11 Life lessons I re-learnt from running a retreat in Bali

I’ve been back for 10 days from running my retreat in Bali and it feels like a lifetime.  All the build up, the planning, the anticipation, then the warmth, the joy, the learning, the teaching, the uncovering, the clarity, and then BOOM!

It’s finished.

It’s over.

A bit like Christmas when you’re a kid. Or even when you’re an adult. You have a month or more of excitement, events, preparation, then you gorge yourself, your adrenalin flies and then crash. It’s done.

Why do really great, momentous events have to feel like this?

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Take a bite out of these ideas: BITE conference wrapup

Who doesn’t love a day out of the office, learning, being inspired, catching up with business besties and networking with newbies?

Most small business owners relish the chance to connect with other likeminded souls, as many of us spend our days solo, toiling away in silence, forgetting that there is a brave new world out there that is stretching and changing, (and also often forgetting to eat!).  We can get so consumed by our own thing that we forget to come up for air.

So a business conference, with the promise of great speakers, new ideas (and awesome food), right on our doorstep, is a highly attractive opportunity to break the routine and stretch our pegs.

One such fantastic conference is the BITE Conference – this year held at the Frankston Arts centre.  In its third instalment, BITE Con (Business, Innovation, Technology, Entrepreneurial) has become the ‘go to’ event on the Mornington Peninsula for discovering what trends are changing the small business landscape. The promise is that participants will not only hear about these trends but that they will uncover the latest tactics that will help us compete.  And I reckon it delivered.

This year’s B.I.T.E. Con had an all-star cast of speakers that worked the stage and crowd to share their best ideas.

Here’s a BITE Con wrapup  from each of the speakers:

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Not another goal setting post

This is not another goal setting post. In fact it’s kinda the opposite.

As it’s almost time to pop the corks, wave the sparklers and kiss random people, I thought I’d nudge you for a moment.

As the year comes to a close and we herald in a new one, it’s exciting to pack up the old memories, the highs and lows, the lessons the achievements, and look forward to the shiny possibilities of a brand new chapter in our lives.

Some people I know spend big chunks of time in solitude jotting down all the moments, learning from the stuff-ups, from each hard conversation, each A-ha moment, and patting themselves on the back for the glorious times.  They then plug these learnings into their elaborate goal setting process, their personal and professional development plans, and they continue to mull over them to ensure they don’t repeat the crap.

I’m not one those people.

Never have been.

And have finally stopped beating myself up about not being one of those people!

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Go beyond satisfaction

As the year draws to a close, I’m reflecting on what impact I had this year. On my husband, my kids, my clients, my suppliers and my prospects.
I wonder …did I do everything I possibly could during those interactions to add value, to be kind, to be generous, to add positive pages to the story they will tell about me..?

Once upon a time, meeting expectations was enough for a business to be considered ‘doing well’. If every meal was served piping hot, served in a timely fashion, with a smile—the restaurant owner won. If the stylist was on time, didn’t pull or burn your hair and said ‘thank you’ as you left it was a ‘good experience’.

Now, efficiency is expected. It’s the minimum requirement for operating any business.

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Voting Day…and beyond.

As the paper plate came home from school for the 412th time this year, requesting my baking prowess, I was forced to consider how we all turn up on voting day….and beyond.

The fundraising committee at school certainly takes advantage of an election, by offering a cake stall and sausage sizzle.  Because, lord knows, writing ‘1, 2 & 3’ is hunger-inducing work…

The postal voters, who surreptitiously lock in their vote, out of earshot and sight, who shy away from the queues, the candidates and most likely, the neighbours….

And the candidates and their reps, who each thrust a marketing leaflet at the voters as they dash into the polls, in a last-ditch attempt to get a vote. With the only thing differentiating one from the other being the colour of their shirt or the arrangement of the words ‘people’ and ‘power’ on their brochures.

It is true that some people don’t decide who to vote for until the last minute, and last minute votes can count. However, few voters arrive on the day, accept all the marketing leaflets, read them cover to cover, weigh up the pros and cons and then make a considered decision before casting their vote.  This last desperate attempt to secure a vote shows no evidence of a persistent effort to build a sustainable advantage and a loyal following over time.

Whether we are in politics or business, the real work we do is to show up for the right people CONSISTENTLY, so they know what we stand for every day — not just on voting day or launch day.

Your goal isn’t to be chosen at random because of the colour of your shirt or a single snappy slogan. It’s to be deliberately sought out again and again for your service, your values and the way you empower and impact the people you serve.

How do you turn up on ‘voting day’ – and beyond?

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Shiny Object Syndrome

Shiny object syndrome: a fancy phrase to describe the excitement I feel on a daily basis as I come across things, programs, places, ideas,  I’d like to own, take part in, visit, pursue.

Yep. Like many other entrepreneurs, I suffer from the shiny object syndrome.

When you run your own business, one of the awesome things about it is that you achieve the freedom you desperately desire to work on whatever you want, wherever you want and whenever you want. There’s noone telling you what you do, where to do it, or when to deliver it. Now, that all sounds great on paper, but it also means that you – and only you – are responsible for making clear decisions on the what, where and when.

And for holding yourself accountable. *eek*

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Breakdown then breakthrough: allowing change to occur

I haven’t written for a while because I’ve been holidaying and business-retreating, (making up verbs now!) and allowing change to wash over me.

It’s been amazing and wonderful and vulnerable and scary and life-and-business-changing all at once. Yet the funny thing is I wasn’t seeking change, I wasn’t running away to ‘find myself’, or do my own version of Eat, Pray Love, or ‘make a change’, … but it found me anyway. The truth is, I obviously was seeking something.

I wasn’t unhappy, in love, life, parenting or business.
I wasn’t annoyed.
I wasn’t anxious.
I wasn’t scared.
I wasn’t even really frustrated.

But….

Something hadn’t felt right for a little while.
Something had shifted.
Something was niggling.

Something was hovering. Just out there in my peripheral vision.

And it turns out I needed to shift again. To evolve. To focus.

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Settle? I don’t think so

I have a really strong view that I could never expect you to invest in coaching if I don’t do it myself.

Why should I?

It’s a bit like working with a fitness trainer who is obviously overweight and unwell.  It just doesn’t ring true for me.

So I tell you this, not to justify myself or so you can pat me on the back, but simply to let you inside my world for a moment…to reinforce that I practise what I preach.

You see, noone is above help. Noone is perfect. Noone has it all together. And noone has all the answers.

And I felt that keenly recently, when I was reviewing my presentation for the first round of the 8 Weeks to Content Confidence program.

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Teaching this old dog new tricks: #COPYCON18 (a conference for word nerds)

It’s easy to view yourself as an ‘expert’ once everyone else does.  You get asked to speak on certain topics, requested for input into articles, and invited to sit on panels – for me that’s being a copywriter, a content coach, a marketing coach.  You could be forgiven for thinking to yourself: I’ve got this. I reckon I know my stuff – (finally!).

And then suddenly you realise a couple years have gone by and you haven’t really done much ‘professional development’ or learnt anything super new in your specific field of expertise. Or along the way you’ve diversified, and the thing you’re known for is only one small string to your now blossoming bow.

That’s when #copycon18 came into my field of vision.  Great timing and just the ticket to reignite my copywriter’s soul.

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Boundaries create your own Tuscan movie

Christopher is muscular and tanned but lithe, like most of the men around here.  They work, physically, for most of the day, every day of the week. His hair is long and dark, tousled and unkempt, and his eyes are dark but dancing. He has that relaxed way of wearing a shirt with the top few buttons undone and the sleeves rolled up, exposing strong forearms and a brown chest, that is suggestive, but not on purpose. He swaggers gently, meaningfully, and takes his time to construct his sentences, tasting every word in his mouth, ensuring they’re the right ones. The words finally fire out at warp speed, defying the calm countenance from which they emit.

He then sees us, shrugs to his friend, and says: “G’day, are you guys from Australia? I’m from Brisbane.”

Whaaaat?

You see Christopher made a choice.  A very distinct, clear choice to live his life a certain way.

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