What does well-being look like for you?
I had to spend some time with this one, especially in light of the current pandemic. For me it came down to three things. A balance between action and reflection, awareness of my needs and making sure I’m tending to them reasonable well. When those things are in place I can feel like I’m on solid ground. It’s easy to find joy, receive and give love, laugh and create. It’s easy to feel a deep sense of well-being.
Lately ‘solid ground’ has not felt so solid and it has left me feeling unsettled and out of sorts.
Years ago a good friend said, Marcy you are too much ‘sun’ and not enough ‘moon’. I knew exactly what she meant – it’s that balance between being and doing, left brain activity and right-brain receptiveness.
Our culture values ‘sun’ > action, achievement, progress, productivity. As a whole we have been too much sun. The pandemic however has forced us to collectively stop, slow down and stay home. Anytime you have been in bright sun for a long time and get thrown into night-time with nothing but a sliver of moon, it’s going to be hard to find your way. But your eyes will adjust.
As you fully embrace ‘moon’ a new solid ground will emerge. This is a reminder to myself as well as you.
This is the gift of this time. To re-connect or connect more deeply to the anima, to the feminine, intuitive, gentle, healing moon energy.
Just as there are ‘sun’ practices; maintaining routine, going to work, ticking off the to do list, figuring things out, developing strategies, staying in motion, meeting deadlines, there are also ‘moon’ practices.
Moon practices include the arts, prayer, nature, stillness, honoring natural rhythms, deep listening, resting, receiving, healing and tending to the interior life.
Moon practices will open you in new ways, invite inner guidance and allow the divine feminine to lead. The divine feminine is demanding to be experienced right now and this is fertile ground. This is where we plant and nurture the seeds for what is to come. It is important to keep dreaming.
My invitation to you, find your moon practices, dream and be well in this fertile pause.
Icebreakers are often silly, light and playful, right? So, why do we use them, especially when there is an intense agenda, serious learning on the docket or significant training goals to be met?
Here's three reasons why ice-breakers are an absolute staple for trainers
1. Connection and Relaxation
An ice-breaker gives participants a way to meet, connect and get to know a little bit about each other. People learn more easily when they know each other, and when you are all being a bit silly, you RELAX. It's harder to make up the internal stories that separate us when you feel connected and relaxed.
2. Expands Capacity for Learning
If you have been working with intense information; technical, emotional or strategic, participants can reach that place of "too full". Taking a break with an icebreaker, especially ones that are physical, humorous or down-right silly provides breathing room and that translates into – okay, I'm ready for more.
3. Energy and Motivation
Whether it's early morning and participants are just getting going or the lull after lunch an ice-breaker can breath life into the room. It can get people moving, engaged, energized and ready for the session.
Bottom line – ice-breakers can facilitate intense learning, support goals and make an intense agenda more digestible.
Having an ice-breaker tool ready when you need it, saves time and will make your event more effective and memorable.
Check out the ice-breaker tools in the Coaching Toys Store! Ice-breakers
Marketing is essential and the truth is, some of the things you try will work and some won’t. When you have a string of actions that don’t work it can lead to “marketing burnout”. One of the definitions of burnout is fatigue or frustration from devotion to a cause that failed to produce the expected reward. Signs of “marketing burnout” are similar to other types of burnout.
You might feel exhausted and start experiencing some work avoidance behaviors. You might feel disconnected from your passion and even wonder if you are on the right path. It can affect your mood, appetite and even relationships. It’s really uncomfortable to find yourself in this state.
As entrepreneurs, we often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be successful. This can create a sense of urgency. A constant stream of thoughts that come from a place of urgency, gotta get this done today, what if it doesn’t work, I don't have enough time or resources dumps stress hormones into your body. These hormones, cortisol in particular, wreck havoc on your mind and body. And science tells us we have on average 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day, just imagine if a large percentage of those thoughts are triggering stress – holy buckets!
Before you get too alarmed, know that burnout is a normal response to ongoing stress and frustration and there are steps you can take to get back on solid ground and even prevent burnout in the future.
Strategy #1 – Relax
Meditation, mindfulness practices and massages are incredibly helpful but the real key is to learn to relax WHILE you are performing activities.
The stress response comes from an internal alarm that there is a threat of some sort. The alarm sets off a series of reactions that prepare the body to either fight or flee. All of this worked great when we were dealing with lions and tigers and bears but not so much when its in response to deadlines and expectations and internal pressure. A key player in the communication of stress is the vagus nerve. It runs from the roof of your mouth to the back of your head and branches into the thoracic cavity and down the spine to your pelvic region. The cool thing about this nerve is that it has two way communication.
Two ways to relax in the moment:
1. Use a timer set to frequent intervals. When the timer goes off, take a couple of minutes to relax your pelvic area (hips, sitting bones). When you relax/release/soften the core muscles in this area it sends the message up the vagus nerve that there is no threat and the brain can turn off the cortisol.
2. If you are looking at something or someone – even giving a talk on stage, take a moment to widen your peripheral vision and soften your focus. This too can stimulate a relaxation shift.
Strategy # 2 – Aerobic Exercise
You know this one I’m sure. You have heard it over and over that it’s important to get exercise. Exercise helps manage stress, it increases serotonin and gives you a way to work off the stress of a failed marketing campaign. No matter how busy you are – take time for aerobic activity at least 3 times a week.
Strategy #3 Self Compassion & Perspective
Getting mindful of the internal stories, beliefs and expectations that feed the stress machine is critical. I think one of the big internal stories related to marketing burnout is: because my marketing failed – I am a failure. On the heels of that one is: nothing I do will will work, my work isn’t good enough, I should just give it all up. Can you feel the pain and stress and anxiety in these stories?
The first step is to notice the stories. The second is to bring some compassion to them and begin to tease out the fusion between you and your marketing strategies. I know that you are not your marketing and it might take you awhile for you to embrace it too. Get some help from your coach around this if needed.
When it comes to marketing – well actually anything in life – it’s important to get clear about what you can control and what you can’t. Look at your marketing from that perspective and get some input on your expectations. I remember the first time someone I admired really spelled out the numbers in concrete terms (percent of an audience that will sign up for comp session, how many of those will show up and how many will convert) it was a huge aha. I had very unrealistic expectations – it gave me perspective. Get some perspective for yourself.
Strategy #4 Rest and Renewal
To begin to reconnect to your passion, your vision and your value it’s important to take a break and tend to your heart and your spirit. Your body desperately needs a break from the constant cortisol dump. Get plenty of rest, give yourself office hours and stick to them, take a vacation, get out in nature, nurture other interests and do things that 'fill the well'.
Remember – it's temporary!
When you recognize that you are experiencing marketing burnout – be gentle with yourself and create a plan to get back to the heart and soul of who you are. Remember – you are not your marketing. It’s a temporary state. When you are re-grounded, simply try something new and notice what worked and what didn’t. Marketing is after all a grand experiment.
There is abundant research pointing to the benefits of mindfulness including; stress reduction, increased insight and improved memory and focus. Taking mini breaks, especially during times you are really busy can keep you grounded and focused.
Here are three short mindfulness exercises from a deck called Growing Mindful by clinical psychologists Mitch Abblett and Chris Willard.
Place one hand palm up in the other hand. Then place both over your heart. close your eyes. Notice sensations, notice emotions, as you take three breaths.
- The Tree
Stand tall with the confidence of a huge tree. Breathing in, I see myself as a tree… Breathing out, I fee confident and strong….. Repeat for 5 breaths.
- Don't Just Do Something
Sit there, doing nothing, for one full minute. My invitation is to choose a favorite and use it frequently in the coming weeks.
Your momentum is driven by your “Will”, the energetic force that gets you into action. It helps you actually get your ideas created and implemented in your business. The six stages of “willing” described in The Act of Will by Roberto Assagioli offer a helpful framework, especially if you are stalling out on your project. Knowing what stage you are in can provide insight on how to get back into action.
Purpose, Motivation and Intention
As you think about business strategies and products you might create, it’s important to have them aligned with your purpose and to make sense in your business model. You also want to feel excited about it. Creating from purpose arouses motivation. So your first question in response to a product or business idea is “why am I wanting to create this?”
Once you have an idea, exciting as it is, take some time to reflect on it from both a strategic perspective and from an intuitive one. I often invite clients to imagine the idea completed and explore what that looks like. Where does it take them, what doors open up etc. Products often have a life of their own so the important question to ask yourself: “Is that where I want to go?”
Choice and Decision
Once you have deliberated and are clear that yes, this idea has energy and it will take you and your business where you want to go, you make the decision to pursue it. The decision is not about “trying”, it is about a commitment to do it.
Declaring your choice and your decision in the form of an “I Will” statement activates it. It is about embracing certainty, faith and conviction. It is often helpful at this stage to post your “I Will” statement where you can see it. Making it visual also empowers the statement so consider creating a collage or draw a picture of your finished product.
Planning and working out a program
This is about breaking your project down into steps and setting milestones for yourself. This process outlines how the action will unfold, deadlines to meet and resources needed.
Direction of the execution
You have your decision, commitment and plan. This stage of “will” acts as command central and directs the action. It harnesses your energy, talents, imagination, intellect and heart to move forward.
If you feel stalled with your project – take a moment to reflect on each of these stages to identify where the problem is. Are you motivated by purpose or calling? Is it the right project for you? Have you fully committed? Do you have a workable plan? Once you know whats going on you can correct it.