Category Archives: Purpose

Undo the overwhelm!

How often do you feel overwhelmed in your business or life in general?

Over the last few months from my own experience and from hearing stories of overwhelm from many of my clients I have come to realise that overwhelm is a very normal experience and it is possible to break it down and work your way through it. The biggest downside of staying in overwhelm is that it sucks the joy and meaning out of life and that can leave you questioning the very thing you believed to be your purpose. Being on purpose does not mean that you will never experience overwhelm.

In today’s blog I want to share the 3 major ways that overwhelm can keep us stuck and get in the way of what we want to achieve.

Feeling overwhelmed is really, really, common whether we are business owners or not. If I look back at the last 12 months (my business is 11months old) I would say that I felt overwhelm weekly and sometimes daily! When I get overwhelmed I suffer from what I call “deer in the headlights syndrome” I freeze. I can neither go forward nor back. The very thought of dissecting the overwhelm, overwhelms me!

Instead I polish up my procrastination skills…I watch daytime TV, I make snacks when I’m not hungry, I check the snail mail and the email and I hang out for hours on social media. All of these things fail in every way to alleviate overwhelm and in fact often serve to intensify it.

So how do we manage our feelings of overwhelm in our business and in our personal lives?The first step to dealing with any difficult experience is to gently allow yourself to feel it, acknowledge it and accept it. It’s time to stop avoiding the overwhelm!

In my experience the source of your overwhelm will likely be :

(1)time

(2)knowledge or

(3) the stretch.

If we can work out which of these 3 are at the source then we are more than halfway to resolving it.

(1) The most common source of overwhelm is time…and not enough of it! The first step in defusing the time problem is to have a really good look at where your time is going and what time you actually have available. Identify your time drains and look at how you can eliminate these. Are there ways in which you can re-order your routine to free up an extra half an hour a day? Can you shuffle your schedule to give you some bigger chunks of time to work with?

Once you have established your time limits then look at all of the things you need to complete. Make a list…yes I know that making a list in itself can feel overwhelming but believe me you will feel a lot better once you do it. Look at each of the items on your list and ask yourself how essential they are for you to complete. Put all the non-negotiables into your schedule first.

It is likely that the simple act of making a list has reduced your overwhelm but if not you can trust me that once you start to tick off some of the items on your list you will be able to breathe again. This is also a good time to re- evaluate the standards you are setting yourself…are you expecting and unrealistic level of perfection that results in things never being completed? Make your new Mantra “done is better than perfect” and make a start.

(2) The second source of overwhelm is knowledge. This is where we feel overwhelmed because we have reached our outer limits of knowledge on a particular subject or aspect of our business. Once again it’s important to be gentle with yourself and to be accepting that there will always be things that you need to learn.

For me starting out in a new business after 10 years in the corporate world I had to admit that my marketing skills from my previous businesses was completely outdated. Social media was my new learning curve and boy was that overwhelming! The great thing is that new knowledge is so readily available now. There is always someone who knows what you don’t so find a coach or a course or a mentor who can help you to get on track to gaining the skills you need.

(3) The third reason we feel overwhelm is when we are in the stretch. The stretch is that place where you are putting yourself out there, owning your genius and testing your new skills and abilities. It might be a new program you want to offer or a new way of working or a new product or service. It may even be a new way of communicating your needs in your relationship or a new aspect of yourself you are learning to share and embrace.

Personally I find the overwhelm associated with the stretch the most challenging. Recently I have been leaning into the stretch in my coaching business and owning my true nature as a business coach. I am acknowledging that what I do does not fit within a traditional model but is soul based. My clients have been quick to accept my new moniker of soul based business coach as it aligns with how they have experienced what I do, but owning this dimension of my work more publically has felt overwhelming because of the stretch.

When overwhelm is in the stretch it’s important to know that it will feel uncomfortable initially as you grow into this aspect of yourself or your work but the rewards are enormously satisfying. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the stretch the my best advice is to go slowly, dip your toes in and test the water and feel the expansion as you do. Nurture and celebrate your small steps as you would a child who is learning a new skill.

 It is my hope that some of my suggestions will help you to relax about your feelings of overwhelm and to let go of the battle you have with yourself. When we relax about what is occurring it allows us to drop our resistance and then the way forward begins to appear. Don’t be surprised if your desire to procrastinate is strong here its normal to feel a level of resistance to your growth.  After all overwhelms best friend is procrastination and that is another blog entirely that I look forward to sharing with you soon.

Paula xx

Where are you today?

How are you feeling? Whats happening in your life and in your business? How big is your week this week?

Do you even have time to contemplate answering these questions? Are you overwhelmed by how much needs completing or are you madly scrambling to find more clients/contracts/jobs to pay the bills?

Why do I ask……

We are now 8 weeks into 2017. We have reached that point where it seems both a long way from the centredness and relaxation of the summer break and equally as far from the next opportunity to take more than the weekend off (if you are even managing to do that) This is where we can lose ourselves to the momentum, the busyness,the rush and hustle.

This week I’d like to encourage your to draw breath, to create space regardless of how busy or not busy you are. Find a way to inject a gap into your week just for you. It can be as little and an hour or even 20 minutes a day or if you really want to amp things up gift yourself a day.

Step off the treadmill for a moment and gather your thoughts, let go of busyness, pressure and hurry. Connect with yourself and feel where you are at, feel the reason you are here doing this, feel the part of this that “is you” and not your business.

When we create regular gaps in our schedule to reconnect with ourselves and what we are creating it becomes easier to stay on track, we accomplish more and it is easier to find the energy for the doing.

We step into flow, we find satisfaction and contentment or we identify what is not flow and not satisfaction and it becomes easier to make the necessary adjustments, to self-correct, to feel re-inspired towards our goals, mission and purpose.

Whenever you are feeling tired, overwhelmed, too busy or not busy enough in your business its time to take a step back, to turn to yourself and ask the question “where am I in this?’ “where am I and what do I need?”

To be able to show up consistently and to create something you love in the long term – that sustains you financially, emotionally, spiritually, professionally and personally, staying connected to yourself is the key.

Dont wait for someone else to notice and to give it to you….

Dont wait until you are burnt out and just dont love it any more

Dont wait until its too late to change course and make the necessary adjustments

Take that time today, this week. Gift it to yourself, you deserve it. You are more worthy of your own time and attention than you can ever imagine.

I’d love to hear your experiences of giving yourself time in your business, feel free to share int he comments below. If you feel like you’d like some more support with this feel free to schedule a free clarity call with me here or visit my website here

What is your Superpower?

Todays blog post is about really owning what you are good at, connecting with what you love doing and identifying the strengths that other people see in you.

We often shy away from owning our strengths for fear of appearing arrogant or “big headed” In New Zealand we call this Tall Poppy syndrome but the real values of knowing what you are good at is that it will lead you closer to your purpose. Finding purpose is one of the key things I find my clients are wanting to achieve in creating a life and business they love. I have written about it here The Problem of Purpose When we feel a sense of purpose in what we do we experience a deeper level of success and satisfaction that goes far beyond achieving in the financial sense.

So how do you find your super powers? For me it has taken 2  previous businesses and a 10 year corporate career to really find my sweet spot.

What I know now is that I am able to give great clarity to people. I can break down ideas, problems and information in to clear steps. I have a knack for knowing when someone is rubbing up against a block or a fear, I use my intuition help me with this and I have developed some really effective tools for helping people work with what comes up to address it and clear it. I am also an awesome brainstormer which makes me a great ideas person. Combining this with my love of people and desire to help and support others and Coaching is a great fit for me. It uses my skills and makes me happy.

To get to  this point I did a lot of experimenting. I followed a love of plants and gardening to train as a Garden Designer and  run a business in Garden design and maintenance business only to learn that it took the joy out of gardening for me. Gardening for me works great as a hobby but not as a career path. I also have a range of other skills that just don’t make me happy in the long-term. For example I had a very successful career in sales and sales management. I love working to targets and enjoy working with people,but sales just didn’t give me the level of connection I was looking for and I realised I wanted to help more than my role as sales person would allow me.

All of my past experiences have led me to this point. The point where I know my strengths and skills and how to apply them in a role that allows me to do something I really love. And this is what I wish for you. I want you to also experience the joy of loving what you do

So How do you find your superpowers? Start with a career/life audit.Take a look at your past experiences and what they have shown you about yourself and your skills.Then as Natalie suggested with this blog challenge write some lists of the things you are good at and the things you really enjoy doing. Then go ask some of your friends and family what they think your good at because you’ll find some more gold there. You might be surprised at what you find. If nothing else you will be a little clearer and closer to finding your purpose.

If you would like my support to get clarity, move through your blocks and identify the steps you need to take book a free clarity call here or visit my website www.paulamcfarlane.com

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 4

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Finding Your “Why”

I can safely say that I am more engaged in what I do than I have ever been in any job or business I have had in the past. I love the level of engagement I feel in what I do and that every day I get up and go to “work” with a level of excitement and enthusiasm I only imagined existed. So how did this come about? What is this nirvana of “love what I do ” that I am currently experiencing? The key reason for my current level of joy and satisfaction in what I do is that I have a strong connection to why I am doing it. I have found my “why”

Having a compelling “why” is something that I coach my clients on frequently but it isn’t always easy to nail down exactly what it is for people. We all have different values and beliefs and things that we want to do, be and have in life. One “why” does not fit all!

So how do you find your own? I’d like to tell you the story of my why and I hope it will lead you just a little. It closer to discovering your own.

31/2 years ago my husband died of cancer. Now there are a lot of experiences that go hand in hand with the kind of loss I have been through but one of the real gifts was that it lead me to my why. When I lost Ande for a period of some months I couldn’t understand why I was still here. He was my purpose and without him I felt I had no function. However as time past and I began to heal I began to realize that he was in fact still my purpose. He was a beautiful, intelligent, caring and giving human being who died at age 45 with a lot of his music still inside him but I am still a living and I have the chance to not do that. I have the chance because of him to be, do and have all that I really want in my life. The best way for me to honor him and his memory is to be true to myself and to truly be me in each and every moment.

So I began to ask myself the question – Who am I really?, What are my values?, What do I want to create? What have all my experiences to this point shown me?

I came to know that freedom and authenticity are two of my strongest values. I began to feel how much I need to set my own timetable and how constrained certain things in my life made me feel. I discovered how much I love supporting others to reclaim their truth and to connect with who they are and express that in their life and business. I saw that my working life held some patterns that revealed to me something  I was observing not only in my own life but in the lives of people I was working with.

Ande became my purpose once again but he also became much more than that. Losing him guided me back to myself and to realising what success truly means for me and that to do that for other people would take my breath away.

So now I create a life that I love and although Ande still remains my anchor point my connection to my desire to lead others to deep experiences of success is why I get up each and every day with a spring in my step and the fact that doing that allows me to live in alignment with my values of freedom, authenticity, fairness, love and truth is the icing on the cake.

How will my story help you find your”why”? please don’t think that to get there you need to experience any kind of loss in your life because you don’t. All you need to do is to get curious. Get curious about what drives you, what your values are and whether you are living your life by them. Get curious about what makes you feel good and what makes time fly for you. Try a few “why’s on for size and see if they fit. Treat the whole process as an experiment and get really good at noticing what is being revealed to you. Taking a step back and viewing your life and your choices in this way will lead you to not only know yourself better and feel a greater sense of purpose it will lead you to your why.

If you would like support to find your wyh I’d love to help, book a free clarity call with me over on my website www.paulamcfarlane.com or if you are in Christchurch join my next Love your Biz Group coaching program that begins on 11th October. Info also on the website.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 2

 

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Your Focus needs more Focus

For the next 10 days I am participating in a Blogging Challenge. The challenge to write a blog post on a set topic each day for 10days.  I have never participated in a Blogging Challenge before primarily because I tend to write about what is current for me or what is in my heart and needs to be shared. However Natalie Sisson the instigator of this particular challenge has been somewhat of an inspiration to me  in my journey and glancing over her list of topics for the next 10 days I believe there is value to be had both for you as the reader and for me as the writer.

So here goes……..

FOCUS

As those of you who have read my blog or website will know my current fledgling Coaching Business is not my first foray into the world of self employment. I actually started my first business at the tender age of 24! The mechanics of beginning a new business and growing a client base are familiar to me- I know this road, I have walked it before. This time however I have to admit I have been challenged both personally and professionally in ways I could not have expected.

There are a couple of reasons for this and I’ll go into that in more detail shortly but if I am really honest with you the key reason is that this time it matters more. This time I am creating a business and lifestyle I really want to live. This time I am creating from a place of deep knowing that success and fulfillment are not the same thing. I am building for myself exactly what I teach my clients, a business that is in alignment with my values, my purpose and my vision for the future I want to live. I have an incredibly strong desire to lead others to deep experiences of success that go beyond achievement.To do this I also need to do it for myself. So challenges in this biz/life creation phase are coming at me thick and fast and I’m sure many of you will relate to exactly what I am describing.

Challenge#1 VISIBILITY It has been 12 years since I sold my last business and in that 12 years social media marketing has gone bananas! My last business was very successful and remains so for its current owners, but 12 years ago I had no website, no blog, no facebook page, twitter feed or instagram account in fact no social media presence whatsoever!

What I am learning very quickly is that the world of social media can be very hit and miss. Building your profile online takes time, perseverance and consistency, but even small gains can make a big difference. Increasing the visibility of my business has been my primary focus for the past few months and pretty early on it became clear to me that social media alone was not enough, so I went back to what I know. By far the biggest gains for me have come from meeting actual people in real life! Face to Face Networking has had a really beneficial impact on my business and the best thing about it is that I really like getting out and meeting new people. Face to Face networking is also a great way to get really good at telling people what you do in a 1 minute elevator speech!

There are a lot of networking groups out there that cater to all sorts of businesses and people, so if you are looking for ways to increase your visibility, find a group you like the sound of and go and meet some people!

Challenge#2 THE TECHIE STUFF landing pages, websites, plugins, SEO, online booking systems, mailchimp, facebook ads- Yes it all sounds like another language doesn’t it?…well it has to me! Dont get me wrong I am actually fairly good with a computer and amd proud to say I bulit my own website www.paulamcfarlane.com but my techie learning curve over the last 5 months has been very steep and I am still far from reaching the top! Youtube has become my best friend! There are video tutorials for just about anything on youtube!

The key with the techie stuff is to work out whats important to you and what someone else can do for you. I love that I can change up the copy on my website daily if I want to but creating an email sign up form proved outside my techie capability. Luckily access to tech help is plentiful and price wise ranges from relatively cheap to quite expensive. Finding the right technical helper who understands you and your business at a price you’re comfortable paying takes experimentation and I am still a work in progress on that front.

Challenge#3 FEAR by far the hardest part of creating this business has been fear. When you move towards what you really, really want you are constantly challenged by fear. Fear that you will fail, fear that you will succeed, fear that you don’t deserve it, fear that you are not worthy, fear that there will not be enough clients, fear that there will be too many clients, fear that you are charging too much, fear that you are not charging enough, fear that what you are creating is not wanted by the world.

The one truth about running your own business is that it is scary beyond your wildest expectations.

I have begun to accept that my fear will always be along for the journey. I can’t outrun my fear. My fear asks me daily to feel it, connect with it and to understand what it is trying to show me. My fear reveals to me all of the parts of myself that need to be healed, that need my love and attention. Being with my fear is my greatest teacher and learning to love and understand it, to accepts its gifts, is a challenge I am willing to accept. I am willing to accept working with my own fear because it is supporting me to support others to work with theirs. There has been no greater gift for me in this experience that seeing one of my clients embrace and understand their fear and take steps forward into the business and life they truly desire because of it.

For me the key to working with fear is to get really good support. Finding the right coach, mentor or mastermind group will support you to really accelerate your growth both personally and in your business.

I’d love to hear what challenges you are facing in your business. what has been you primary focus in creating your biz/life. Feel free to comment or ask questions below.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 1 http://suitcaseentrepreneur.com/10DBC-Day-1

 

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A Letter to my Lovely Clients….

Dear One,

I have been writing and re-writing this letter in my head for several days now. There are some things in my heart that I feel compelled to share with you. What I know about my compulsion to write is that if I don’t honor it, it will simply not leave me alone until I do. I have held back from this letter because it simply felt to silly to tell you, to vulnerable and really a little bit cheesy but it is my truth and it is for you.

I want to tell you how happy it makes me to be able to work with you, support you and to walk with you on your journey of creating your business. I love it that you have reached out to me for support and that I am able to serve you in this way. I have such a huge amount of respect for the challenges you have overcome to be where you are right now and for your commitment to meet your fears head on. I know and understand how hard this is for you because I have done it too and am doing it all over again!

I see your desire to feel connected to your purpose, to feel you are expressing yourself in your business and to create for yourself and your family a life of substance, a life lived in full colour and a life of meaningful success.

I know that like me you believe  in your dreams, that you can be the very best version of yourself, do what makes you happy and have success in every way possible. Knowing this about you inspires me to continue to learn and to grow so that I can be the very best support to you and your business. And learn and grow I have. These past few weeks have been a massive roller-coaster of change for me as I grow my business and create the foundations I need to be able to support you as much as I want too.I am committed to doing all that it takes to be the best possible business coach so that as you reach new heights in your business, I am also reaching them with you!

For me a big part of this journey is to be here to let you know that you are not alone. I know and understand how hard this is. I understand that you have days where you can’t see the woods for the trees and you feel like every choice you have made is wrong. I know what it feels like when everything is just out of reach and its a stretch to keep going and to make your business happen. I know how much courage it takes to face your fears, to look them in the eye and to feel your self shaking as you keep going anyway. I understand how much this costs you, financially, emotionally, physically and mentally. I know what you have given up for this and just how scary that is. But I  also know that nothing compares to the joy you feel with each and every little success that you have. I know that even on the hard days you really don’t want to go back because what you are creating right now is real and really you!.

When you look back at where you were just a few short months ago you cant help but agree with me that you have come a long way and achieved a great deal. I am so proud of what you are creating. I love that by living your dreams you give permission to others to do the same, as do I and together we are doing our bit to change the world! You are amazing and you are achieving amazing things!

I know that you are fiercely independent and that you are capable of moving mountains when you put your mind to it but I also know that its hard for you to ask for help and even harder sometimes for you to let your self receive it. I want you to always know that when you need support, when you are having a wobble that I believe in you and where you are going and I will do my very best to help you along the way. It’s as simple as reaching out. Please feel free to reach out, email, text send me a message on Facebook. Let me know what your roadblocks are, the challenges that are emerging for you, shout out your latest wins, your new plans, your desires and dreams, I am here for you.

I am really excited for whats ahead for both of us. The new programs I am creating, the community I am building with you and for you. Its my mission to lead you to deep experiences of success in your business and life. I believe in you and all that you are creating and I want you to know how much respect I have for you and your journey and how I value having you in my life. You are why I keep doing what I do!

Keep being you

Paula xx

 

 

Are you Bringing yourself to the table?

This time last week I spoke at a women’s business networking event about bringing more of yourself to the table in your business. I was surprised how much meaning my message held not just for the audience but for myself.

In the week that has passed I have reflected on where I too am holding myself back from my business and have found myself engaging more deeply with my fears and stepping forward into parts of my business that I had been holding back from. It has been easy and natural and I have enjoyed it more that I imagined I would. My fears have taken a back seat to what I really want to achieve and I have been riding the high of taking on new challenges and nailing them!

But it wasnt always this easy, some days even thinking about doing some of these things caused me pain and anxiety.

Today I want to share with you some of the steps I have taken to change this and how to recognise if you too are holding parts of yourself back from fully engaging with your business.

So what does it mean to bring more of yourself to the table in your business? and why is it something that we need to consider?

As a business owner you have stepped into a world that asks many different things of you. You are the face of your business, you are the accounts person, the debt recovery specialist, the advertising guru, the marketing expert. You are responsible for strategic planning, cashflow forecasts, recruitment and the training and running of your team. Sounds like fun doesn’t it? In addition to this you may also be a Mum, wife, partner, lover, sister, daughter, friend etc etc. Are you starting to get the picture?

All of the roles we perform in business and in life ask different things of us and often things we havent had to do before or that we know arent our areas of strength, sometime it can even be hard to do the thinsg we know we are good at because we are afraid to really put ourselves “out there”. Our ability to step up and engage is directly affected by our fears and our self belief

I suspect like me you likely got into business because there is something you are passionate about, something that you love doing and your business allows this. However there will be other things that scare the living daylights out of you. It’s the scary places that we hold ourselves back from because we don’t feel our power and our passion in those parts of the job.  We are afriad because we are holding on to old conditioning and beliefs that arent serving us.

For example when you pitch to a big client for a new contract you may come face to face with your fear of not being good enough and the part of you that doesn’t believe she can really pull it off.

When you have to sit down and get real about the numbers in the business or prepare your paper work for your accountant you may meet the part of you who is afraid she isn’t smart enough, who doesn’t believe she can do it and who carries the belief that she just isnt good at maths.

When things in your business start to really take off up comes your fear of success, or your belief that you don’t deserve it or that the higher you go the harder it will be when you fail.

When its your time to shine in your business you will feel your fear of rejection, your fear of being seen and your belief that you are not worthy.

This all translates into lost opportunities because you said no when you should have said yes. It puts the contract in your competitors hands because you really couldn’t bring yourself to the table. And it will see you procrastinate and procrastinate on jobs you know you need to get done because you just cant seem to make a start. It will have you watching others enjoying the success that you crave.

The good news is that you can change the effect your fears and negative beliefs have on your business and on your life. You can move forward and have what you want quickly and easily if you choose to and the rewards will be great. You will not only enjoy more success and growth in your business but you will feel more deeply satisfied, connected and engaged in what you are doing. You will have more joy, fun and freedom in what you do.

So how do you kick your fear to the kerb and up your self-belief? I’d love to tell you its easy but the truth is it will challenge you to do this. The good news is that over time it does get easier. A lot easier.

I woud encourage you, if it feels too hard to seek some support from a coach. Two heads are better than one and a good coach will be able to help you identify  what the issue is faster and hold your hand as you work through it.

In the meantime here’s 3 strategies to get you started.

(1) IDENTIFY: make a note of what you are avoiding and putting off doing in your business. What tasks and activities fill you with dread? When we know where we are holding back it becomes easier to take action

(2) FEEL: engage with the feeling you have when you think about doing these things. Let the feeling tell you its story. Where does it sit in your body? How big is it, what colour is it, if it had a name what would you call it. What other tasks and activities make you feel this way. When was the first time you remember having this feeling? When we become familiar with our feelings we can identify when they are impacting on what we are doing and we are in a stronger place to work through them.

(3) AFFIRM and attempt: now that you are really familiar with the feeling, acknowledge it when it comes up for you. Using an affirmation may help such as “even though I am feeling not good enough it is safe for me to start writing this pitch” Even though I am afraid of not getting it right it is safe for me to start my paperwork” Then make a start. it can help to have a timer and set it for 5 mins even though you are feeling your fear you are going to work on it for just 5 mins. Once you make a start you will find that you are able to work on it for longer than you think!

By engaging with what holds us back we are empowered to move forward. By engaging with our fears we begin the process of healing the parts of ourselves that are wounded, afraid and holding on to beliefs that no longer serve us. You can let your fears and lack of self belief dictate the level of success you experience in your business or you can at any moment take back your power and choose a different way. Its really up to YOU

So take a moment to reflect on your business…..where are you holding yourself back? where are you not bringing yourself to the table.

And then decide to step up and engage. You can do this. I know you can 🙂

I’d love to support you with this process and to answer any questions you have along the way. Feel free to share or ask questions in the comments below or to send me an email pmcfarlane@clear.net.nz