I’ve learnt some important life lessons during my five years in business. Looking back I realised that the unexpected ones have been the most powerful and useful. Because they’re the ones that enable me to continually transform personally and professionally. My hope is that by sharing them, they’ll help you too.
1. Speaking up for silence
We all know how busy life can be with constant distractions and activities that can demand our time.
Take a couple of minutes now to pause and consider what the busyness and distractions in your life are.
Do you really have no time for silence and moments to be still? This doesn’t have to be a literal stillness. You most certainly don’t have to be sitting in a yoga lotus position, meditating in silence. It’s more about creating space and time just for you. Perhaps consider it a breathing space, with the opportunity to reflect and hear your inner wisdom.
Creating space for silence is going to make the biggest difference when it’s a regular part of your life. This doesn’t mean it has to be daily, or a routine. Although this works for many people, if you find it challenging, just find a way that works for you. One that fits your commitments and lifestyle.
If you’ve not tried it already, I’d highly recommend mindfulness as a tool to help you incorporate moments of silence and stillness into your life.
2. Don’t Believe the Business Hype
When I started UnglueYou I took on board the endless information about what I should be doing to succeed. Like increasing your mailing list, FB, twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram followers. Add to this countless books and blogs about marketing, PR, managing your finances and doubling your income in only 6 weeks. It’s hardly surprising I felt overwhelmed and underperforming. As I constantly compared, wondering what I was doing wrong, why wasn’t I a ‘success’?
I didn’t recognize the need for stillness and so kept myself busy doing most of this stuff. Thinking others knew what would be best for me and my business.
It’s taken me several years to untangle myself from all of that. It may take you equally as long to untangle yourself from misguided beliefs and perceptions. But as you do, you’ll recognize there isn’t a formulaic approach to life or business that produces the results you’re aiming for.
Some suggestions will work for you, others won’t. You’ll make decisions that you wish you hadn’t and ones you’re glad you did. With every experience you’re self-awareness can deepen. As you learn to trust yourself, you’ll start to find your own way and your confidence will grow. Knowing you have everything you need to create your own version of success.
3. Time is not your Enemy
Time is money, the metaphor goes. It’s viewed as a commodity that can be wasted, spent and used up. But also never have enough of. ‘So much to do, so little time!’ This brings with it a sense of urgency. With any thoughts of silence and stillness way down the to-do list.
I understand all of this. My earliest collages feature stop watches, wrist watches torn in half and alarm clocks. Reflecting my anxieties about time and the fear that everything was taking too long. I felt guilty when taking time off and under pressure when working.
I’ve no doubt you’ll be able to relate to this on a personal level. Beyond the day to day feelings of ‘I don’t have enough time for myself’ you may also feel pressures according to your age. Such as; I should be married by now, have a house, a partner or a successful career. STOP!
Time isn’t your enemy. You don’t have to fight it. As long as you reflect and learn, no experience or episode in your life is ever wasted. So imagine your life as seasons, with all the related weather patterns. Right now you may be in full bloom, transitioning, dormant – while roots are established, or starting to blossom. Whichever one you’re in, you can always be preparing for the next one. But in letting go of the desire for your dreams and goals to be accomplished immediately. You can live in the present, enjoy the season you’re in and stop fighting time. You won’t win anyway!
4. Don’t Force it – Let it Flow
There’s a quote, ‘The river follows the path of least resistance’. So it’ll flow around, rather than through an obstacle. While staying true to its original destination. For us, it’s about allowing yourself to be flexible. Rather than sticking to one course, regardless of the obstacles in the way. When I face an obstacle, I recognize it for what it is. A temporary setback with an alternative solution and an opportunity for creative problem solving.
Due to phrases like ‘just go with the flow’ there is an assumption that allowing things to flow is passive. It’s not. Both force and flow are active, creating their own types of energy. These energies are different and based on your current mind-set. Therefore, affecting what, why and how you behave.
Force has its roots in fear. Here there is pressure to perform, to strive and do all you can to prove your worth or be successful. However, you find yourself going against your intuition. Why? Because you’re uncertain of the outcome when making a decision you know is right. Instead your choices are driven by financial or other needs.
Flow has its roots in faith. From this perspective you learn to trust yourself, listen to your intuition and respond accordingly. Following emerging opportunities and being prepared to allow organic growth; in all areas of your life.
5. Be your own Best Friend
As someone’s friend, I imagine you do fun things together and treat them on their birthday. You’re there for them in good and bad times, supporting and encouraging them with words of advice. Always finding the time to listen regardless of what’s going on for you. No doubt your friend reciprocates.
But do you treat yourself as well as you treat your friends? Do you do fun things and treat yourself on your birthday? Or say you can’t be bothered. Are you kind to yourself in good and bad times? Or do you soldier on regardless? Have you taken the time to be still and listen to your inner wisdom, regardless of other commitments?
At the end of the day you, and only you, are ultimately responsible for your own well-being. I wrote a blog post about learning to love yourself and the idea of being your own best friend is akin to this.
Whether it’s related to relationships, finance or your wellbeing are you willing to take the advice you give to others? You have their best interest at heart when you do this. Can you put your best interests at heart? It may seem counterintuitive, but the more you do this; look after and nurture your needs, the more you’ll be able to give to others.
Choose to be your own best friend, you’ll be glad you did.