A Mid-Year Check in

photo by picjumbo.com

 

As we are almost to the halfway point of the year, I am spending time in reflection about the way I’ve been operating in life and in business so far. I use a combination of journaling, looking back over my plan for the year, and brainstorming what I’m feeling is missing or needs to be eliminated.

 

I also take time to celebrate where I am at this mid-point. That’s important to me, as I am naturally inclined to seeing what I haven’t done with a critical eye, rather than embracing the successes I have achieved.

Among other things I’ve done this year, I’m celebrating my steps forward in achieving my next level of coach credentialing. I’ve really taken the main focus off of acquiring more clients and have shined a light on technique and coaching competency. It’s uncomfortable at times and my inner critic has spoken up more often than I would like. But it’s been a huge learning process that I haven’t undertaken for many years, and it feels satisfying.

 

I’m celebrating another successful half year as an entrepreneur. Building a coaching business takes time and I can honestly say that I am looking at sustainability, continued growth and refinement. What else am I longing to do?

One of them is writing and blogging. I find that these are often the first things to get pushed out when I am “busy.” I have at least 5 book ideas in my head, but so far, I’m not coming to writing from a place of choice as I prioritize my time for writing and creating each day.

I also find that I sometimes avoid social media because it can be a depressing place to be. Yet, I want to create an uplifting corner for followers here on the blog and on my other social media sites.

I see so many “ads” and posts from other coaches about how they “leveraged Facebook to create a six figure income.” And, of course, how they help other coaches to do the same for a mere $10,000. How about the untapped power of Instagram? When I do pop in, I am bombarded with offers of free books about blogging or IGTV to make me rich. Rich enough to be able to afford their exclusive VIP program.

Honestly, that isn’t the way I want to be in my business relationships with clients. I want my connections to be authentic and meaningful, as I continue to move forward as a coach and as a business owner. I want a personal relationship, not an online conversation in a Facebook group or a series of pre-recorded training videos. In fact, I also need to stop signing up for these things or looking outside of myself for resources to succeed. I don’t need a program created by anyone else. I know what I need to do to attract new business and sustain the amazing clients I already have.And in order to do that, I need to open myself up to more conversations with people I want to work with and who want to work with me. So how do I want to approach this?

I want to give content and tools, rather than taking names and emails to filter through a squeeze page of just “one more bonus offer if you sign up today” or “click here to get this amazing offer that will skyrocket you into six figures.”

I want people to want to work with me because they had an experience of me in some way. And they believe that when we partner together, we will both benefit exponentially in ways that go beyond money or followers.

What does that look like? Maybe monthly or quarterly free events as I used to do years ago. Possibly live chats on YouTube where we talk about whatever is important to each individual that is watching. Trainings on the 4 Elements for Success – a deep dive into each one.

So, as you look at this past six months, what is it that you are celebrating so far this year?

What else are you longing to do?

What might you want to avoid or get rid of?

What will Enliven you as you step forward into the Summer Solstice?

What blooms most vibrantly for you right now?

 

As we approach the longest day of the year, may you find the time to shine a light on what’s most important in your life and work.

Instruments of Grace

Recently, I posted on Facebook that I am reading Waking Up in Winter by Cheryl Richardson. In truth, I am listening to it on Audiobook, which is always nicer when it’s read by the author. I’m enjoying this book so far – it’s very different from her others because it’s a journaled memoir. At the start of the book, she mentions that her husband reminded her of her love for May Sarton’s journals, so she structured this new book in much the same way.

The added gift for me in all of this is that it reminded me of my own love of May Sarton’s journals and that I have had Journal of a Solitude in my Kindle library for quite awhile. I used to own Plant Dreaming Deep and lost my copy of it to the storm all those years ago. “Why haven’t I read this one yet?” I wondered to myself.

Fast forward a few days when I decide to pick up Journal of a Solitude while simultaneously reading Waking Up in Winter. Reading them both is a great way of caring for myself during this introspective time of the year.┬áLately, I’ve felt a yearning inside of me, but I wasn’t quite sure what I was longing for. Reading both of these books seemed like a good place to discover what’s been missing.

What these two memoirs have given me so far is a reminder to notice the beauty that is all around me. I can get very distracted by work, time commitments, and a desire to do all the things I want to do. And those distractions keep me from really noticing the silky golden beauty of my granddaughter’s hair or the perfect grace of my cat’s leap onto the couch just before he snuggles next to me.

While uncovering and re-positioning plants after the latest freeze, I noticed how the Jasmine’s leaves are still so shiny and was reminded that we will soon see the tiny buds of her flowers begin to show. ( I am so grateful she didn’t wither away during this cold winter we’ve been having.)

Mardi Gras is early this year, so I am delighted by social media photos of the vibrant colors on glorious Carnival ball gowns. And the familiar Zydeco music on my Pandora playlist begins to fill my office because I am ready to wake up a little myself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This morning I made a new chili recipe and I was happy to see the mix of yellow corn, red tomatoes and black beans. And the smell of Coriander and Cumin are all around me as I write this post.

I don’t like getting so caught up with the every day routine of life that I forget to notice and articulate the beautiful things that surround me.

Even before I recognized what was happening, I was drawn to the simple beauty of the blog, videos and Instagram photos of A Wooden Nest. Seeing the simple made wonderful in knitting a pair of socks or making a pot of oatmeal made me instantly connect with this woman’s work.

Once I connected with the realization that I was craving simple beauty, it all made sense. The journal memoirs, the videos and the enjoyment of being outside again after weeks and weeks of bitter cold weather – I needed to pay attention to all of it.

Noticing creates connections to those things I love – those things I am craving. Beauty brings me back to myself.

May Sarton said “Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.”

So that’s my deeper intention for this little while – to slow down and force patience. To seek out the instruments of grace that surround me.

Now that I’ve opened my eyes, they won’t be hard to find.

Listen to the Rhythms of January

Do you notice that January brings a desire to declutter, purge and re-organize your home, office and maybe even your car? If so, you’re not alone.

While the phrase “Spring Cleaning” is more popular than “January De-Cluttering,” this is a natural time for us to take stock and think about what we own, where we store it and whether it’s still relevant to our lives and our work.

If you’re feeling a desire to purge, declutter or re-organize, honor the feeling and do what you feel led to do. But don’t feel as though you have to do it all in one month. Listen to the natural rhythms that exist within your life and your climate. Maybe put an empty box by the back door and add to it when you find you can’t fit those coffee cups into the cabinet easily anymore. Or you discover some of the clothes you didn’t wear last year need to go to someone who will actually benefit from them this year.

December brings with it some gifts of food as well, making our bodies a bit overwhelmed. We often take stock of our eating and fitness habits during this time of year.

Winter is usually a time we draw inward and rest and reflect. So joining a gym and hitting it every day may be counterintuitive to your natural new year rhythms. Listen to what you feel like doing and think about when it may fit into your life. If you want to walk more, notice for a few days when you feel most like walking or moving your body a bit more. Track it for awhile and then see if that fits into your desired fitness schedule.

What would bring you comfort during this time of the year? Are you ready to create a sanctuary for the year ahead? A place that is visually stimulating and practical? Take one small step at a time and think first about which area of your life is pulling you with the strongest desire. Are you in need of warm baths with hot tea and a good book? Or do you feel like baking warm bread and sharing it with neighbors or friends.

What are you longing for?

Whatever is calling you, let it have a voice. When we connect with, listen to and honor our natural rhythms and desires, we are better for it.