What does being ‘in flow’ mean, and how to achieve it?

Finally… the post about ‘flow’ that I have promised to a few of you for a number of weeks now…

What does being 'in flow' mean, and how to achieve it - Flows comes when skill meets the challenge   //   www.zestebiz.com

I was trying to work out why this was such a hard post to write… I think it’s because I was trying too hard to make it ‘factual’ and based on research I’d done instead of my own experience and understanding of flow.

I came across a great post this morning, which reminded me to simply write what I am passionate about instead of what I think I should be writing.

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Why I keep a business gratitude journal

Do you keep a gratitude journal? Do you love them or not see the point at all?

I definitely fall into the former category, so today I thought I’d share why I find writing in a business gratitude journal helpful for my business and my own well being.

Why I keep a business gratitude journal // www.zestbiz.com // conscious business success

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5 simple ways to stop feeling overwhelmed

In the past week or so, I’ve had a few of my clients tell me how completely overwhelmed they are feeling.

   Work is manic.

   The business is taking off.

   I’m trying to juggle multiple jobs as well as a family.

   It’s even started affecting my sleep!

Coincidentally, I’ve been reminded recently of a number of methods I use to help reduce feelings of anxiety and overwhelm when everything feels like it’s getting on top of me.

 

Top 5 tips to stop feeling so overwhelmed:

In no particular order, here are my top five suggestions to immediately reduce feelings of anxiety, worry and stress.

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14 Secrets to Achieve Conscious Business Success in 2014

In case you hadn’t noticed, January has left us for dust!

Have you set your priorities for 2014 yet?

I’ve put together a list of 14 priorities for conscious business success identified by respected business experts, bloggers, and media characters.

Let’s not get overwhelmed and try to do everything though. I’d suggest you pick three from the list below and focus on nailing them!

14 Secrets to Achieve Conscious Business Success - Zest e-Biz : Conscious Business Success

1. Grow your business

Just today I came across a fantastic info-graphic in an article from brainpickings.org, detailing the difference between a ‘growth’ mentality and a ‘fixed’ mentality.

My take on the article is that in order to achieve conscious business success it is crucial that you focus on a growth mentality by:

  • embracing challenges;
  • persisting after set-backs;
  • becoming an expert in your field through continual disciplined effort;
  • improving based on constructive criticism; and
  • learning from others and being inspired by their success.

 

2. Create more time to do what you are passionate about

This may seem counterintuitive, but stay with me. Spending more time on what you are passionate about…assuming that what you are passionate about, you are also very good at AND it results in making money…is more like to benefit your business than you being a Jack-of-all-trades.

I first came across this concept when I read Jim Collin’s book ‘Good to Great’. Recently I’ve been thinking about it more as I’ve finally embraced the concept of outsourcing. Kelly Exeter, from A Life Less Frantic, put it nicely when she said,

   Spend time doing what you are really good at [and passionate about, assuming it makes you money] so you can pay people for what THEY’RE good at.

 

3. Develop a clear direction and purpose

Without a clear purpose or vision it is easy to let the weeks and months slip by without noticing.

   Having a vision speeds up the journey to success, but more than that, it gives us a reason for doing what we do.

Don’t be caught reflecting on 2014 wondering why you didn’t achieve your business goals. Have a clearly defined vision that you can use as your guiding star. Then set realistic goals that are aligned with your purpose and therefore more likely to be achievable.

 

4. Set clear objectives

It is easy to get distracted without clear objectives in business. Someone tells you about the latest craze with social media marketing and you drop what you are doing and follow them like you would someone dangling a winning lotto ticket.

Having 3-4 clear strategic objectives that are aligned with your vision in business are gold when it comes to filtering out all the noise. Ensuring that your goals, plans and daily activities are all aligned to at least one of your strategic objectives will help you stay focused in business.

 

5. Work backwards to set financial goals

Setting the intention to manifest $100k in sales is all very well, but if you don’t have the capacity to deliver and that goal doesn’t carry any meaning for you, the intention is worthless.

Set your financial goals and then work backwards to ensure you have the time and resources to deliver on those goals. Where you don’t have capacity, something will need to change: either your goals, or the way you work.

Most importantly though, focus on why those goals are important to you or your business. WIll they help you reinvest to create bigger and better products or services? Will you use the money to finance specific lifestyle choices? Or do you want to donate some of your earnings to a worthy cause.

 

6. Use proven structures to put plans into action – don’t reinvent the wheel

As tempting as it is to be original in an attempt to stand out from the crowd, when it comes to business someone has almost always done it before. And done it well. Particularly when it comes to business planning.

Save your precious time and effort by using templates and building on them! The sooner you have your business plans and systems in place, the sooner you can get back to doing what it is that you are really good at, leaving your unique mark on the world that way.

 

7. Get support – even when you don’t think you need it

It’s so easy to get caught up in your business that you forget to work ON your business. Having independent support will help you take an objective perspective on your business.

According to the Inside Small Business magazine, studies have shown that businesses who have support (either from a coach, mentor or from government funded institutions like Small Business Centres), are more likely to achieve success faster.

Just like a fitness coach, you get the pep talks you need to improve motivation, they keep you accountable and more often than not they have done it before saving you costly time and mistakes.

Not convinced? Check out my post Yes Coach! 7 Reasons You Should Have a Business Coach.

 

8. Set yourself up for success

There is a great saying: “Don’t ask, don’t get”. Remember to ask for the sale, say yes to opportunities and be ready for growth.

This means having the right systems in place so you are ready to take opportunities that present themselves.

It also means seeking help when you need it. You are never going to be good at all aspects of business. I know I’m terrible at book keeping and techo website stuff, yet for a long time I persisted thinking it was saving me money.

   In reality, yes – I was saving money, BUT more importantly I was burning time and definitely not MAKING more money.

Focus on growing the parts of the business you are best at. Learn to delegate or outsource the rest.

 

9. Learn from your mistakes

Some of the most successful names in business like Jobs or Branson have not been immune to failure. Embrace (calculated) risks and learn from your mistakes.

   Sometime when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.

– Steve Jobs

Obviously learning from others’ mistakes is far more cost effective. But don’t stall your growth for fear of trying something new.

 

10. Celebrate your wins

Probably the most understated priority in all businesses:

   Make time to celebrate your wins.

Don’t forget to pause for applause. And do it often. I learned this concept from Erin, Productivity Queen over at Activate28. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of chasing goals, but don’t let that get in the way of celebrating your results, no matter how big or small.

When we stop to appreciate what we have achieved, we become more present in the now. Gratitude for what we have almost always leads to more of the same. Focus on an abundance rather than a lack of achievement.

 

11. Build your network

The saying ‘many hands make light work’ is not infamous for no reason. Don’t try to go it alone.

Simon Sinek talks about how being part of a supportive community is as important as having strong self-belief in his interview on The Good Life Project. His argument is based on human behaviour dating back to the cave-man era. Scratch other peoples’ backs and more often than not, they’ll return the favour.

You never know where the next sale may come from.

 

12. Engage your tribe

It’s all very well having ‘likes’ on a facebook page or names on a database, but if you don’t actively build a rapport with those people you’re missing the point. People like to be part of something, a higher cause.

Natalie Sisson talks about great ways to engage your tribe by building trust and creating value. It can be as simple as doing what you say you will do, personally messaging people on facebook or email, listening to what your clients really want and delivering that.

Engage your following and you’ll have the a willing audience who will listen with all ears to your next offer.

 

13. Increase productivity

“I just haven’t had time.” Sound familiar? Productivity, time management and motivation are terms bandied around on social media and in conversations all the time. “If only there were more hours in the day.”

Well there are 24hrs in a day (unless you want to get all metaphysical) and that is it.

   It is how you use those 24hours/day that matters.

Problogger made an excellent point at the 2012 ProBlogger Training Event in Melbourne, that you can achieve anything with small, disciplined steps that are aligned with your priorities. Even 10mins every day (set the timer on your phone, you’ll be amazed at your productivity) can result in a written book, a new product idea or a completed sales forecast.

 

14. Own your choices

Finally, make business decisions confidently. I read a great article in the local paper recently written by Kelly Davy, an amazing facilitator at the Small Business Centre here in Karratha. She very accurately states that we are all responsible for the choices we make.

She encourages small businesses to “get educated, make your decision, and most importantly believe in your decision and own it”. Not too dissimilar to this great quote I stumbled upon recently:

   Happiness is essentially a state of going somewhere, wholeheartedly, one-directionally, without regret or reservation.

– William H. Sheldon

 

So there you have it. 14 top priorities for conscious business success. Which ones resonated most for you? Do you think I missed something?

I’d love to know your TOP 3 priorities for business in 2014. Leave a comment below.

 

A Celebration of My Favourite Quote!

Steve Jobs Quote 2005 - Zest e-Biz Celebration of My Favourite Quote

As I am only a couple of weeks away from commencing maternity leave ready for the birth of my first child, now seems like an appropriate time for a bit of reflection…

Two Babies Conceived

September 2011 marked the official launch of Zest eBiz. Roughly the same time (although unknown to me at the time) my baby was conceived.

Over the months that have passed I’ve watched both of my babies grow in awe; from initial thoughts about starting a business, or starting a family, to making the commitment to go for it and then every stage of development since then.

Making the decision to start a family was almost easier for me than the decision to start a business. In both cases I had the full support of my partner, but I guess I felt like we were more of a team when it came to starting a family.

Starting a business on the other hand came with a lot more fear and anxiety for me. What should my business look like? How will I get started? Could I manage it out of business hours as well as working full-time? What would people think about me going into business, or my business itself?

It took one defining moment last year to help me realise that I did really want my own business…

The Decision to Jump

Steve Jobs had passed away and the internet was flooded with his inspirational words of wisdom. The quote at the top of this post really spoke to me. So much so, that I turn to it every time I need strength, or that little bit of encouragement.

Soon after reading this quote I was working through a difficult decision with my Life Coach. Being the amazing professional that she is, she always listens to me and in traditional coaching style asks the right questions to get me to explore the answers I’m searching for myself. However this day she’d obviously had enough and simply said to me:

“I feel like I’m standing on at the top of a cliff with you and you keep asking me, ‘should I jump?’”

This hit home for me. I love all things related to adrenalin sports (like bungy jumping backwards in the photo above), so that metaphor was like turning a light on inside my head.

That week I had one of my proudest moments at work. I defended the decision I’d made, to one of the senior managers on site, not to commence longer hours that the majority of other engineers were about to commence due to the nature of the project we worked on. His question as to whether I was worried about how this would be perceived by others in the company would have once affected me and caused me to question my judgement. However this day it was like adding fuel to the fire! I confidently replied along the lines of “no, I’ve worried about what other people think for too long”. I justified my reasons for not wanting to change my working arrangement with assurance knowing that I believed, finally, 100% in something I wanted to do and I was not going to be swayed this time.

Grateful for Healthy Growth

From that day forward Zest eBiz has grown into what it is today. Not a huge company, but rather the fruit of following my passion. I’ve been amazed at the wins (small and big) I’ve had along the way and the interesting and inspirational people I’ve met. But most importantly, I’m amazed at the feeling I get every time I coach a client. It’s second to none. I have to pinch myself to remind me that I’m getting paid to do what I love!

I hope this has inspired you to find the courage to follow your heart and intuition. Take 10 mins to think about that one hurdle standing between you and what you desire…

Now go and confront it head on knowing that your heart and intuition “somehow already know what you truly want to become”!