Category Archives: writing

The gifts of 10 days Blogging

Today is the last day of the 10 day blogging challenge I have been participating in. As I reflect on the last 10 days its clear that this challenge gave me more than I had expected. It has increased the traffic through my blog, it has increased the number of people following my blog, it has increased traffic to my website and also engagement on my business Facebook page. All great benefits, however the greatest benefits are more personal.

Since I began this blog 3 years ago I have had a fairly consistent routine to my writing. It was a ritual for me. Initially I would write monthly and then it became weekly. For the last 10 days I have been here writing each day.

To participate in this challenge I have had to change my approach to writing in a number of ways.

I had to let go of feeling that I needed inspiration to strike before I could write, learning that sometimes inspiration occurs during the process.

I have had to get comfortable with posting on a topic I didn’t really want to write about and also with posting when I wasn’t sure if it was worth reading or that it was even any good. Learning to let go of the need for my writing to be perfect and that I am my harshest critic when it comes to what I write. Letting my voice be heard regardless of whether I judged it to be “good ” or not has allowed me to relax my writing style and also the pressure I feel “get it right”

I have let go of the need for the right environment and circumstances to be present before I could begin writing. It has challenged me to write in different environments and regardless of what else is occurring in my life.

It has asked me to re- examine my beliefs around what I was doing in my business and to really connect with what it is I want to create. I loved Day 2 and 3, connecting with my why and my perfect day and allowing myself to share that with the world.

It has asked me to do many of the things I ask my clients to do but forget to do for myself

It has helped me to share my story and express who I am.

This experience has taken me outside my writing comfort zone and that can only ever be good for my writing and those who read it!

I love that writing gives me a way of connecting with people and also to express what goes through my head on a daily basis.

I think a lot and I feel a lot and I have a strong desire to help people. Sharing my thoughts on this blog has helps me to feel that somehow somewhere I am reaching out and touching someone. That maybe my experience or perspective can be of benefit.

This challenge has allowed me to do that in a much freer more unstructured way and I know that that will lead me to write more, connect more, help more and feel more fulfilled in what I am doing.

And last but not least it gave me a chance to really consider why Freedom is my word for the year, what that really means to me and how I can feel it in my life each and every day.

I hope you have enjoyed the ride for the last 10 days. Gold stars if you have read them all! Rest assured this will not be the last you hear from me, in fact far from it.

If you would like support to connect with what you really want to create, to step outside your comfort zone and to feel more expressed in your work then I’d love to chat. 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 10

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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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Art is my gateway….

This week I had the pleasure of attending a 2.5 hour mixed media workshop. It was the first time in about 9 years I have allowed myself the time to make art. In the last few weeks as my new life is unfolding I have made a few new discoveries and the mixed media workshop gifted me with another “art is my gateway”

My strongest instinct in my quest for what’s next has been to allow my what next to grow and emerge from within me at its own pace and in its own way. In the past I have built myself a couple of successful businesses. I built them from a place of determination, action, driving forward and pushing through barriers. I built them from my masculine energy and reflecting on this has shown me that I learnt an awful lot in the process.

I learnt that I can create anything if I set my mind to it. I can, through my own determination and striving, make it happen. However I have also learnt that what I build from this place isn’t always what I want. It doesn’t make me happy. It makes me successful and exhausted. It takes a lot of energy to build it up and even more to keep it in the air. In a lot of ways this is why it has taken me 10 years in the corporate world to feel that I am once again ready to be self employed.

In the time between I have come to know, trust and understand myself in a deeper way. It has allowed space for me to connect with my feminine energy, my inner nurturer, the part of me that is soft, gentle, fragile. The place within me where love, beauty and grace reside. This to me is key to creating my what next.

My deepest desire for my what next is to allow both my inner feminine and masculine energy equal parts in its creation. I want to create for myself a work with purpose, that is sustainable, that feeds me both financially and spiritually. To do this my whole self needs to come to the party.

I know that I have to be patient and nurture the bud that is growing inside me. It requires me to trust that I will know the time to take action and drive forward when it arrives. This is a new experience for me but it feels good, really good, inviting.

In allowing this newly developing part of me to take centre stage this week I have been exploring the things that feel good and that nurture my spirit. Walking, yoga, meditation, reading, writing, knitting (that one was a surprise) listening to music and most importantly making art.

Quite unexpectedly I have discovered that for me art is a gateway. It connects me deeply to my inner feminine. It feels open and expansive and inspiration is right there in that moment. It is a similar feeling to the one I get when I write but softer.

When I step out of my masculine energy of doing and allow myself the freedom the create through writing or art I move into a place of allowing a more full expression of myself. I am out of my head and in my heart. My creativity is unleashed and I am able to bring forward new ideas and inspiration.

My creativity allows me to open and I know that being in this space is where I will find my what next emerging from.

Art is my gateway……

Are you a doer/ driver like me? How often to you allow your creativity to be in charge? I invite you  to give it a try…..make art, write, dance, make music, connect with your feminine aspects and share with me what you discover below…..

Paula x

The scary things about Freedom…

The one thing I craved most when working full time in a busy management role was freedom.

Freedom to choose what time I wake up in the morning, freedom to decide what to do with my day , who and what to spend my time on. Freedom to run away to a tropical location at a moments notice. Freedom to work when I want to -to be more creative and develop parts of myself long neglected. Freedom to be utterly, unapologetically and completely myself without having to fit into systems, processes and protocols designed by someone else.

I am 5 weeks into my freedom.

It is not what I expected, it does not match what my dreams told me it would be. The truth is freedom is actually very, very scary. I feel pressure to make something of this precious freedom time, to not waste it lest it be gone in an instant.

I have also come face to face with the parts of myself that crave structure and rules and targets and plans. I am like a small child lost in a shopping mall. I don’t know where my edges are. I am afraid of taking steps in the wrong direction. Freedom has me frozen like a deer in headlights.

Freedom is exposing. I can no longer hide behind my work “persona” I have no “what I do” to share I social situations. I am myself, nothing more and that feels naked and vulnerable.

However, freedom is giving me time and space to put into practice all that I have learnt and healed and blogged about over the last few years. I am making friends with my fear, sitting with it and getting curious about what it has to offer. I am coming to a new understanding of the part of me that likes to push forward and make things happen.

Pushing, doing, ticking off the list, making it happen is a great way to avoid everything I am afraid of. I now understand why letting this part of me be in charge has lead me down dead ends in my life, businesses and career paths that haven’t made me happy despite there success.

I am learning to create my own structure. Structure when self imposed isn’t easy to implement but it becomes even more necessary. I have been afraid to put structure in place, afraid I would get it wrong and dissolve the freedom. Realizing I have the freedom to change anything and everything that doesn’t work has allowed me to gently begin designing my new life…experimenting, playing, feeling what I might like.

I know that what I am creating is the truest reflection of myself, my truth, my purpose, my soul honoring. I know this because it feels so different -softer, gentler, fragile, exposing, terrifying yet I can’t turn back now that I have said yes to freedom. I don’t even want too, as uncomfortable as it feels. I feel it’s growing energy.

Freedom is allowing me to allow myself to be me. To slowly and gently birth a new way of being, to find my own edges, set my own limits. To be more authentic, to honor myself and those around me in new ways.

I am feeling my way into this.

Although I am scared and tentative, I feel a huge sense of gratitude for this freedom and the circumstances that allowed me to create it.

Alongside this a bubbling excitement for what I will discover on the other side of my fear, for what it is to be free.

 

Acknowledging the Ebb and Flow….

Have you ever noticed how your life has an ebb and flow? Sometimes things flow easily and you feel that everything is in alignment. All your ducks are in a row, you’re on top of it all and making things happen. Then for some reason, out of the blue, it will all shift and change and you are in a much boggier place. You feel weighed down by your responsibilities and overwhelmed by all that you need to get done. Sometimes this shift will happen quite independently of any day to day changes in your life. You can one day feel good about exactly the same things that will tomorrow feel too hard to deal with. Sometimes you just begin to feel icky inside without any apparent reason.

I have been observing this pattern within myself recently and asking the question what really changes, what really causes this shift? How can we even out the ups and downs and come to a place of greater balance.

Bringing my awareness to this has made a difference, I have become very conscious of the internal shift when it occurs. Obviously there are external demands on our lives that can affect this massively but I have also noticed that the time and attention I give to myself and my own needs has an impact as well. How we respond in times when we feel heavy and less inspired holds the key

I have a daily routine. I meditate each morning for around 10 to 15mins. I write in my journal at night before I go to sleep. These two things change the way my day goes, they change how stressed I feel and they change the way I respond to the world.

I didn’t always do these things. Although the journaling has been with me on and off for many years. What I notice is that when life starts to move away from an easy flow it will generally coincide with letting something in my routine go. These small things I do each day are acts of self-care or self- love that help me to respond to what it is I am feeling in each and every moment and this in turn guides me to actions that are in alignment with who I am and where I want to go.

If I let my routine slide I will find myself sitting in the tension of being out of sync, out of flow and feeling but not quite getting to what it is that needs my care inside. In the past I have been so uncomfortable with the internal feeling of tension that I have tried to block it with food, or TV or a couple of glasses of wine. I will procrastinate and avoid and generally behave in a way that isn’t productive. I do these things to distract myself from the icky feeling of tension but they do not offer a solution, the tension remains and becomes louder.

Recently I have changed my approach. I now recognise the tension as a signal that I need more of myself that some part of me requires my attention and the best way to shift to a lighter frequency is to address that. I still resist taking action for a while and I need to approach myself gently with a hot bath or some gentle music. This will generally assist me to a deeper level of supporting myself to find what it is this tension is trying to tell me. I can move to journaling or meditation or sometimes, I just suddenly become aware of what it is I need to do.

We have some much more power to change our experience that we can ever imagine. Feeling a downward spiral in your energy is, in my experience a gift. There is gold there waiting to be revealed. It may be a need that is not being met or that some change is necessary, that you need to reach out for support or that you have drifted to far from what it is your heart truly desires.

Internal turmoil is an invitation to respond to life differently, to make another choice, a choice to support yourself especially the most vulnerable parts of you. The parts that carry your hopes and dreams and also your wounds. Each of these moments is a chance to heal inside to bring your dreams to life and to live deeper.

So I invite you to test your own waters. The next time you find you have shifted into a boggy energy or that you are out of the flow and feeling down or grumpy with life. Pause for a moment and ask yourself, what is it that I need? What is it within me that needs my attention? Try out a few small acts of self-care, a walk, a hot bath, or early night. Start the process of internal dialogue, love yourself enough to know you deserve your own time and attention and let me know in the comments below what changes for you…..what is revealed that you didn’t expect…. How quickly you are able to shift back to joy

Paula xx

At the Dawn of a New Day…….

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours” Henry David Thoreau

Maui, Hawaii.

This morning I had the great privilege to witness the dawn of the new day from the summit of Haleakala. Getting there involved a 150am wake up call and a 230am departure from my hotel in the company of a small group of like-minded women whose friendship, laughter and generosity of spirit has warmed my heart these last few days.

It was no accident that this trip to Haleakala (10023ft) came at the end of our 3 day writers workshop in Maui. It has been an intense and inspiring 3 days and we were all invested in marking the end of our “writing from the  soul” experience in a way that acknowledged it’s significance for each of us.

Haleakala is considered a place of spiritual significance, an earth chakra, and energy vortex. Local legend tells that it was from this same summit that Maui lassoed the sun with his sisters hair to slow its journey across that sky each day so that his Mother could dry her tapa cloth. To this day the summit of Haleakala experiences 15 minutes more sunlight that its surrounding coastline.

This mornings sunrise also felt significant to me and my companions. As the sun cracked the sky flooding the summit with light I felt my commitment to take what I have learnt over the last 3 days and to put it into action.  To write and to write to be read. The invitation to us all to prepare a book outline to be submitted to Hay house by December 14 this year.

There is something very special about witnessing the first moments of a new day. Yesterday falls into the past and we have a choice about what we will bring forward into today and what we will leave behind.  The light brings a promise of all that is possible and an invitation to create anew. Breathing in those first moments of sunlight this morning filled me up with hope and joy and excitement as I step confidently into my new day.

Tomorrow there will be a new sunrise and a new choice of what to leave behind and what to bring forward and to birth in the new day.

What will you choose to confidently step in to?