then work toward the desired outcome from there.
Not only does this respect them as the expert on their own inner world and respect the uniqueness of their personal experience, it’s a more constructive question to help us stay heart centred, yet centred on their care. Where we lose ourselves in the depths of the feels with them, is when we start imagining us IN their shoes and how WE’D feel, as them. THAT is when we start to conjure painful similar memories and get lost in the emotion with them, separating from our capacity to professionally guide the process. Asking how it is for THEM though, helps us stay heart centred, yet the curious professional observer of their experience. Understand the difference?
4-Acknowledgement: the first step of all healing experiences is to validate their personal experience of the problem and what they want instead, before we start trying to move into what our knowledge of the problem is and where WE think they need to also go. Especially if they keep talking about the same thing, some part of them is likely in need of ultimately self acknowledgement and validation of the legitimacy of their feelings and experience. It’s difficult to move them on into transforming, until you help them acknowledge the thing they need acknowledged. Hence, it helps to validate that they’re right and that it’s very human to feel that way where needed. Then try acknowledging the strengths they have to deal with this and get beyond this.
When we’re present and really listening, it wont take any more than 30 seconds to identify at least one. It doesn’t have to take a whole hour of talking and therapy. But you noticing their strengths and taking the time to affirm them, in a moment where their fears and weaknesses are likely more present on their mind, can make a world of difference in lifting their faith and confidence in their innate ability to overcome their present challenge/s. That is a part of what they most need in these moments. In addition to your own groundedness, calm and strength.
5-Action: I’m going to be honest with you, I’m kind of face-planting a little bit that I need to write this one, because while I’m not a Lawyer, I know there is a good chance this was likely covered in almost every Practitioner training under duty of care. But it has often surprised me in recent years how many Professionals, Practitioners and Coaches still let clients walk away, without any actual resolution to any of the things the client approached them for in the first place, or mentioned during a consult. There are often 4 elements I've seen contributing to this:
1) fearing that you’re being too pushy or might offend them by offering something, or worrying that maybe it’s not wanted. When actually, that is exactly what they came to us for, for us to offer potential solutions to their problems.
2) fearing that I’m not enough and will look incompetent if I don’t know it all or have the right solution. Which sometimes then becomes “I don’t know what to do, therefore I’m going to get busy with other things I CAN do, until I have more of a response to this awkward conversation I don’t know how to resolve yet,” which may then keep getting put off and off and off (but perhaps could be quickly solved with a little professional supervision or consultancy with someone with more expertise in this particular area? Not to mention, it is advisable and actually okay to admit when you're wanting to bring in additional professional support or opinion.)
3) deciding where they’re at is not my area or I can’t help them and then turning them loose, but without connecting them with any other form of support, in line with what the client approached us for and
4) being too busy to see them right now for whatever reason (professional or personal), but wanting to hoard and hang onto them anyway, until WE’RE ready to show up for them, even when making them wait may actually be to the detriment of their wellbeing or circumstances. At what point and by what criteria do we deem a waiting list period too long, and circle back around to looking at another solution?
In all 4 instances, if we can’t, don’t want to, or feel we aren’t able to provide the client a service in a timely fashion, the ethical, A level customer service solution, not to mention (from a legal standpoint) the professional duty of care honouring thing to do, is to either:
a) research and come up with a new solution, where you didn't already have one
b) bring in someone into your team asap who does have the expertise to support them, or
c) refer them to an external service or to a someone who CAN help them in a timely fashion and give the client the professional care that they deserve.
At most, it will take us or someone who assists us the time to do a database or google search, followed by a phone call or two, maybe a bit of advocacy too, to link them with an appropriate referral. But contrary to popular misbelief that they’ll likely feel abandoned, actually the client will often likely feel just as grateful for and sing your praises for a high quality referral that turns out well, as they would if they saw you personally for a high quality consult. They will still attribute their outcomes, to your support given.
Yes it might also take a bit longer to find someone with the appropriate complimentary skills to us for our team, by the time you go through the recruitment process. But if you think of it in terms of how many similar people you’re turning away (and the potential funds you're turning away) because you don’t offer a solution for what they need, IS it really not worth the time and the expense in the short term, to ensure that both the client/s can still get the right aspects of the care or support they need from you PLUS to ensure that you leave them with the kind of impression you WANT to be remembered for?
Just leaving them to fend for themselves and find something else though, after they’ve reached out and we’ve already engaged them, not only doesn’t leave our clientele with a great aftertaste in their mouth at the best of times because we DID just abandon them to the too-busy-too-hard-not-quite-right basket, when we KNOW we could've done more. But, how might it stack up from a legal standpoint, if something goes seriously wrong with them and we’re identified as a service provider, who knew they were in a vulnerable state, or in poor health and didn’t act in a timely fashion on that knowledge? Nobody wants to be in that position, on either side of the care-giving equation.
Sometimes I think though, the best of us, who are great at what we do, can still struggle with wishing we had more resources to be able to DO more and provide a better looking, better quality user experience for our clients. Yet any single of us, in any service, can do the above 5 practices with just a little extra time taken and practice, no matter what our budget, or our clients. And contrary to how lovely all the extra bells, whistles and embellishments are, you might find, in the end, it’s things like these 5 things, in addition to your expertise, that make the biggest difference to how they feel at the end of and beyond your time together.
A big shout-out to all the Practitioners out there doing awesome work. Thank you for all that you give to all that you do.
Sorry for the heavy this week. But may it serve as a reminder of exactly what we all got into this to do and make better.
Until next time....
Hi community. Recently, given the environmental/sustainability focused and agricultural parts of my training and upbringing, I sat down and just brainstormed the first bunch of ideas that came into my head for simple things every single one of us can do to make our business lives/work from home business lives a little more ethical, eco-friendly and sustainable. But more than that, also profitable would be handy, wouldn’t it?
Many of these you can start implementing today, with practically no cost and just a little bit of time spent. Others will take a bit of investment and future planning. But hey, now you have a handy list of ideas, all in the one place.
Let me know though if you have any questions about the HOW.
-PLANT TREES: Where you own property and can, plant trees
-CAPTURE RAINFALL: Where you can, install tanks and use for non edible gardens, washing cars. NOTE: If you’re in the city, there’s a high probability the first and maybe additional rain fall will be unsuitable for human consumption due to the chemical components that got mixed up with it in the atmosphere. Where you live or work out of the city and intend to drink it, or use it on your food gardens, it’s really important to monitor your water quality regularly once you get tanks and get it regularly tested for chemical and microbial content. Why? Bird or other animal poo (and hence microbes that can make you sick) can occasionally get in there, small animals trying to get a drink can and do unfortunately sometimes end up in there from time to time, as can any other number of contaminants that blew in or washed off the roof. Something to remember, if you’re used to city water sources (which are highly treated and regulated to ensure they stay safe for consumption) but switching to tank water; you’ll need to now take on monitoring the quality of the water yourself.
-RECYCLE GREY WATER- where practical, what shower, kitchen or laundry water can be diverted and used for gardens, or if it’s clean enough, used for any additional outdoor uses (washing down spills on paths, cars or outdoorsy equipment for example)
-REDUCE AND OFFSET EMISSIONS: For what carbon emissions you can’t cut any lower or avoid ahead of their yet being another way, you can offset your emissions through organisations like Greenfleet (you donate to them and they plant native forests to offset the carbon costs of running your business, or your living or travel expenses.)
-ETHICAL BANKING: transfer your everyday business transaction, salary and expense accounts to ethical banks (e.g. banks who don’t loan to industries that harm the planet or people and that use money to help create positive impact for the people, their communities and the planet.)
-where you have to choose a fund FOR your staff, pick an ethical fund (e.g. funds that actively seek out investments that support the people, quality, sustainability and the use of technology for the greater good.)
-switch your super to ethical funds OR
-give your Financial Advisor new instructions to only invest in ethical companies that are performing well
-RECYCLE… PROPERLY. Unfortunately, most people don’t realise that they’re not actually doing it right. Your local council and sustainability consultancies have detailed instructions on the requirements for your area. Learn how to divide up all of your recycling properly and learn what can and can’t be recycled and why. Set up info sessions at your workplace with sustainability consultants to train your staff. And look at what incentives you can give your staff for sticking to it.
-look at what paper consumption can be reduced and what paper based admin processes you can move to electronic or cloud based now instead.
-where can you swap paper towel for good old-fashioned hand towels and tea towels
-get tissues and toilet paper made from recycled material and or at least sustainably grown forests
-get paper supplied from certified renewal sources
-ENERGY EFFICIENT APPLIANCES: buy appliances and plumbing fixtures with high water efficiency and energy efficiency ratings (e.g. hand driers, lighting, dishwashers, washing machines, taps, shower heads, toilets etc)
-TURN THINGS OFF: turn electrical appliances off when they’re not in use
-that includes extra iPads and laptops or mobiles when you’ve got multiple devices on the go at once, all doing the same thing, so that you don’t need to charge them all as often.
-shut down PC’s overnight
-make sure all lighting is off when you leave at night
-BUILDING AND RENOVATIONS: if you’re building or renovating a premises, hire everyone from Architects, to Surveyors to Builders to Tradies etc who are knowledgeable in and advocates for sustainability and will build your premises to be energy efficient and to LAST. (Research Denmark and Sweden for ideas…they’re light years ahead of Australia in the building industry, energy efficiency and sustainability stakes)
-HEATING: stop running your heating above 21 degrees (every degree above doubles your energy usage and hence the cost of your bills.)
-AIR CONDITIONING: likewise, the same applies with every degree below 21. Sop turning it down to 16.
MEETINGS & TRAVEL:
-Zoom or video conference, instead of fly where you can
-where you have to fly, pay for the carbon offset option (it’s only a couple of bucks)
-walk if you’re only going short distances
-ride where it’s practical
-car-pool to events where you and or team can
-consider when using public transport might be a better option than putting another half empty car on the road (i know it might not always be practical with kids)
-CAR HIRE: use care rental companies or taxi/pick up services with hybrids/energy efficient vehicles in their fleets
-FLEET VEHICLES- better yet, or in addition, start building your own energy efficient fleet of vehicles (hint, you can get ex government hybrid vehicles cheap at auction, if you want to knock a bit off the price of purchasing brand new.)
-SUPPLIERS: partner with green organisations where you can for all services e.g. green cleaning services, green dry cleaners, green caterers, green tradies etc
-buy products from eco friendly companies that state that they manufacture using renewal, sustainable materials
-phase out single-use convenience items
-get office supplies made from recycled or sustainably made materials
-UNIFORMS or work clothing: get them supplied by companies make them from natural fibres, recycled or renewable resources
-empower your staff to take the work kitchen cups and bowls etc to get their takeaway coffees, breakfasts or lunches in
-eat at the venue and ask for your food in crockery, not single use items. Tell your existing go-to’s that you’d love it they provided your food like this. Maybe stop eating at places that won’t accommodate this, but don’t just leave, tell them why.)
-have some work (branded?) keep-cups and containers or encourage staff to use their own
-get whole foods where you can
-get fresh foods
-phase out single item plastic packaging
-have work reusable shopping bags and containers you can take and have refilled
-Get reusable sponges and wash cloth options and run them through the washing machine/have laundered.
-Train your staff not to leave them full and festering in the sink.
-Be the CEO or the Manager who’s not afraid to model this when you walk into the kitchen.
-GIFTS AND MATERIALS FOR CLIENTS:
-give organic presents (eg food or flowers)
-give clothing or accessories from eco friendly, sustainable companies
-give branded keep cups or items that promote reusing, renewing and recycling
-use renewable wrapping instead of items people will likely end of throwing out
-use eco friendly printers who print on recycled materials, use eco friend inks
HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS MORE PROFITABLE
-invest in ethical companies and new technologies that support the people and the planet
-declare your values and interest in sustainability and partner with all the companies, millionaires, billionaires who are already on board with this. This is not just some “lefty greenie hippy thing.” There’s no shortage of them out there. And A LOT of people feel the same post bushfires. It's time.
-Decide to go all in with change. Take the breaks off, so that you and the world around you, can transform, rearrange and be reborn into something new. Not to mention that it can grow into becoming profitable.
-CHECK YOUR BELIEFS:
Some to watch out for and let go of:
- “ethical and sustainable is too expensive”
-“change might cost me everything I had already worked so hard to build”
-“ethical and spiritual = BROKE”
-“going green is going to cost me all my clients”
-“ethical/sustainable is going to get my ostracised and laughed at”
-“we have to fight to create change.”
-"change has to be full of struggle and hard."
THOUGHTS TO REMEMBER:
-Ethical sales and business is real
-Ethical is abundant
-Ethical partnerships make you stronger
-Change is a good thing (and can be full of ease and grace)
-There is now more than ever, an over-abundance of people who feel the same way about wanting to band together and do something, together, it’s just a matter of finding, connecting and then co-creating with them
-Every little thing you do along the way, makes a difference
-Every little loving change you make within, ripples out into the world outside
-This doesn’t all have to be charitable. You’re still allowed to charge well for your wisdom, your solutions and your time along the way
-Remember the law of reciprocity and the infinite nature of the flow of give and receive- all you give, comes back and what you need, is always coming, from somewhere, if another source and at another time.
-Somewhere, the solutions and what we seek, already exist, somewhere we’re already enough, somewhere we’ve already achieved and are able to receive it. We just need to remember what we did, HOW we got there, WHERE things came from, WHO was involved and open up to being, receiving, creating THAT.
-Look for what unites us, not at what divides us and for where you can be of service
-BE a living, walking embodiment of the change you wish to see.
If you think about it, sales, the process of sharing/describing an opportunity, an asset, a product, program, or service of some kind to someone, asking them if they would like to buy or participate in it and then facilitating their access to it, is not a skill that only applies in the world of business, really, is it? Or so i very much remembered towards the end of this last year, even living with former Business Owners (now former housemates) and watching (or rather clashing with) how they were representing themselves on both share housing and dating websites. From the occasional story heard at business events of Coaches who were bragging about having just been taught by some Training Guru how to use people's Daddy damage and abuse trauma to give them the cold shoulder until they're hooked on you and THEN you close the deal, to this week, for example, watching a cleaning business trying to squeeze ads for themselves onto a service dedicated to home owners and potential house sitters sharing information, who had to create a fake profile to be able to use the system that notifies of upcoming "house-sit opportunities", it's pretty obvious how widespread and pervasive this belief still is, throughout so many areas of life in which we have to market ourselves, or what we have to offer.
And every single time, i look at them (or in the case of my former house mates, ask them) why do they think you need to do this, to get what you want, when there is a far more integral, heart centred, honest way to succeed?
I know because I've done the sales trainings of 7-8 figure Business Mentors' who teach it. Then i've spent a lot of time with 7 figure Business Owners in previous years helping co-create it. I've watched them book half of rooms for sales calls and then convert 91-100% of people to high end programs. And run my own events where 92% of the room registered for another event or program using it. I've watched start up clients and established clients successfully implement it. Every clinic i've ever helped bring from in the red to in the black, i've used it. Having being hired for my background at times, to help struggling retails or sales teams lift, I've just happened to have been there when some of those became top performers in the state doing things this way.
And if i once worried, when i first arrived in Sydney, that maybe it only worked in the realms of Holistic Practitioners and then decided i'd see if i could find ways to try it in corporate organisations, I think now i'm even more convinced than ever. Since i've now used it in, for example, AR functions, to help companies get some of their best stats ever on outstanding money brought in at EOFY. PLus used it to help multiple organisations or associations drive their membership renewal stats through the roof.
Hence, why my conviction when i say, you don't need to lie or withhold or manipulate anyone or anything to make it rain in $8 to $150K chunks.
While it takes months to years to try and teach anyone the communication techniques and processes on how to personally execute the various parts of that, what i have been thinking about of late are the character traits and habits of successful heart-centered sales and marketing folk, that help them do what they do. What i wanted to share today, are 12 that many have in common.
I once shared a meme that said to take some time to think about what you're about to do today, because whether you intend to or not, that's what the world is going to know you for tomorrow. These 12 will help anyone who reads them, or that you may choose to share them with, create a sales or rather sharing legacy one can be genuinely proud to be known for.
Be clear- you have to be clear about what it is you're really offering and offer it in appropriate ways and places. It doesn't matter what you're "selling", whether you're selling a program, selling a share house room, wanting to date people, be clear about what you're really wanting and offering. People can connect with it and make a decision when you can clearly point out exactly what's on the table. But people appreciate you having clarity up front too and don't appreciate having their time wasted by people misrepresenting themselves and their true intentions. So do your best to be clear what you're offering and then be transparent in putting it on the table.
Talk about things you know about: sounds obvious, but after several years of Business Coaching and Mentoring Business Owners, many start to draw a blank when you ask them what they know, beyond say, being a Naturopath or an Accountant (e.g. being trained to perform a job). What topics do you know about though? What problems can you help solve? What areas do you feel you need to know more about? The more you know about that, the clearer you can be with people about what you're trying to sell. And the clearer you can be about what problems you can and can't help with. So worth taking time to take stock of what you know ,what problems you can help solve, and for what people.
Be trustworthy- do your best to be honest, with respect to the limitations of confidentiality and privacy agreements. It might feel a little vulnerable at times when rejection is a potential outcome, particularly when the subject of sale, is you. But you have to put your known cards on the table that might impact their decision making process, to become worthy of someone's trust too. More than that, giving someone the reality that something isn't right for them, or suggesting a referral, or a better product option, may well not sell them on that one original thing you had hoped they might be into. But it may well motivate them to tell 10 other people to buy you, because you can clearly now be trusted to give an honest answer that serves your client's highest good, even when it doesn't serve your personal agenda to do so. People appreciate people with that level of integrity. So, do your best to be honest. But remember, as Brene says in Dare to Lead, it's also good to check your intention too on WHY you feel the need to share that particular detail with them? Is it really for their benefit? Or is it really about what you need? Good litmus test that one.
Be someone with the best of intentions. Put another way, you have to genuinely want them to be happy and fulfilled and therefore, feel inspired to want to do the best job you can do and be the best version of you that you can be, to help them as best you can, and ensure you can give them the best possible experience they can have.
Be someone who sees people with your heart eyes- to want the best for them, it also helps to be able to looking at them with your heart eyes. I shared a video on this last year that's on my LinkedIn profile. But as a refresher, it's about seeing them with awe and appreciation for the being they truly are, both with love and respect for their amazing bits, and with love and compassion for their wounded bits. And being able to look them in the eyes with that degree of love.
A Relationship Coach colleague (and my Counselling training) once told me, don't ever try and work with someone who you can't genuinely, sincerely open your heart to, or show up to with what Carl Rogers used to call "unconditional positive regard." If one sincerely can't yet get past their own triggers or judgements of the client, to be able to show up with them as they do the rest of their favourite clients, it might be best to consider referring the client on for now. In a Coaching, Consulting or Mentoring dynamic, where you have the balance of power and they're likely looking up to you, there's a real chance you could genuinely hurt the client in the process of working with them, if you don't seek professional support in doing so, or can't hold them when their wounds open up in the course of your work. In an ethical world, and one where we're aiming to the be the best of ourselves as Leaders, be a champion for your client's wellbeing and safety. And if you can't, help them find someone who CAN give them the best of themselves and, more than that, sincerely wants to, for all the right reasons.
Be a great listener- it’s easy to do when you’re sincerely interested in the person in front of you. But sales research shows us, it’s also one of the qualities that makes sales people (and Leaders) truly great too. There are some really simple ways you can work on your listening skills and the level of presence you bring to a conversation too. Ask me if you'd like me to share them with you. But being a great listener not only ensures people feel heard and become empowered to start opening up their own answers and solutions. But the longer you listen, the more info you will have to help them solve their problems and to be able to accurately suggest the best possible solutions for them.
Be the person who does their homework first- before you try and sell someone you don't know well yet anything, do your research. Get on their website, their LinkedIn profile, wherever you can get data on their expertise and get to know a bit about them. Be curious as you read too, in the kind of way that HR people are when they're screening a CV for a candidates suitability. A gap you see in time spent at work, or a step down in seniority can speak volumes to where they're at, if you care to start getting curious about what that's about, relative to what you know and the problems you can help solve. BUT, it's also a mark of respect to double check that you're not about to, say, sell a start up intro to sales course, to the CEO of a Sales Company, who was a "Sales Consultant" (the term you did a search on) but, like, 10 years ago. It makes a world of difference to the conversation, if you show up to it HONOURING and ACKNOWLEDGING and humble in the face of the existing expertise, wisdom and experience of the person in front of you, knowing that, no matter how young or old someone is, we all have a unique take and set of skills and experience of immense value to give. And deep down, doesn't every single one of us deeply want to be seen and acknowledged for who we are? Start there, before you sell.
You have to trust- and there are multiple things in which you have to trust. In that you are enough. In that other people can see your value. In that other people can be trusted. In that there IS enough to go around. In that the world is an abundant place and there are plenty of people out there that are looking for the sum total or everything you are and or everything you or your product helps with or solves, so you don't actually NEED to get all antsy about the competition. In that the universe is constantly conspiring in your favour. In that you have the power to make it conspire in yours. The more you can trust, the less conditions you'll put on the potential engagement. If you can find the place of trust, it's also easier to let go of those before-mentioned mis-matched possibilities, in favouring of making room for the right ones to come in. Think abundant mindset, over lack and fear based mindset. The more reasons you can find to trust, the easier everything in life gets. (And the more integral you get at not just sales, but attracting the right prospects and the right resources and support.)
Be someone who gives abundantly, with the fewest possible conditions. The more you can do to remove your attachment and your NEED for a particular outcome, the cleaner the transaction will be and therefore the better your results will be. People can tell when you're pushing your agenda, but at their expense. People can tell when you're a means to their happiness, but you're not interested in their own. Just as they can tell when you're offering them something for the right reasons and giving with an open heart, without attachment to what they're going to get as a financial or emotional reward for it. So whatever is driving you to NEED that sale, do what you have to do resolve that FIRST, so that you can show up cleanly to the discussion, with as few hidden agenda and NEEDS of your own as possible.
Be willing to own your mistakes and want to make amends quickly- nobody's perfect, everybody is a work in progress. But we tend to trust and respect those people more, who are capable of owning up to their mistakes, swallowing their pride to use that "i'm sorry" phrase and taking responsibility for making amends when they make them, where needed. But more than just talking about being sorry, get busy DOING things to improve. It shows that you truly care and you're truly committed. Who doesn't want people in their world who are both?
These final two, are huge:
Sell things you genuinely believe in- My brother once said that I could sell ice to eskimos, so long as I believed in the ice. (If i didn't believe in what i was selling though, game over.) When you have experienced the benefits of something first hand and genuinely love and value something (and or the someone behind it,) you don’t need to try to convince anyone of anything. Your passion and enthusiasm alone speaks for itself, as the flood of positive things you have to say, spontaneously start flooding out your mouth, before and after they ask you more questions. And passion is contagious. People want a piece of that, especially if it genuinely solves their problems, improves their quality of life and helps them better do what they do. And you’re able to tell them how it will do exactly that. So if you're not already, try and work your way to selling things you genuinely believe in and love. And if that thing you're selling is you, do what you have to, to get sold on YOUR amazing value.
Have a WHY. But even better, have a higher purpose. Finally, everything flows better and people are more likely to get behind it when, as Simon Sinek would say, we're both deeply connected to our why, and we can connect the person buying with their REAL WHY, underneath the surface problem we're trying to solve. BUT, one of the things that heart-centred, soulful, integral sales people also do, is align their work with a higher purpose. This might sound a bit whoo whoo to some of you. But for every work activity i ever do, there's an intention i set and a little prayer i say about being of service to the greater good, (if you believe in the Carolyn Myss line of thinking around the soul agreements we make) honouring the soul contracts involved in working with your future clients and creating a safe space in which to ensure that those can be delivered upon, MINUS any earthly mental confusion and any unnecessary outside influence or interference. Whatever your name for whatever higher power, or universal higher intelligence exists out there, life can and will start raining endless streams of little daily miracles for you, when you keep intending to serve the highest good of everyone involved in all aspects of life.
Coming back to my question at the start of all this, if you knew that there was a better way that works, than the old fear based coercion and manipulation techniques and that you didn't have to lie or withhold anything to get to where you want to go, why WOULDN'T you want to learn to do it the heart-centred, soulful, integral way? And then share it far and wide?
Please feel free to share this with anyone who you feel might benefit. And if you have any questions about HOW to be and DO any of that, please don't hesitate to ask.
You can see when i'm free here:
Thanks for reading. Until next time....
And a shout out too, to all the beautiful people out there (from E.D.and hospital, mental health and community services staff, to emergency services personnel and volunteers, to people in the armed forces, to the person pouring the coffee, the beer or handing us the receipt for the $50 of ULP or diesel, and anyone in between, who is working today and through the break, so that the rest of us get to have that safe and happy time this holiday season: can we join together in sending them a big thank you, we see you and big love to you for all you do.
Making the choice to share part of your personal journey with an audience for the purposes of either motivation, education or transformation is a brave one, and one that, no matter how much personal development work, or how much theoretical training you’ve done, the only way to know if you’re truly “ready” for it, is by getting in the arena and giving it a go.
The other night at Sydney Leaders and Public Speakers, one of the themes that the wonderful Mandy Merrifield first opened us up to, was how "expert" we feel in our work and Leadership at any given time. People rarely talk about it, until someone raises the "Imposter Syndrome" card in a training or coaching session. But group consensus was that pretty much every Leader we've ever spoken to, has had a time where they wondered if they were "enough" for the work they were employed to do or were stepping into doing more of in their business and were scared that someone was going to come tap them on the shoulder and tell them the same.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.