How will you better clarify whom you serve and what you do for them in 2016?
At first, I thought this was easy, because I'm very clear now about who I serve and what I intend to do for them - via ClimbingTreesKids and my forthcoming childrens' books - I serve girls and boys who don't fit the stereotype and girls age 12+ to enable them to be proud to be their wonderful badass selves and ignore the culture of looksism that can be so damaging. I serve those people along with anyone who realises it's about time they started making the most of this one precious life but could do with a helping hand to do so and flourish.
My mission in life is to enable flourishing in life, work and childhood.
So far, so clear... but then, I started wondering whether I ought to get more clear about who else I serve. Because, ultimately, I also serve my family - especially my daughter - to help her become the best possible version of herself and, my home, in terms of prioritising keeping it nice, rather than pushing that to the bottom of the list. Furthermore, I know I need to serve myself better - to look after myself and to get more sleep, take more excercise, eat more healthily. And so, it becomes clearer...
My mission in life is to enable flourishing in life, work and childhood; to serve my family, myself, children who don't fit the stereotypes and young girls who need help in seeing past the often shallow demands of society and the media to be proud to be their wonderful badass selves.
Of these 3 options, which one is most important in your work right now:
- Quality of life
- Quality of work
- Quality of compensation
So this has been my absolute favourite question and yet, in many ways the toughest and, I wonder if my answer, in being unable to choose just one, is not acceptable?
Because, fundamentally, each of these serve and link to each other. At first I would opt for a good quality of life as the most important. Because a good quality of life, i.e. a good life where each of the three buckets is filled (connection, contribution and vitality) enables the other two.
It's important to me to connect with others (friends, family, customers, nature) and contribute to the wider world by empowering and guiding and serving people in some way. But, equally, the vitality bucket needs to be full in order to crate good quality work which commands good compensation. i.e. if I am super tired and my energy levels are low, I cannot perform optimally and cannot expect to demand good pay unless I am doing a good job. So the quality of life option is vital and feeds the quality of work and quality of compensation in that sense.
Similarly, good pay feeds the other two. Good pay means that I can enjoy a good quality of life as I'm not anxious about financial insecurity, which can adversely impact that.
Furthermore, good quality work makes it more likely to achieve my goals and dreams. For example, I aim to publish my childrens' books in 2016. The quality of work needs to be high in order to stand out and secure a publishing deal. Fulfilling that dream would also impact my quality of life as I would be on top of the world and filled with joy.
Yet, without taking care of myself, without getting enough sleep, I cannot do good work which would afford me with good levels of compensation.
And so, perhaps it is that good quality of life via filling my vitality bucket which is the most vital. Vitality is the most vital. As it has the biggest effect on the other two. And yet, simultaneously, when I do good quality work and achieve good quality compensation for doing that work, my quality of life is positively impacted... and so the three qualities continue to flow, intertwined.
With that in mind I strive to focus on each in 2016
Quality of life - get more sleep, exercise more, eat more nutritious healthy foods and continue to cherish how lucky I am to work from home as a writer and be able to be mum from 7-9am and 3-8pm each day.
Quality of work - devote time to writing my childrens' books series and write to the best of my ability for all ghostwriting projects that I undertake.
Quality of compensation - reach for the stars. Value myself and ask for the right level of compensation accordingly. Prioritise projects based on how curious I am about them and how much they light me up though.
What can you stop doing in 2016 such that it would allow you to focus on higher payoff activities?
I could stop accepting book writing work that undervalues my skills. But then, sometimes, when I really want to write a book, (because the topic excites me and because the book will help and heal others) that is a high payoff for me, and so I will happily write it, regardless of budget. In that sense a high payoff isn't always about money, but reward in all senses of the word. If a book is rewarding, I will write it.
My problem has been to accept work that doesn't fit within that criteria which doesn't provide a good payoff, either financially or in other rewarding ways. That has only happened during times when I've been the breadwinner and so have needed the money. So that is what I need to stop. Only ghostwrite books that are either financially rewarding or rewarding through their purpose and topic.
I should also stop going to bed so late and stop spending so much time on social media :-)
What recurring daydream for 2016 inspires you to do business as unusual like never before?
My daydream always involves me in Waterstones signing books that have empowered many little girls and young women, interspersed with me sat in my garden, writing books that I am curious and keen and interested in writing - children's books; books on well-being and positivity and badassery and so on.
I am a writer of books already but my dream is that I am a writer of books that empower little girls to be proud and encouraged to be all that they can be.
What advice would your future self a year from now give you today?
Fret not about the future.
Focus on today.
This moment. And this one.
Remember, you'll handle it, whatever happens.
So there is no need to fret about uncertainty.
Jonathan Fields is right "Uncertainty does equal Possibility."
You shall explore those wonderful possibilities.
Your promise to carve out time to "write your books for children and grown-ups which spark your curiosity" pays off.
Trust in the power of your intentions and the universe will continue to collaborate with you.
Oh, and love... please get more sleep.
Go to bed earlier, take a good book and enjoy the sweet dreams that follow.
Love from me x
Question: How would you do business as unusual in 2016 if you knew – no matter what you chose – you would not fail?
Failure. See, I'm with Elizabeth Gilbert when she suggests that the question should be "what would we do if we knew we would fail but still wanted to do it anyway?" Because that's the thing to pursue - the thing that we would do whether we might succeed or not; just because we just must, right? Furthermore, it is through failing that we learn. Mistakes are valuable learning tools so failure generates vital insight, and hindsight.
However, the question is 'how would you do business as UNUNUSAL...' --- so what might I do differently if success was guaranteed? That gets me thinking about which business activities I would devote my time to. I'd be free in a sense that I wouldn't need to take on any work for the sole reason of earning money.
And it also gets me thinking about what success means to me. Is success all about financial success or is it about succeeding in bringing my mission to fruition?
Is it therefore about succeeding at empowering little girls to be proud to be all that they can be; succeeding at enabling flourishing in life, business and childhood; succeeding in equipping people with a toolkit so that they might make the most of their lives; be more appreciative and less frowny...?
Is success about spending the majority of my time doing what I love, engaging in activities that light me up AND make a difference in the world? i.e. good for me and my well-being AND good for others?
If so then here's how I would do business as unusual:
I would spend my time writing books for children. I would also spend my time writing books for grown-ups, but only those which spark my curiosity, that interest me and which provide others with insight that will positively impact their lives and how they live them.
I already do this to a certain extent (and yet I have, at times, taken on book writing projects for the money rather than the curiosity; to keep uncertainty and 'the wolf' from the door. If success was guaranteed I wouldn't need to do that; and I could devote more time to the former).
I would also spend more time delighting people who engage with me and interest me and buy from me.
And... I would carve out time to do the 'in the pipeline' project that I plan to do 'one day'. I would actually make a start on that.
And so... in 2016 I shall:
- Devote a chunk of time every week to work on my children's books.
- Try to take on book writing projects that fulfil the above criteria.
- Devote a small chunk of time to get started on that 'in the pipeline' project.
- Delight in every small way that I can.
(Footnote: And I am thankful that, in 2015 I sold the business that didn't light me up so that I might focus on the project that does. And grateful that I invested time going to children's book writing workshops. I shed that which didn't serve me and I have carved out time to focus on that which does. Onwards and upwards).
- Day 2 - 3rd December 2015
The question that rose up to me is one that I intend to pursue next year and beyond ANYWAY and would do whether money was no object or not.
It's something which sparks my curiosity and interest.
So, the question I would devote time each day to ask/pursue would be:
How might I teach more people (including myself) to react more positively to vitriol, criticism and grievances?
First I would need to consider how I can teach myself:
How might I react better to criticism? How might I react better when my daughter misbehaves?
I already know some of the answers but wonder how to make empathy/tone/gratitude/loving kindness, etc habitual?
And also wonder how best to teach others and whom best to teach? Children, teens or grown-ups?
So I would explore that...
All this consideration of what question I might pursue led me to the one that gets me going:
How might we teach society and the media and retail to stop gender stereotyping so overtly?
Which made me realise...
Sometimes we need stuff to happen in the world to fan our flames of outrage so that we rise up and do something meaningful to change that which outrages us.
In those cases we react to our grievances in a positive way by taking action, by rebelling against that, by starting a revolution and encouraging change.
And, if the world or our lives were perfect, we'd have nothing to react to, and then we'd have nothing to learn or to question or to change.
Looking forward to considering the question of reaction in 2016.
Thank you Jonathan and Jeffrey for the prompt.
Dear me ,
What I need to tell myself about this forthcoming year ahead is that 2016 shall be a year of presence and presents.
I will be present for my daughter, my mister and my friends by listening, empathising and being with them.
I will give the gift of time to my girl. From 3.30pm til 7.30pm I am ALL HERS. (Unless she wants to do stuff on her own; in which case I shall READ and learn).
I will give the gift of vitality to myself; I fully intend to move more, eat better, sleep earlier and pause often.
I will continue to clear space for creativity and also for care - of myself and of others.
I will give the gift of gratitude to my friends and family. I plan to write one thank you note per month.
Some of this I do now; some of it I don't, but what I need to tell myself about 2016 is that I am grateful for this year, I will do what I can and not berate myself if I cannot.
The holiday is already booked. The writing retreat is in the pipeline. The joy is there. The gratitude is there. The hope is there and the possibilities are endless, as always.
See you soon 2016. I'm looking forward to enjoying you and trusting the process.