Possibility Thinking

Have you tried it?

Think about something you would love that just seems too challenging and too far out of reach….. Something you’d love but can’t see how you can make it happen.

Then get a piece of paper and pen and play with it. Think about ways you ‘could’ do it, what resources you have, what or who you could call on, or call in…

If you’re a writing person write it out and let the ideas flow, if you think in pictures then draw. It doesn’t matter how, just keep playing.

I like to crunch numbers (really!), so if it’s something where money is involved I crunch numbers, what do I need? how does that break down? how could I do it?

So I do this and I write, as I like to write too, and I find it brings out ideas once you get in the flow.

And it really does boost your attitude and move you from “I want it but I really can’t see any way…” to “I really can do this”

Dreams become do-able in short, and once you have that belief, well then you just need to go out and take action! 🙂

Let me know how you get on, and what you start creating.

Its All In The Choices You Make

You know the answers, really you doI wanted to write about choices today. Mainly because I have been reflecting on this following a couple of recent conversations.

I’m sure you have heard & read about life being a result of the choices you make? And whilst that may sometimes seem harsh, or difficult to fathom, in realty if you look at smaller things you can see how your choices impact you

For example, today I am feeling tired. Yet it is entirely self-inflicted. I had a late night and got up early! I didn’t get enough sleep, end of story. End result is tired, need more sleep. I could have gone to bed earlier or got up later, I had a choice.

Take it back one step, well actually easier said than done. Where I am its hot in summer and I have a dog, so I need to be up and out and walked by about 9am. OK I don’t have to, but it’s more comfortable for both of us if it happens.

Plus last night I was hosting an event, I could have left much earlier and gone home. Fact is, I was the host, it’s my group, I don’t like to leave until it’s down to the last few people, and I was having a lot of fun! Was I worried about getting up in the morning? At the time, of course not.

Where am I going with this?

Well, here’s the thing. I could have slept in, I didn’t because of the dog, I chose to have dog, I chose to live here , I chose to walk when it’s comfortable, I chose to get up even though I felt tired..

I chose to run a social group, I chose to have the event, and I chose to stay til the end. I didn’t have to do any of those things.
Do you see? Lots of choices but my feeling tired today is nothing to do with anyone else, the Universe, the weather or whatever.

These things are cumulative and build up over time, lifestyle is affected by the choices you make. Whilst you may not see the path or the many choices you made over time, in the end you did choose the things that led you to where you are, whatever that may be.

And you can now choose how you deal with it, how you feel about it, and what you do about it

If you do nothing you’re still choosing, even though you may choosing to let others decide by not actively deciding something yourself.
I guess there are two things to take away from this.

One, to be aware of your choices as far as you can, even though you may not be able to see the future cumulative effect

And two, to take responsibility, by acknowledging that yes you did make choices that led you here, even if you didn’t realise at the time

What do you think?

Inspiration in action

Let your inspiration flow and guide youAs I sit down to write this blog it’s worth noting that today I had already planned to be working ON my business, no clients just writing and developing new programs.

And first thing this morning, when I was out walking the dogs I started getting ideas and inspiration. Words, ideas for programs, snippets to make up parts of the program and areas to focus on. I was actually dictating on my phone when I was out. What a great way to kick off the day!

Here’s where life happens though. Do you ever find yourself in the same situation, absolutely buzzing with thoughts and ideas, feeling you need to capture them before you lose them?
I bet you do.

Make it happen
Its more than just making a note of them though, its creating space to implement them. And when you have planned a creative day honouring that decision for you and your business. That gives us momentum, time working on the business is just as important as client facing time. Otherwise what happens when your current projects run their course, when existing clients are at the end of their agreed work with you? You end up starting again almost.

Stuff gets in the way..
This is where distraction is the big risk, because it oh so easy to just do those little jobs that need doing. “I’ll just do x,y,z then I’m free for the rest of the day to follow up my ideas”

NO!

This is what happens so often in our lives, and I know I fall for it, that was my challenge this morning, I had a list of jobs that need attention, “things to do” . Some admin, some money coming in to the bank to check, some bills to pay. It would be very easy to do them first, but I was very aware that had I done so it would have distracted me big time, the chances are in my case I wouldn’t have stopped doing odd jobs before lunchtime.

And by getting distracted like this it would have taken all the excitement & energy away, I wouldn’t have had the same buzz if I put the ideas aside to pick up this afternoon. In fact I may not have gone near them today at all, and then they would be relegated to the future “to do” list.

You have time
The bottom line is there is time later on, enough time to do the odd jobs, later on in the day. As long as I get to it during working hours I can check the bank and do payments this afternoon, the world won’t end if I do my admin tomorrow.

This is about taking inspired action, following your heart and staying in flow. And staying with your plan.

Act on it
So here is my message and call to action for you today:

Act whilst you have the inspiration and energy, act before it fizzles out.

As Nike says Just Do It!

If you are struggling with prioritising and would like to schedule a Strategy Session just send an email to ss @ ae8.biz to arrange a complimentary chat.

New Year, New Moon …… New You?

New Moon, New Year, New You - by Julia McdaidWelcome to 2014 and a very Happy New Year to you. And what a year it can potentially be!

You may be aware that yesterday was not only New Years Day it was also a New Moon, and energetically a very powerful start to the year. If you have read any of the multitude of articles on this you probably already know that 2014 holds a lot of promise for those prepared to show up.

When I sat down on 30 December to make some notes about how I wanted my coming year to be, prior to actually creating intentions for 2014, I was very much looking at creating “more”. With my move last year I had plenty going on so I did coast a bit in my business and wasn’t working full out all year. Which was right for me last year with everything else that was happening, moving country isn’t the smallest of things after all….

Now my thoughts move to more of me in 2014, showing up through more writing and sharing my work, more learning for me, and wanting to meet and coach more amazing women entrepreneurs. Just for starters, my list is longer!

So a couple of days later, on New Year’s Day, I read a number of articles about the New Moon and the year in store. And I was very pleased to read that not only were my own thoughts very much in alignment with stepping up more, the whole feeling of the year is about showing up as your true self, being authentic, coming from a place of awareness and being responsible for yourself. Its about activating what has been lying dormant and aligning with quality and integrity. And letting go of what is not serving you.

Now is the time to plant your seeds for the year ahead. The perfect time for new beginnings, and not just because its the start of the year.

If you are serious about what you want to create and go about it authentically you stand to have a very good year. So I for one am planning to continue following my heart, and choosing to allow more of me out into the world and to live my life as authentically as I can.

How about you? Are you ready to step up and be who you truly are, bring your talents out into the world? I hope so, and I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Top Tips For Running A Successful, Purpose Driven Business

Top Tips from Julia McdaidToday is the day you can hear my interview on the Soulfully Successful Women Telesummit.

One of the things Kelly and I talked about in preparation for the Telesummit were my top tips to build a successful business from your passion and purpose. After thinking about this I came up with these, and I thought you might find them useful.

Firstly is follow your heart. If you are not familiar with the phrase, learn to understand what this means. To me it’s about doing it YOUR way, BEing you, being authentic and in integrity. Following your heart is about doing what is true for you, what you wnt deep down inside when yu stop listening to all those doubts and questions in your head! Its not what is expected or what you know. In fact I can’t emphasise enough, don’t just do what you know – unless it really is your passion and purpose.

The next thing I would say, which really follows on from the first is to connect with your intuition, and use it. It is your intuition which will guide you and tell you what is true for you, this is what allows you to follow your heart.

Another thing that many of us as women need to learn, because we are not very good at it, is to learn to receive. We women are naturally givers and often find this hard to do. Again this may need more explanation and understanding, I know it would have meant little to me when I started out. Here I’m referring to allowing your feminine side out, to allowing things to come to you, to be graceful and gracious and open in the way you interact. When you start thinking about attracting the right clients and people to you it pays to know how to receive (not dismiss things without thinking!).

I think it is great to remember to keep things balanced too, although this is enough to be a blog in itself and I have written about it before. Part of this is knowing you are number one, put you first. Then also think about masculine & feminine energies in the business, and in you; about having time for the non work aspects of your life, the people and things that are important to you.

And a couple of more practical tips for you:

Get the right support network around you. This will allow you to play to your strengths. so look at advisors, mentors, peers, the people you interact with and look to for help. Plus your business structure, you can set this up so that it works for you and your lifestyle, delegating where appropriate and so on – learn to delegate well. This one is still on my “must do better” list I will be honest, I find it hard sometimes.

And when it comes to using people outside of the business to help you, especially if you are paying them, don’t use advisors who only have corporate experience, because they won’t get you and they won’t understand the peculiarities of small business, whatever they might say. This is one I learned the hard way.

And finally, this kind of ties into where I started, do let go of the “shoulds” and “ought to’s“. If you are running a purpose driven business it’s about your passion, your purpose, you and your clients, it’s not about what somebody else who doesn’t know those things says you should do. Yes there are some things you have to comply with legally, every business does, outside that its your business, your way, always.

I hope you find some of these tips useful and if you have any good ones, please do share them 🙂

What Are You Waiting For?

Waiting .. it never happens
I find it fascinating how much of our lives we can spend waiting. Waiting for things to happen, waiting for things to arrive, waiting for someone else to show up or do something.

I think it’s almost part of our culture “I’ll do it when…” and often what happens is you just don’t; do it, because you have put conditions on your result and those conditions might never be fulfilled.

How much time do we lose

How much of our lives do we waste because we don’t embrace who we really are and what we would really love to do? Do you delay going to that place in the world you have always wanted to go because you want to wait until your friends can join you, or because its romantic and you want to go when your ideal partner shows up?

Do you stay in a job you don’t enjoy because you are waiting for something better to come along? Or maybe you have your own business but you don’t grow because you are waiting for the right time, person or opportunity.

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” – Napoleon Hill

Waiting begets waiting

Your subconscious mind isn’t that clever, it takes things at face value without interpreting them. So if it is hearing that you are waiting, it will give you more waiting. So that thing you are waiting for will just never happen.

Its only when you decide you won’t wait any more and start taking action that things start to change. I mean, what is stopping you? really. If things don’t work out quite how you had hoped, the world isn’t going to end. Honestly, it won’t.

Waiting is putting the power of your life outside of you. It’s being dependent on things you can’t control.
As soon as you choose to embrace who you are and what you would really love to do, whether in your business or life generally, things will happen. The very act of making a decision sets things in motion, both physically and energetically.

Things will change

And I guarantee you will feel better. Have you not been in a situation where things have been getting you down and you decide enough is enough, and so you do something, you take action, and you feel as if a weight has been taken off your shoulders? I’m sure you have, we’ve all experienced it.

So take a look at the things you want to do, the things you are going to do “when…” and see which of them are a part of who you really are. And those that are really you, commit to them and make a choice to go for it, to move things forward (even just a tiny bit) and watch things change.

You can start small, take baby steps. But take steps, so whatever you can now, after all…. What are you waiting for? 😉

Managing Your Business At a Glance

In order to properly manage your business and plan where you are going it is helpful to be closely in touch with what is going on. This includes looking at the numbers. Up to date accounts at least tell you where you are now.

planning is key, know the fundamentalsBut is that enough? I would suggest that in fact that is just the starting point. The thing is, you can have monthly accounts, and if you have a half decent accountant you will have some indication as to whether things are better or worse than last year and budget.

That is only half the story, if your profits are down, is that enough information? I would say not. You then need to ask why? Why are they down , what is the explanation? What is the detail?

For example, sales may actually be up, but some unexpected cost came in that wiped out the benefit and caused profit to be lower. So then you need to know what caused the extra cost, is it a one off, could it have been prevented and so on.

Do you start to see how digging a little deeper gives a much better understanding.

It’s worth asking your accountant to produce reports with notes that cover this sort of thing, so that when you review the figures all the information is there. Yes they may need to come to you first to ask for explanations, or the appropriate department in you company.

For example

Actual Budget Diff
Turnover £5,400 £4,500 £900 orders planned in September brought forward to July
Costs:
Training £300 £150 £150 Jane went on extra course to help improve our Social Media

           
     
It’s always good to use colour too, red for worse than expected and green for better than expected. Again it allows you to see at a glance, and just focus on the things that are off track.

Your most important financial information can easily be reported on ONE sheet of paper.

Taking this further there are also key factors that will drive your business underlying the sales and costs. It is worth measuring these too.

It may take a little bit of work to set up but the advantages of being able to see where your business is compared to the plan is very valuable. To do this we can use a Key Results Sheet.

This incorporates the key financial numbers for your business like profit, cash and value (if appropriate)

It then looks at some underlying factors, so for sales you might measure the number of new referrals, and the average spend per customer as examples. For costs maybe the cost per unit if you sell items in units, debtor days etc.
Also look at non financial drivers, like customer satisfaction and team happiness and how much investment there is in creating new products.

I believe if you combine this with a one page (max) financial summary you have a quick and easy view of all the data you need to manage your business month to month.

Maybe if it’s just you, you will think its too much, and too much work. If you are building a business, start as you means to go on, get the systems in now. You can always start with a simpler version and build it as you grow.

How does this relate to me working with you to be authentic in your business? Well my packages include a good look at your business foundation and fundamentals, giving you a grip of the reality as it is now, plus an overview of what you need to implement to build the business your heart would really love to create. Combining practical business and intuition for a more holistic approach is my unique skill.
Book your free Authentic Business Strategy session to get some pointers, and to see whether its for you

Creating a Strategy for Success

Sound business planning and strategy is crucial to your success – lets look at some of the issues you should be thinking about in order to take your business forward.

Strategy fr Success, creating yours, Julia McdaidStrategy is high level, and typically might include your vision and mission statement, objectives, goals and values, and you will also want to create action plans to implement them.

It is important to take some time out to think about your business. The end of the first year is a good time to take stock, or annually if you have been going for longer. If you can maybe take a day (or two) away to focus on the business without distractions. Perhaps you could invite a mentor or advisor , if you have one, to give you some objective thoughts as well.

Before you can make plans for the future there are two things you need to know, where you are starting from ie where are you now, and where you are going – your goals.

Review The Here and Now

It is difficult to develop future strategy without knowing the current situation and how existing strategies have succeeded or otherwise. So the first thing to do is compare your performance to the original plan. Think about what worked , what didn’t, what changed since you made the last plan, and most importantly -what can you learn from the experiences you have had so far?

Decide on Your Vision

You need a dream, a vision, and it must be long term. You need to be able to see beyond the business plan / budget, beyond the next year or so. Have a passion, believe in your vision, otherwise how can you convince others to believe in you?

Think about what you ultimately want from your business. Will you want to sell it, arrange for a family member to take over do you want to leave a legacy – people remember your business for something it does? Write down what your business will look like. Visualise things like your products/services, size of the business, your markets, your people, reasons people want to buy from you, the image of the company – internal and external, how involved do you want to be?
When setting goals you need to be clear and focussed. “ I want to make a lot of money” is not a clear enough goal. Why do you want it? What will it enable you to do? When you start asking these questions you start to get mush closer to your real reasons, and the real goals.

Start with the end in mind, then make plans to get there. A business needs focus and direction just as we do.

Planning Your Path

As the business owner you have to wear many different hats and juggle many balls in the air. You have a never ending “to do” list. Planning enables you to organise your tasks, and delegate what you can. And gives you the steps you need to take to reach your goals. If you do an analysis of strengths and weaknesses, this will help to give a basis to identify strategies needed. Plan to build on strengths, manage weaknesses by pre-empting possible future problems, exploit any opportunities and avoid threats.

Try and prepare for unseen obstacles, eg new competitor or change of product / service, plan how you would respond, what actions would you need to take?

Remember customers are becoming more discerning and are looking for something different and better all the time. You need to be innovative.

Stick to Your Chosen Strategy

As business owners we are often so preoccupied with immediate issues that we lose sight of the bigger picture, our ultimate strategy. Regular reviews of the business are necessary. A strategic plan will give you a roadmap by acting as a framework for decision making, explaining the business to others and assisting in performance monitoring. Decide on your strategy and stick to it. Don’t keep changing, by all means remain flexible but think strategically in all areas of the business. As a smaller business you have an advantage of being able to act quickly, without the bureaucracy of a larger company.

Next Steps….

For help with strategy, vision, and creating a tailored fundamental structure for a sound, successful business call to find out about our packages, and book your complimentary Authentic Business Strategy session to see what will work best for you. Just and be sure to say you’re booking a free session.