Last week, I found myself getting a bit vocally technical, prompted by reading a recent research article done with a group of European students in their 20’s-40’s on indicators of vocal or more specifically, prosodic charisma.
What on earth is prosodic charisma, I hear many of you ask? Good question. Charisma, as usual referring to characteristics we see in others that we find compellingly attractive/desirable or charming, that can inspire feelings of wanting to be around them, liking them, desiring to devote oneself to them more. Plus, in the context of speaking, “prosody” is used here to refer to the qualities of the voice e.g. intonation, tone, stress, resonance and rhythm of our speech that may be linked with the perspective of the Speaker being perceived as “charismatic.”
As the results of the study suggested that Women could benefit from it in particular, this then lead me to a bit more of a deep dive down the research rabbit hole of the last decade of professional opinion, mixed opinion and debate that exists around what Women ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ be doing with their voices to convey (or not) any particular character, let alone charisma, in an attempt to better make sense of why it might be that this article made a recommendation for the benefits of their prosodic charisma training for Women. Plus why it may still be, or not be in 2020 that we Women, let alone people full stop, are still holding back, or not feeling comfortable to put our biggest, brightest selves and what we really want to say out there in a professional setting, or in life. Relative to 15 years ago, when I first embarked on a healing journey around that, and started helping others do the same.
My aim in writing this, is to share some of the factors that are still impacting our ability to reach our full potential in professional self expression and shed some light on what we can do about them.
INDIVIDUAL AND CULTURAL FACTORS IMPACTING FEMALE EXPRESSIVENESS
1- The judgement police (and the kingdom of trolls that populate the toilet floor of the consciousness of the internet…and unfortunately for us all, 3rd dimensional daily life on Earth). In all fairness, many of you reading this will also be living in Australia, and no-one does judgement e.g. Tall Poppy Syndrome quite like us Aussies and few people are deemed immune from its reach. (For my overseas friends, ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ refers to the cultural tendency of Australians to immediately embark on a personal character assassination of anyone who has achieved something great and or possibly greater than we have, often in groups, in an attempt to avoid and alleviate our own DEEP SEEDED FEELINGS OF INADEQUACY and “not-enough ness.”)
Globally though, and maybe this subconsciously still results because most women operate under the illusions that they are physically ‘weaker’ and therefore literally less likely to risk actually punching an attacker in the face for picking on them in the same way that 2 men might at 10pm in bar, or 10am on the footy field, if someone verbally disrespected them in the same way. Holistically speaking, we’re actually not “weaker”, but that’s a whole OTHER blog I wrote circa 2014/2015).
And/or maybe it’s still in part because many women have long been at an economic disadvantage at times and therefore may not have had equal resources to their male counterparts to be able to legally (metaphorically) slam people’s butts into the ground floor of karmic consequence for attacking them in public. (One only need look at social again too, or again the actual average work bathroom, to hear that we’ve well and truly developed private and public countermeasures over the years compensating for that.) BUT the point was, it DOES still seem that, globally, far too many people, publicly or privately, just LOVE to shred on the credibility of women. Any women….and….every….aspect…of….every….inch….of….a….woman, and what entitles her to be up there, saying that.
I don’t want to give this one anymore airtime than I just did. Because ultimately, it’s an outdated game we can choose to play, or not to play and I think there are better ways we can all be investing our energy than fighting and playing into the war on women’s credibility and likability. Like feeling into our purpose, our values, into our hearts and what we REALLY want to create and pouring our energy into that. Like speaking to how we want to be loved and supported, like how we can better support those we love, personally and professionally and going after that.
Like sending a prayer that the wounded children in grown adults across the world, who have time to creep on and shred others for a living, let alone for their own personal catharsis, get the support they need to heal and find their true, soulful purpose in the world. Meanwhile, we do self love and surround ourselves with groups of people who are committed to being the best versions of themselves and lifting each other up. And then you get sh%t done…while others keep on whinging about it.
As I talked to other colleagues about WHY women might be hiding their most awesome selves from the world throughout the week, other top answers on the professional survey board were:
2- The effects of Trauma and the fight flight response on our external expressiveness: One of the very real effects of our past traumas around such things (and other traumatic experiences) on our subsequent flight-flight reactions when we get in front of groups of people in the present, for all genders, can be that we go (technical trauma term) “grey faced” e.g. the literal loss of facial expressiveness and or colour and our voices become more monotone, as we mentally and physically do what is called dissociating from the experience as a coping response. This is basically both mentally, energetically and, to an extent, spiritually, pulling away from the intensity of having to feel your experience, as a coping mechanism. Good news, this one TOO we can overcome, with a range of different therapeutic and transformational techniques and tools and you CAN heal the intensity right out of it, and put centredness confidence, clarity and authentic charisma in it’s place.
3- “Professionalism preceding Personality”: Though this one can also impact all genders, it is the impact of ideas around professionalism and scientific objectivity that we place on certain occupations, on our communication style and the subsequent impact on perceived qualities of ‘vocal charisma’ that i'm referring to here. For example, Academia has a particularly distinctive communication style. As do the medical and scientific realms as a couple of examples. But in short, this is basically the impact on perceived vocal and behavioural charisma that results from the rules of the paradigm that require that we be objective over subjective, and rational over emotive, in both our observation, measurement and analytical processes, as well as in our management of the processes we develop during our research and/or in the treatment and management of patients or clients.
Especially, when it comes to delivering challenging news to patients, clients or groups of people, professional standards in paradigms that say that we need to be free of personal biases and feelings as we deliver the necessary information and manage the continuing processes. Yet free flowing in the expression of compassion and empathy where required. Which has both professional benefits and an element of necessity to getting high quality client care completed and or many jobs in these industries done, often in high pressure environments, under tight timeframes, without us bursting into a ball of emotive flames if we were to stop to take it all in.
YET, when it comes to switching gears and moving into the realm of professional speaking and recording training material, this communication style can have implications for our ability to convey more charisma when we speak, in front of a culture that now wants to see MORE of the REAL, authentic us, along with the lived experience that goes along with the knowledge you/we/they have to share. Skill wise, this then requires that we be able to shift gears back into allowing more personality to emerge for presentation purposes, in combination with professionalism. This, I have spent many years Coaching and Mentoring Practitioners, Leaders and Speakers in finding their balance with, in trying to navigate the requirements of both realms…and a little Coaching and Mentoring can be a quick route to overcoming any concerns here and getting some good quality feedback.
4- People-pleasing within the lingering remnants of the Patriarchy, or just people-pleasing full stop?: The 4th answer on our survey board, is symptomatic of what I call the first stage of finding the true power in your voice, the stage in which we tend to avoid speaking and want to NOT say anything awkward or potentially challenging, in case we rock the boat and incur a negative consequence. People pleasing though, like most things, has a light side to the coin and a dark side.
On the light side of people pleasing, our intention is to lovingly be of service and might be one of the driving, motivating forces in all we choose to do in the world. So to be clear, I’m not saying people pleasing is totally a bad thing. But what I am referring to, is addressing the shadow motivations for NOT speaking or expressing ourselves that we can still be playing out habitually, out of fear, and addressing the roots of why we’re doing it, so that we stop holding back our fullest, brightest, most intelligent, expressive selves.
On the dark one, possibly in personal and professional settings, we sometimes suppress things we really need to express out of fear of potential consequence. At some point, growing up with a family member or having lived in adult life with a partner or worked with an employer, team member or partner that could never be pleased and may have been abusive, people pleasing to appease their disapproval or criticism, or explosive outbursts, may have been a survival strategy at some point. People pleasing, can also be a means of avoiding taking responsibility. If we speak to what we really want, and get rejected, people pleasing delays an ending one may not be wanting or ready for. More than that, if we don't put your true opinion on the table, but put the popular one instead, we never have to be on the receiving end of critical feedback for getting it wrong, or responsible for the outcome.
But that also means we delay learning and growth in personal and professional settings into what some part of us deeply aspires to be and into succeeding in getting it right. Where business and projects are concerned, it also makes it hard to get the kind of honest feedback that will help develop a service, or product or project or presentation into a form that successfully fills it's desired purpose and is therefore, a success.
So how do we help women (and people full stop) grow through and into the positive potential of their people pleasing tendencies, so that they can get on with being more fully self expressed?
The answer to that is in both the personal development work we do to increase our awareness around what we're playing out, but Therapy, Coaching and Mentoring can also help us both shift our thinking, or state and our way of being, in the direction of reaching our highest potential.
The other part that also has to be to addressed is the environment the person is gaining support from and the literal reasons in the workplace or tribal culture, that Women or people full stop may be defaulting to such patterns and keep working on creating an environment in which they feel safe to naturally allow their most authentic, expressive, charismatic selves to flow forward in Leadership, Speakership and life. In which it's safe to get it wrong, as well as right and there's still love either way.
So long as there are still stories circulating of Women (and people) who are perfect for Leadership or front facing roles or speaking opportunities, that when they've showed up as their biggest, most expressive selves, and somebody in leadership's fragile ego felt threatened or inadequate or triggered or out of control in interacting with them, and it lead to ghosting, or firing, or break ups, or the withdrawal of resources or love or support of people, or being labelled difficult and a nightmare, when they didn’t do exactly what someone wanted, how they wanted it, when they wanted, then we're not done yet with adding a little more emotional intelligence training, Mentoring and Supervision, (plus personal development and occasional Therapy work) to both the Leadership, team and organisational training schedule and budget.
To help people of all genders better understand how to more effectively be with, collaborate with, lead and speak to strong, independent, intelligent, expressive Women (and people full stop) in the workplace and life. This too, i think remains an essential factor in helping our best female talent (and all talent) to feel safe to naturally allow their most authentic, expressive, charismatic selves to flow forward in Leadership, Speakership and life.
TECHNICAL IMPROVEMENTS WE CAN MAKE THAT HELP WOMEN LITERALLY BE BETTER HEARD
Finally, now there are some ways in which, from a purely technical standpoint, there ARE some actual physical differences between the way a female voice functions and the way a male voice functions that it’s handy to be aware of, in order to be able to compensate for them, to be a better Professional Speaker.
For example, while Women’s voices are now sitting at a pitch that is much lower than they were earlier in the century, female voices are still at a higher pitch than the majority of men, the literal mechanical downside to this being that, higher female voices apparently don’t carry as far through an open space/a venue (making it harder quite LITERALLY for a female voice to reach the back of the audience, without learning projection techniques or amplification, compared to a man’s). Older people or people with reduced hearing capacity may find it harder also to hear a higher pitched female voice and, also, apparently a higher pitched female voice, unfortunately more easily gets drowned out in amongst the cacophony of sounds and deeper voices that may be bouncing through the airwaves of a crowded space.
Knowing how to compensate for this, is mighty handy. Often Women try and be louder to compensate, but at the perceived expense of their tone then becoming “harsher.” A Speech or Language Therapist, Vocal Coach or Singing Teacher can help you understand how to make sound and project all of our voices, not just female ones, further, with greater (what they call) resonance, and less mechanical force made on your part to try and be heard. Bless the tech guys too, who can just mic you up right, so that you don’t HAVE to break your voice just trying to be loud enough or deep enough to be heard by the back rows of the room in the first place. Handy to know, before the world goes back to trying to get on big stages again.
AND THEN THERE’S THE NATURAL WAY…..
There IS though, a way we can begin to resolve some of the technical aspects of speaking (and free ourselves from the mental hangups above) a little more naturally too, as to be considered COMPLIMENTARY. As the organic product of a couple of additional mindset and state shifts we can make, I find the authenticity and the vocal expressiveness, will naturally tend to follow.
The thing that I love to help all Speakers find, maybe the most, is the part where you fall in love with YOU a little bit more. And fall in love with the idea that a whole bunch of people genuinely LOVE to both be around you when you’re BEING authentic, expressive you AND more than that, they love and are excited about hearing what you have to say. So that not only are you connected with YOU, and your passion and purpose in a way that you’re journeying through life hungering for more opportunities to express and share it, despite any lingering or new fears and hangups. But you’re also more open to sharing it with others in service because:
a) you’re coming from the belief that there are people who can’t wait to share in your knowledge with you
b) they genuinely NEED what you’ve got to say, it’s quite likely the literal answer to a prayer or an intention they’ve been putting out there… and who are you to hold back your wisdom, your talents, let alone the bits of you they might find intriguing, entertaining, funny and compelling, if you have the answer they seek;….entertain the idea for a moment, that it is your purpose to bring these things through
c) And this is really one of my favourites, you fully embrace the idea that you BELONG at the front of the room and
d) you freaking own that stage like you belong there, because you DO.
While this won’t completely eliminate the trolls of existence, creeping in the background, waiting for you to drop your guard, or the projections of the people we work with and love when they’re feeling down, it does help you remember your resolve through such moments, and stay in or step back into the arena again, twice as determined to keep having another go and show up even more. And this my friends, is precisely the point.
If I can help you with the further exploration of any of this, just let me know.
Until next time
If 2020 has been one thing, whether people intended to or not, on a massive scale, it has certainly been a catalyst to people starting to speak up in multiple ways in which they might have previously been silent. And it's opening up a WHOLE can of worms for many, as we all try and navigate and find our way through the chaotic currents of the year. I found myself in a lot of conversations this last week and a half about such things as: when it was that we first really came to understand the power in our voices, why it was so important that we found it, as we started to use it, where the power in our voices really comes from and, more to the point, how do you cultivate it, if you feel like you’re using your voice, speaking up or sharing out in front of others, yet you feel like its not landing the way you hoped or leading to the kind of outcomes that you wanted it to?
When it comes to the WHY part, If we weren’t already sure, tell me if you feel similarly, that this time is certainly providing the opportunity to re-explore and clarify it a little deeper. Which is precisely why I’m putting on an event with 2 awesome guest inspirational speakers on the 27th June @9am AEST (and little old me) that is all about our WHY and helping us rise out of this confusing, chaotic time, with greater connection to and clarity within our true passion, purpose and the message we’re here to share with the world.
WHY do I personally feel so called to help people find the power in their voices?
For the sustainable future of our planet and it’s ever growing number of people. I have always believed that each of us was born with a unique part of the vision of and the solution to a more sustainable future for us and the generations to come. But has there ever been a more important time for us to step into our power, our inner leadership, in bringing it forward into the world?
For unity. Has the world ever (again) felt so united one minute and then divided and conflicted then next? Have we ever (again) needed heart connected, down to earth leaders, who can speak with the voice of love, more than now, to help us individually and collectively find our way going forward, together?
For individual and collective wellbeing, happiness and fulfilment. That photo above is from a workshop where i facilitated a discussion about how to get what we REALLY want out of sex, love and life. It’s a little hard on a personal level to create the life you want and need, if either we don’t know yet what it is and or if we're not sure how to communicate what it is that we want and need.
And then there’s the service part of that, the part where we might share our solutions for how to create a healthier, happier, more successful, sustainable life, with others. It’s important that we develop our skillset in HOW to effectively share our wisdom and gifts in service. The pandemic was a reminder of just how much we've needed to slow down, reconnect and recalibrate in the realms of wellbeing and mental health. But we're not done yet, many are still needing support to find their way in this domain, as well as support to maintain any gains they've recently made in these domains. Pun intended. We need Leaders and Speakers to help with this.
And to make that step and my WHY around that a little more directly lived personal, then there’s the part of me that has both absolutely excelled in sharing my vocal gifts with the world that I WANT everyone to be able to experience. The moments where (if you sing or perform) you open your mouth, share your gifts and the whole room stands and even the harshest of judges’ faces turn from frowns to delighted child-like wonder. Achievement wise, if that’s important to you, then there's the moments where you receive awards for the ways that you were of service in ways that changes people's lives too. And preceding that, the individual moments where your words, your wisdom, what you shared, moved someone to loving tears, as they transformed some of their deepest pains and struggles, into their greatest gifts. They did the work, they’ll try and give YOU all the credit and then your task becomes to hand a whole bunch of that credit back. But i've digressed. My point was, I want you to be able to use the power in your voice to create MORE of those moments.
And then there’s the unfortunate moments I want to try and empower other women, other PEOPLE, with the ability to NEVER to have to experience for themselves if they can help it. The moments where you spoke and your voice WASN’T heard. Or respected. The moments where it came out TOO forcefully and created harm, or was put forward in a way that triggered a powerful counter reaction you didn’t want or expect. The moments as a kid where you call out a best friend’s bullying in front of the group and get held down by friends (of all genders) mocked, stripped naked and violently assaulted. The teenage and adult ones where other residents or (drunk) friends followed you into your room you’re trying to escape into and forced themselves onto. The moments where they carried you there (despite your objections) and pushed you back down every time you tried to get up and out and painfully raped you. Moments where you ended up with back injuries that took over a decade to heal because a bunch of guys (and the one you're seeing) decided to try and prove how strong they are by trying to lift you above their head, only to lose their balance and drop you from the full extended length of their arms over the back of it, while the whole time you were saying "don't". Teenage moments where you or another loved one or friend or school kid tried to solve a problem by them hitting you or you hitting them back harder and the psychological damage that such situations can ultimately lead to, even if, in the short term, they win you freedom from ever being hit again or, from some, seemingly win you greater respect. Then there's the adult moments where you speak your truth and it challenged someone in a power position over you and the abused it to try and get you back under control- withheld a resource, or money, or time or love, or fired you, rather than either them OR you, making attempts to better control what's going on in both your heads...and then playing out with consequences, that did anybody really, truly want it to turn out that way? When what originally brought you together, was love?
I’m sorry, because I know that that’s not an easy paragraph for anyone that knows me, let alone any HUMAN to read. YET, the fact remains that BECAUSE of these experiences, and the years of work and personal and professional growth work I’ve done SINCE focused on healing and transforming beyond them, I now have a WHOLE lot of first hand wisdom to share on WHERE the power in our voices REALLY comes from. And an insatiable desire (pandemics or no pandemics) STILL to want to get ESPECIALLY groups of Women and at other times non gender specific groups full of people, in a room and get THEM working through THEIR stuff AND working through what i would call the 13 characteristics that I’ve found to be most important to cultivate to help us find the true power in our voices. Both in our personal and professional lives.
If you come and join Matt, Prasanna and myself at our HOW TO SHINE ONLINE event on the 27th June, each of us will share our unique take on the ones of them that we've found in common, that will help you deepen your connection to and clarity in your WHY, AND your client’s WHY at that.
Do please drop me a few likes or comments if you’d like to learn more too about the 13 characteristics that i've found can help us all to find the TRUE, authentic, loving power in our voices AND you think i should share more about them in written, online program and or workshop form in future too and I’ll make sure you’re in the loop when i put them forward.
Until next time, have fun, take care.
Nat Ferrier xx
Grateful for companies and people that have had my back and kindly kept paying me through all this, through me going at maybe max 30 hour a week pace, as opposed to the usual 60-70 hour a week pace I’d been going at for years. So I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty damn grateful for Covid, for having given me the room I wouldn’t give myself, trying to get back to where I was, or rather to some new version of having it all. Grateful for the voice that said just put it all down and let it all go. It’s not meant to happen that way. Stop and surrender. Stop and listen deeper. Like you’ve done before.
There are 4 past moments of insight that have been forefront in my head this last little bit, relating to trust and maintaining higher perspective in challenging times.
One was the kind of insight and perspective you develop standing at the end of the bed of a loved one, 5 minutes after they’ve died. Staring at the lifeless biological machine that once housed the energy, the personality, the soul of someone you loved so intensely, it is never so obvious to you how little any of this material “stuff” or the thousand little and big dramas we’re constantly creating and doing our heads in over in life, even matter. All the money and power and influence in the world won’t bring them back and it certainly won’t fill the void where they and their gorgeous energy once was. Such times show us what really matters most inside our hearts. On the flip side of the equation, being told you might be the one in trouble, they remind us what’s truly worth living and loving for.
But then life goes on, the world goes on. Do we remember, or do we get caught up in how things are, and forget? I remember the time my 20’s when I was engaged and we were buying country houses closer to our families, after living in Brighton East in Melbourne with our 2 SUV’s and 2 dogs, talking about our future kids. Never mind the steaming piles of mental health stuff we we side stepping amidst family histories and sporting injuries that ended careers and drinking problems, while we were trying to measure up to our parents visions for us verses our visions of having it all.
Maybe if we just went on another trip interstate, or a weekend away to Daylesford, or he bought me love in the form of a Ralph Lauren t-shirt (when I was just happy with one a quarter of the price from anywhere, that was flattering) or I him in the form of some new hoodie or work shirt or new bottle of wine, or if we built a permaculture veggie garden, or a fence, or I picked a colour scheme for my home office and healing studio, maybe one of us would finally feel better and the chemistry would mysteriously come back from damn near flat-lining.
Moral of the story, no amount of stuff or trying to be enough or trying to give the other what they want can succeed in filling the void where your own passion and purpose, doing what you love and being of service, should be. Find that, be that, share that and you get the magic, or the magic back. Not to mention the resilience of the relational container, while the wounding starts to fall away. Money might afford you a different kind of experience or opportunity. Giving it might be a form of love. But it is no substitute for the MAGIC that starts in the heart.
The third and fourth were the things you learn in the moments in life where you feel like you’re losing it all, yet find yourself. For the 6 months after I left that relationship (and was healing and transitioning back from full time studying Transpersonal Art Therapy, to trying to get back into another Community Service job part time, while trying to get my private practice off the ground, in a new location, seemingly for a bit, absolutely nothing I did worked. NO amount of interviews lead to the kind of Peer Support roles I THOUGHT in that moment would be an ideal way to take all my past “life crisis” plus professional experience so far and turn it into mentoring others to successfully navigate their own experience worked. The thought of going back to temping in corporate literally gave me panic attacks and Christmas came and went with me on Centrelink, trying to get myself unstuck from ghosts of failed relationships’ and drunk violence past.
Until, In February, a very neo shamanic older male friend of mine, happened to be coming back from through Victoria from Queensland, rang me, told me he was on his way back, then headed to Alice Springs for work and life and he asked me if I wanted to come. I volunteered my car and said yes. I’d always wanted to go and what the hell, what else was I doing with my time? At worst, If it didn’t work out, I could come back in a week or two and resume dysfunction as normal. So, it being the start of 2011 and not long having just read Eat Pray love, I said a prayer about surrendering to divine will and finding myself and my deeper purpose and off we went.
And from the moment we set out, things just started to flow. Not just figuratively, but quite literally. In SA, the first evening, I put my hands in an estuary, made a wish about getting back in flow, closed my eyes, some bright light flashed and a few seconds later, water started trickling through the sand bar at the entrance nearby. On the way there, in the middle of nowhere, we seemingly got half a tank of fuel out of a 10L fuel can, one of my tyres went flat, but only right outside a tyre place in Coober Peedie, right across from where we stayed. People on the streets in Alice from the moment we got there kept answering questions we hadn’t yet asked out loud and I got a Community Services job working with Indigenous people with disabilities within 2 hours of arriving there. More than that, 2 days after we got to Alice Springs and got settled, it flooded.
We could be here for at least 3 chapters if I tell you more about the little vision quests and intuitive initiations we found ourselves going on in the middle of the outback the whole time. That whole trip though, was basically one long complete initiation into a new level of trust; in the divine order of all things, trust in the way it and exactly what we need at any given time shows up through others and, maybe most importantly, trust in me.
Was that the end of all moments of doubt? No. I had a lot of magical things and opportunities explode into life during that time and since, that I have a lot to be grateful for. But in 2015/2016 I had another challenging moment, where seemingly no matter what I did, or how hard I worked at solving people’s problems and being of service, or how many hundreds of hours I spent applying for jobs, again, I felt like I was stuck and it wasn’t working again and the universal taps of abundance were turned off in my direction. Only this time, for the first time ever, I could only part pay the rent and I only had about $15 a week left for food. And for the first time ever, had to face ALL my biggest fears, about what would actually happen if there was no money left? I had to face all these secret fears that had been running my life for decades, about what people would think if I didn’t have it all together and if I let them down and couldn’t keep my promises, in the form of money. Let alone the pressure of contemplating what, shortly after, 20 K of Wellness Industry clients looking for a picture of success would think and do seeing where I was at, if or when they found out I’d risen and fallen. Being literally crucified and stoned in that moment might actually have felt preferable to the modern day social media version that I feared might come, if I didn’t get my shift sorted.
Funnily enough, making all the necessary phone calls to real estates and the ones to family asking for help, where I KNEW some would lay the boot in when I already felt like absolute crap, telling friends and business partners, I DIDN’T actually die. I DID though, find myself surrendering to listening to some higher will again though. And then found myself walking up the street into town, feeling about the freest I had felt, EVER, on the other side of NOT dying from and shaking off the shackles of all those fears. Only to see some guy i knew driving through a roundabout in front of me. Who happened to be my a friend/an ex, who happened to have just been to the bank and got several K worth of refund he wasn’t expecting. Who I then just happened to tell where I was at and he just happened to loan me the just $250 I needed to get me through until the next few K of client payments came in,
AGAIN, I had to gesture to the sky with a “touché universe, touché. We co-created that one well. Thanks for having my back”in that moment. A few months after, I surrendered again my little rental home of safety on the literal T-intersection of my metaphorical fork in the road in real life I was having and went off on the next leg of the journey of trust and faith and started on the next few years of house sitting, travelling and working (remotely and live) across the country. Yet another initiation into a new level of trust; in the divine order of all things, trust in the way it and exactly what we need at any given time shows up through others and trust in me.
So as I and we start this week, no matter what version of any of the challenges within the above, any of you, or someone you know might be facing, remember, even though it might at times feel like it, the world won’t actually end over money and stuff and things that are seemingly falling away. Sometimes you DON’T just have to work and push or BE pushed harder. Sometimes you need to stop and breath and re-align, before you pick up your tools and start working again. Or try a new entry procedure, with what seems like a locked door. Maybe it's not even THIS door, maybe its the one NEXT door. If people you thought would stay or be there during such times didn’t, maybe you’re still right on the passion, right on the vision, but maybe slightly off on strategy or how you THINK the solution should look and when it should appear, who should be involved and what every body should do to bring it into being.
As clever as our minds are, sometimes, some higher, wiser part of us. Has an even better plan and an even better means of bringing it about. How can we hear it though, if i mind is too busy trying to talk out a solution, when our higher self, the universe, whatever you want to call it, is trying to ring through a message. In a universe that’s always actually conspiring in our favour, there’s always A message waiting to download and at least 1 doorway, waiting open there. But we have to keep our eyes, our eyes, our senses open to receive it.
Maybe it will come during that disciplined meditation or yoga practice, or standing amongst the trees. Or maybe it’s in the moment where you stop doing the thinking and start doing the dishes. Or during the crazy cat video, or while you get a hug from somebody at home. Maybe it’s that thought that then suddenly gets IN. Maybe it’s in the shape of a cloud out the window. Maybe it comes to you in the shower. Maybe via a friend. Maybe via some curious (or slightly ‘unique’) stranger on the street, on the way to where you’re going. Insight is never that far away, if we can just learn to recognise it for what it is and the many forms in which it shows up.
And while the numbers and the achievements all count as A FORM of success and value and love, they’re not the ONLY form of our value that defines us, their fleeting highs are not our only means of fulfilment or the only currency or language in which we can give and receive. Are they really the only reason we ever got into all of this or to be where we are now? What WAS the reason? What about that still lights you up now? Or what else now does as well? Or instead? These can be important questions for such times.
On a planet, where, if you think about it, in the context of this solar system, this galaxy we live within, it is rather miraculous that this planet of ours even exists in it’s Goldilocks zone of biological existence, there is a whole lot to be grateful for and a whole lot to be passionate about. And a whole lot to be created and experienced, in ways that they have not yet been created before. On the other side of whatever we're being asked to let go of attachment to, in it's current form, in order for it to get in. Are the goals you once set and the things you once wanted or hoped to achieve, still REALLY what you want now, in your deepest heart of hearts? Or is what's happening on the outside, trying to show you something else? What lights you up, what is it that you REALLY want now? These can be important questions for such times. And i promise you, the answers are there. They're coming. You better than anyone, will know them when they come.
May your world be absolutely full of new magic for you this week. New messages, new perspective and new reasons to trust.
Yes, we CAN be equally as effective online, as face to face
I know, because I just spent the last 16 years being trained from multiple sources in HOW to do it and then practicing and refining a technique TO intuitively get to the point quickly and accurately, YET lovingly and gently, for the benefit of the lovely human on the other end of the webinar, who needs you to emotionally support and be present with them, for a little longer than JUST the 7 seconds - 3minutes it can take YOU to get the breakthrough insight THEY need to change and transform their world in positive ways, once you get hella good at working in the online space.
Under some schools of Counselling (or Coach or NLP training) today, they call this something like refining your counselling/coaching micro skills in client observation . In more alternative circles, the same might be referred to as developing your sensory + intuitive intelligence. e.g. the capacity to feel and intuitively identify what experiences are going on for oneself, the environment around us or with another living being.  Combined with your skills in emotional intelligence (being able to recognise one feeling from another, and strategies to manage them effectively.)  Either way, it’s all an aspect of building our online social intelligence. E.g. our awareness of what is going on with others around us and what we then do with that awareness, in this case, relative to our desired online therapeutic outcomes.
If you do any degree of research into the history of Shamanism (which I did a lot of when I was up-skilling in Transpersonal Art Therapy and Psychology 3 years into my Counselling and Community Service career and while I was living in Alice Springs for a time, circa 2007-2011) Indigenous Elders and Shaman are the original Masters of altered states of consciousness; they have been using the human capacity for projecting their consciousness, awareness and energy to others and another location for millennia for healing purposes, to get downloads on the state of the world and attend things like Council gatherings on the other side of the country . Or to connect with Elders in other countries, among many other things . But the capacity to accurately sense and interpret information from afar is also well explored in the more recent research and lit reviews on remote viewing  and the ability and mechanisms by which we can influence the energy and presence in a location other than our own in time and space, was well explored and documented in the early 2000’s by the likes of Gregg Braden, Lynne McTaggert and the many primary (university) associated sources of research that they reference in their books of the time .
But I’ve digressed. Beyond the bigger picture of how and why this works. And beyond the smaller scale, individual picture of us sorting out the technical and equipment setup and barriers that can get in the way that can block communication, why is it important to learn how to do all 3 (speed, accuracy and gentleness) in online sessions well?
-Firstly, for the clarity and purity of the communication dynamic between you. The clearer you are in tuning in, the more ‘on point’ the questions and statements you will use to communicate will be. Clearer, more direct communication, leads to better quality outcomes from the work you do together.
-The better we also get at ‘holding’ the space for them online from afar, this will also have the benefit that THEY feel like they received a better quality of support and care throughout the process of your work together. Who doesn’t want that?
-It’s also important for your own energy levels and the sustainability of your Practice as the Professional, to learn and become practiced in how to do all 3 well. I was listening to some research sited by NICABM in their latest blog recently, stating that one of the greatest sources of fatigue for Therapists moving to working online or via phone is simply trying to hear the clients in an online session, as opposed to live . I would also further clarify, when they’re straining more to make sure they hear you accurately “from a distance” via the unfamiliar medium of video, that anxiety may well be due to fearing the consequences of NOT hearing accurately- we might fear that we might not give a good quality of service or not get it right and that will have negative flow on for the clients in terms of outcomes and perception of the quality of care given. Which can make many of US put ourselves under more pressure about getting it right.
If though, we can open up to the idea that it is equally possible to “hear” or rather read someone’s verbals and non verbals accurately both via video and no matter where we are in time and space, and get practiced in the art of doing so, it reduces the development of this kind of stress and fatigue. When we operate from trust and build our confidence in focusing on and reading others online through practice, we’ll again be able to better maintain our energy through the process, without having to try so hard at it.
So how do you get better practiced at it? Here’s a rough summary of my process, and some homework tasks you can do to get hella good.
1. VISION- likely pre session, you’ve already got a sense from your intake process, of what they’re coming to you for and what they’re hoping to achieve and receive out of your time together. So I’m going to assume you’re coming to the session with this existing know.edge. But if by chance, you don’t, then this becomes your 3rd step to inquire about, instead of the 1st.
2. STATE: This is the quick meditative process you do just before the session, to reconnect your awareness to yourself, release anything from your focus you don’t need and refill back up with your own soulful presence and energy, before you turn to setting the intention for the session.
3. INTENTION- This is both about intending to be able to be of the highest service to the person and setting some intentions relating to your state and the energy in the room you want them to feel. How do you want them to feel supported during this session? What energy do you need to embody and bring to the space to help achieve that? Are there any people or energies that you also need to either invite OR ask to kindly wait outside the virtual waiting room also until after the session, so that you have a clear space in which to work?
4. FOCUS (TUNE INTO AWARENESS OF THE OTHER)- of the great sea os incoming sensory data available to our senses, this is about just honing into the “channel” the “stream” of data that relates specifically to the client’s experience (past, present and future) as they sit “with” you, in this virtual session space you’re co-creating. Tuning into them, to find out what’s going on with them.
5. QUESTION- now you ask them an open question/s to open up discussion (and get verification) about what you’re sensing. Or a closed one if you want to get straight to yes or no type verification of specific detail you’re sensing, like a particular emotion or a pain in a certain area of their body. (NOTE- a word of warning here to pick your questions carefully. If you only use ones that get straight to YOUR point, rather than invite YOUR CLIENT to tune into themselves to find the answer, the risk is that, over time, you’ll condition them to be dependent on YOUR intuition, instead of their own. For example, starting a bit more generally with something like “tell me about what you feel going on in your body right now” as opposed to jumping straight to “is there a pain in your left knee right now? Tell me about the pain in your left knee.” Give your client a few questions worth of room to increase their own awareness and get the insights, before you tell them what you think might be going on.
6. FEEDBACK- listen to the feedback that they give you. Repeat steps 2-3 until you get as much info as you need to. NOTE- word of warning no 2- you never know for sure until you ask them and or the test of time and further experience reveals the truth, so be careful not to go down the egoic path of “ha, I know better than you what’s going on with you” because, remember, how you interpret things, is also slightly subjective, based on your unique experience and world view. So even if you think you know, ALWAYS still do seek their feedback. It not only confirms or clarifies, but also respects your client’s sovereignty and honours the validity of their personal experience too.
7. ACTION- if the whole goal of your sessions is to bring them to a point of decision and have them plan out their next steps of action to help create the better outcome they’re seeking, then this step is about clarifying the actions to be taken now and seeking commitment to them.
YOUR HOMEWORK TASKS: remember, if it helps, you can always take some time to go practice aspects of this process that you feel you need to build your online muscles in, with colleagues virtually or people at home.
Homework task 1: PRESENCE- After you’ve done step 2 above (managed your own state), you might both take turns at playing with step 3 (INTENTION). Pick a giver and a receiver, then the giver intends to send their practice buddy a particular energy in the space, then intends to take it away. Then you both compare notes on what you both experienced during the exercise, before swapping over the roles and doing it again.
Homework task 2: PRACTICE- After you’ve both done steps 2-3, you might both sit and take turns at trying steps 4-6 (focusing on your partner, questioning them and then seeking their feedback response) and comparing feedback with each other at the end on what you both experienced, before you swap to the other having a turn.
The benefits of this are two fold. They will not only help you be more practiced and hence more confident in running your online sessions. But also have the added benefit of building your trust in that the process can be just as effective, online as it is live, face to face.
If you have any questions, or would like to set up some sessions to practice, just let me know.
Until next time,
Nat Ferrier xx
P.S. Was there an AHA moment in this for you? Know someone who might get an AHA out of it too? Feel free to share our article intact.
1) Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors (AIPC), Counselling Microskills: Client Observation
2) Ackerman, C.E., What is Emotional Intelligence? +18 Ways to Improve It, 24th April 2020
3) Bird, M., 3 Minute Coach, p. 324-352, Busybird Publishing, Eltham, Victoria, Australia, 2014
4) Braden, G., The Divine Matrix, Hay House, 1st Edition, 1st March 2007
5) Goleman, D., What is Social Intelligence? Greater Good Magazine, UC Berkeley, 1st Sep 2006
6) Kihlstrom, J. F., & Cantor, N. (2011). Social intelligence. In R. J. Sternberg & S. B. Kaufman (Eds.), Cambridge handbooks in psychology. The Cambridge handbook of intelligence (p. 564–581). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511977244.029 via https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2011-12794-028
7) Lee, J.H., Remote Viewing As Applied to Future Studies Technological Forecasting and Future Change, Vol 75, Issue 1, Jan 2008, pgs 142-153
8) McTaggart, L., The Field, The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe, Element Books, April 1 2003
9) McTaggart, L., The Intention Experiment: Using your thoughts to change your life and the world, Atria Books; Reprint edition (February 5, 2008)
10) Padesky, C and Siegel, R., Practical Ways to Improve Telehealth Sessions, The National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM), April 30 2020
11) Vadala, J., Cross-Culturally Exploring the Concept of Shamanism, Human Relations Area Files, Yale University, Mar 27 2019
Recently, in the spirit of fun, I submitted an imaginary question to an imaginary Psychic named Stacey, who was running an imaginary panel of spiritual “experts” convened recently to give their advice on the current state of the world. My question went something like: “Stacey, people tell me that I’m not in my “divine feminine enough. Do you think if I do more sexy yoga pose selfies and put them on instagram, people will finally understand just how spiritual I really am? I also really want to be more insta-famous, but how do i, without becoming UN-spiritual? Please help Stacey and panel, what is your expert advice for me?”
You can check out their beautiful, very wise (very funny) expert response here. Which I really wanted to respond to, as per their advice, with some gorgeous sexy yoga selfies, which i took this morning. As I was going through the usual a thousand emotions and seasons in an hour that go with trying to be the “perfect” female insta selfie, remembering what an art form it is, trying to capture the right light and the right angles and poses for correct form, yet not too much double chin, or muffin top or side roles, breast swell up and out, but nipples in, waste band in the right place, face relaxed, tongue in, just the right amount of smile, hair in the right place and hopefully nothing grossly inappropriate in your background (hence, art form!) I found myself also then filming this video. Reflecting on the whole illusionary, highly constructed nature of our social media profiles, of P.R. approved celebrity media releases and yes, even professional speaker profiles. Relative to the state of reconnection with our more authentic selves that is organically unfolding, as we spend more time with ourselves, in the presence of our own homes.
In the era beyond Lockdown, there’s a beautiful opportunity that now exists for us, beyond the pre-covid old world illusions of the perfect selfie, insta fame and the PR approved public personas and this week's video speaks to what it is...
But more than that, it's not just our social profiles, or insta stardom this relates to. Our relationship with our insides and our self esteem, is just as important to how we show up as Leaders and Speakers. And to whether we feel we can show up as us, or we need to lean on the larger-than-life Professional Speaker or Celebrity persona's we've created for ourselves. Having done Performing Arts and been an actress in years past, I can watch a Speaking piece and pick a piece a mile away that's delivered by someone who is truly connected to themselves live in the moment, verses someone who has just delivered, like an actor breathing emotional life into a character, a perfectly structured performance, that the Speaker just breathed life into, as the character of their larger-than-life Professional Speaker persona. But, i'm left wondering afterwards, who really are they, underneath all that? Have we fallen in love with the illusion of someone, that in fact doesn't really exist?
Like Grace, in the episode of Grace and Frankie, where Nick is coming over with his giant toothbrush, and his actual toothbrush, and she tells him she needs him to see who she really is and asks if he can take her as she really is, under the fake eyelashes, make up, hair extensions and busted knees and walking sticks, and he comes up to her, takes her face in his hands, kisses her and tells her "ill take it!" It takes courage to show up as we really are. Sometimes we will be embraced like Nick, and others, we might find ourselves in a room of deafening silence. Wondering if the most self-respecting move, might be to make a hasty exist, never to return.
And then part of the journey is learning how to be resilient in the face of rejection, to stay in your own lane, your essence and stay true to you, continuing to shine and show up in the world as you, despite what someone else out there thinks. I'm not saying it's wrong if you want to go straight back to the insta fame and celebrity and contortions and injections, if that feels like the path. But so long as we're twisting ourselves and injecting ourselves and creating crack enhanced avatar versions of ourselves for the right reasons, that's my point.
It is our soul, our unique you-ness that people love after all. Not your cup size, or how much hair is on your head, or the colour of whatever is in or on your face. Or the grand performance we put on, from our perfectly manicured public personas alone.
Now, more than ever, we have a golden opportunity to explore who we really are. And, if we're truly serious about embodying love, come back out leading and serving in the world, from that place. Something to ponder.
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.
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Thanks for reading. Until next time....
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.