Embracing the new rhythm

When news of the COVID-19 outbreak hit, I was a non-believer. I went straight to that place of “this won’t happen to me, it’s not really that big a deal”. Then when my daughter’s school advised all students to stay at home I thought, “holy shit – this could actually be a thing, but you know what? I’m sure they’re just being over-protective”.  Then when travel restrictions hit I went: “Damn! My revenue streams are in trouble and I’m mighty pissed off!”

All the feels.

All the emotions.

Running a business where a big line of revenue depends on live events and retreats meant that the social distancing and travel bans hit hard.  I admit, I freaked out for a good few days.  I dreamt about losing our house and me having to go find a job (*gasp!*) .  I woke up in the wee hours in panic, wondering what I was going to do that day to make it better.  I second-guessed myself. I thought my knowledge wasn’t enough, I didn’t have enough of the right tools/experience/money to do the next step I seriously considered just not saying anything and hoping it would all go away.

Classic signs of grief.

Then it struck me. Like a blunt object to the head actually…that I had everything I needed and that I had been working towards this day for many decades.

I knew way back in my mid-20s that I wanted to be able to be location-independent for my work. But I also felt I had to ‘earn’ that somehow.  Remember, this is pre-social media days and pre ‘I’m an influencer and can travel the world and someone will pay me to look pretty and show off their sunglasses and lipgloss’ era. So I did my time in corporate, earned my stripes around the water cooler and in the boardroom and at ALL THE MEETINGS….and I knew for sure after 15 years of that that I wanted to run my own show, from anywhere. Which I finally did when laid off during my second round of maternity leave. But it’s also why I got into digital marketing originally – because I knew “internet thing had legs”! I knew that this technology would allow for connectivity and communication in a way previously never seen. So I set about learning that so I could then harness it to satisfy my own desire to work from a beach or cafe or mountain top.

So, after my initial freak out, I got busy. Yes I had to cancel my Bali retreat which sucked, and yes I had to cancel the venues for my upcoming workshops which meant loss of deposits etc, but quickly I realised I could take those teaching experiences online without too much change to the program or efficacy of the learning experience. And so I did.

And they worked out just great. In fact I ran a number of workshops in those first few months of lockdown, largely to keep myself and my clients busy and engaged and away from the fridge, the couch or the panic button!

I also ran online writing challenges, and co-facilitated programs for far-flung organisations, and even ran an ‘online retreat’ of sorts. Was it the same as usual? No. But then I’ve never much been interested in doing the ‘same as usual’ for too long anyway.

So the opportunity to do things differently, to embrace my new rhythm due to lockdowns was not really at a large cost to me, and in fact just highlighted what I’d been doing in small pieces all along – working with people and businesses all around the world online to help them with their content, their writing, their messaging and marketing. It was an unexpected bright spot in an otherwise miserable point in time. A true validation of why I do what I do and that the choices I made, without a great deal of info or insight (just a gut feel and longing) were great choices for me.

Do I wish that ALL of my work is online and that I never get to be in a room or in a resort on retreat with real live humans again? Hells no! I LOVE real human interaction and hugs and moments that only occur when you sit next to somebody. But I am grateful to have the option to still continue the work I do best, to embrace thew new rhythm in a purely online environment, when and if the world goes mad again.

Merry Christmas From Manila

It’s been way too long between messages from me… I’ve missed you, despite a huge desire to share all the weird and wacky things that have happened this year.
Life, hey? It gets in the way of the best intentions.
I’m not interested in bemoaning 2021 and wishing it was over, like so many of the emails I’ve received this week from coaches and other biz owners. Instead I’d love to celebrate the crazy year that was and encourage youto find a ‘moment of glory’ that you can raise a glass to this holiday season.  There is always something to celebrate, always something you did better than last year, always some growth amongst the messy.

For me?

Moving countries mid-pandemic was pretty epic! And whilst I wouldn’t put it on your bucket-list, I don’t regret it one bit.  I’ve learnt heaps and grown significantly as a woman, a wife, a parent and a daughter as a result.  It’s been tough for sure – I’ve experienced adrenal meltdown and mayhem – and directed some pretty ‘fresh’ words at those I love most in pure frustration.  But I’m feeling super alive and more well than I’ve ever been now, and 5 months has flown by with a whole swag of cool new experiences under my belt.

As for The Content Coach biz?

I’ve happily been serving clients from my new office here in Manila without skipping a beat.  A long time ago I vowed I’d do anything to remove the boardroom from my life and find a way to work from anywhere on my own terms. Serving people from around the world via technology has been a part of my career for over 20 years now. So whilst the pandemic changed my in-person events and retreats it didn’t change the fundamentals of what I do – helping people write and tell better stories about their business.

The second half of 2022 will be filled with events – I’m positive about that! Stay tuned for more news about the Ultimate Girls Week Away Business Edition in Vietnam (*eek* – like the FB page and/or send me an email to find out more come Jan 1st), plus a host of other fun things I’m rolling out, including my online course The Humble Brag (learning to write more effectively about yourself – reply to this email if you want to jump on the waitlist). Meanwhile, I’m still helping people write their first book to raise their profile, plus doing copywriting/editing/blogging. Lots of entrepreneurs have pivoted businesses and profiles this year so need a hand changing marketing collateral – let me know if I can help you .

That’s it from me in 2021. I’m taking a shorter than usual break as we’re only on ‘winter holidays’ here (still 30 degrees on average!) so I’ll be ready to roll early Jan. Enjoy the festivities that Christmas and the new year ushers in. Gather with loved ones where you can, listen and share stories and fill your head with inspiration.

New normal, new language

This has been a bugger of a year for obvious reasons but it’s also been a year of expanding our vocab – which a word nerd like me fully encourages and embraces!

In a matter of weeks, coronavirus fundamentally changed our way of living and working. It closed businesses, transformed working patterns, shifted our human interaction. As a result, new vocabulary appeared as a shorthand way to discuss the impact, articulate worries and poke fun at the craziness of the situation. Linguistic creativity is alive and well! (and is not uncommon in times of social crisis!) Collective cultural reference points work as a kind of uniting factor in times of trouble, and in the absence of regular social contact, shared talk is an important part of helping people feel connected.

So as we came to grips with the ‘new normal’ we figured out how to talk about the virus. And an explosion of new words and phrases entered our dialogue to help us make sense of the changes we experienced.

Covid-inspired words

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Now is the hour of our discontent…

I’m not sure if it’s the time of year or simply the ridiculously weird twilight-zone bubble we’ve been in here in Melbourne, but I swear the days are flying by faster than ever before.

Since being ‘allowed out’ (from lockdown, not the asylum), I’ve felt confused, rushed and discontent.

It’s an odd reaction to being given back your freedom, right? I’m looking at myself curiously, wondering what’s going on…have I been institutionalised??? Or did I just find a lazy new norm??  Have I become a recluse? Have I finally morphed into the crazy cat lady my husband always thought I was destined to be???? Whilst I’ve loved seeing my family and friends again I have to admit I’ve not enjoyed the return to the kids’ activity runaround, nor the (perceived) pressure to suddenly be everywhere and do everything. I’ve not rushed out to go shopping or gone visiting all over the place. I simply don’t want to! (she says, stomping her foot like a 3 year old).

Hmm. Interesting…

This feeling has definitely affected how I show up on social media.

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Connection: there’s no better time

For a really long time (ok, 25 years) I’ve banged on about staying connected with your people, your audience.
Connection. Communication. Sharing. Inspiring. Leading.

Whether it was when I was in marketing at realestate.com.au (please Agent X, stay in touch with your potential buyers by adding real value to their search – they could turn out to be your next listing), or as a recruitment consultant at TMP Worldwide (please Client Y, communicate nicely with the candidates you have interviewed – they may not be right for you but they may know someone who is)… and in all that time, there has never been a MORE critical need than now for you to support your people with nurturing, educational content. Continue reading

Twas the night before Christmas – my version

Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the burbs,
Laptops have closed
Writers have no more verbs.

The year has been great
Many deals won, some lost,
Ups and downs and roundabouts
Are all part of the cost…

Of running a business
That I love and cherish,
Freedom, flexibility
And clients that flourish.

I’ve loved helping those
In my studio and on retreat,
So much got done
Living on purpose is sweet.

Books, blogs and posts
Websites and speeches,
Helping you write well
Is one of my best features.

So now as the sun shines
It’s time to rest a while,
And say thank you to everyone
Who made me smile.

Merry Christmas lovelies!
I wish you all the best for the holiday season.

I’ll be taking a break from client work until mid-January, but I’ll be checking emails and messenger periodically, so reach out if you want to book a session or a chat about retreats.

Less hustle, more alignment

I’ve never resonated with whole ‘hustle’ movement that has been prevalent in the entrepreneurial / business world in the last few years. It feels aggressive, fake, and is usually served with a big dose of inevitable burn-out.

I must admit I actually cringe when I see the word in marketing spiels now.  It’s over done, it’s been done over and it feels like the thing you do when you don’t actually have any control over your thing. And can you believe there’s people walking around with t-shirts with the following printed on them: ‘Less talk, more hustle’, ‘Same hustle different product’, and ‘Hustle: the most important word ever’, ???  Really??

Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely times when you need to move fast, put in the hours, be uber motivated, drive harder than ever before, and shut your eyes and just take a leap. Continue reading

Your story in three words

I bet that if you were asked to describe a friend in just three words you could do it easily.  You might say he was kind, generous and loyal. Or that she was fierce, driven and creative.

But would it be as easy to describe your business’ characteristics in the same way? Could you summarise your story in three words?

As entrepreneurs and business owners we invest SO MUCH TIME and effort in raising our profile, being seen, and becoming known …..without actually clarifying what we want to be known for. Continue reading

Valentine’s Day: love and a shark’s tooth

Happy Valentine’s Day to you. Whether you celebrate it or not, hate it or not, I want to wish you a wonderful day filled with love and good vibes…
I enjoy V-Day, but not in a satin-teddy-red-roses kind of way….but rather in a warm, gentle knowledge of being loved kinda way.

Do you remember your first love?

Was it romantic, heartbreaking, tortuous, silly, one-sided, wholly reciprocated or a mixture of all of these? Do you remember your first true valentine?

I remember the day I really felt I was truly in love for the first time. I fell hard for an older boy named Adrian. He was in year 8 and I was in year 7.  He was tall, handsome, not too smart, athletic, and made my tummy flip when he smiled at me. He lived around the corner so I spent a lot of time outside for a few months, hoping to catch a glimpse of him on his bike.  I remember making friends with one of his friends, just to try and get closer to him. It turned ugly when the friend thought I liked him but I laughed in his face when he bought me an icypole and expected me to sit with him at lunchtime.

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