Life Archives - Kara Lambert

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6 tips to build self confidence for small business owners

6 tips to build self confidence for small business owners

“Kara, I just need more self-confidence”, “I need to get out of my own way”, “I need to stop holding myself back”. It’s generally what our conversations come down to, no matter what we start with. Generally, it starts with wanting to learn how to promote their small business on social media, then after a little while, the truth comes up. It’s really a lack of self-confidence that is stopping them progressing.

How can a lack of self-confidence show up?

Procrastination

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can put off until next week. Amiright? You suddenly need to tidy your desk, do some washing, check your emails or social media. Anything. Anything rather than what you’re meant to be doing.

Finding a dozen different things to do rather than doing the one thing that needs doing is a common symptom of many things, including a lack of self-confidence.

Procrastination can also look like planning and perfectionism, but deep down these can both hide a lack of self-confidence.

I can honestly say that this article has taken me three-times longer to write than any other and the word count is the same. I’ve not gone off to do research, but boy have I procrastinated – so much so that I’ve deleted Facebook from my browser tabs.

Questioning or second-guessing

tips to build self confidence Michelle Obama quoteI know my self-confidence was beaten by a number of people questioning my ability. It got to the point that I questioned my own. You know that thing where you hear something often enough, you begin to believe it. It sucks!

To be honest, I’ve found the constant doubt is draining. Not only does it take a lot of internal dialogue, it takes a lot of energy, and it uses up a lot of time. All things I could be putting to better use elsewhere.

Perfectionism

I just need to do xyz. I just need to add ABC. It’s not quite right. It needs to be perfect.  Do I have all of them? (Geez, you’d think I was a perfectionist by that last question)

Perfectionism avoids criticism, rejection, shame, and just doing that thing. It takes time and every perfectionist I’ve met (I’m not one, and I feel like the antithesis at times) has said that it is utterly exhausting.

The constant judgement, comparison, and/or questioning means that nothing is ever achieved and that wins are never made and certainly not celebrated. Celebrations don’t occur because things are never good enough.

Perfectionism can be debilitating, depressing and extremely time-consuming.

Getting advice from others

There is a time and a place for everything and this is certainly one of them. Yes, I know that asking for advice in big Facebook Groups is a (marginally) covert way to draw attraction to your brand. It’s a way to create controversy. I’m not talking about this. When you can’t make a decision and you have to ask for advice from others, sometimes you truly don’t know and sometimes you truly don’t trust that you’re making the right decision. Or perhaps you’re always asking the one person for advice. (And it’s not someone on that list, see below)

Deferring to someone can hide a lack of trust in oneself. It can be a symptom of people-pleasing (raises hand here). Some people also do it so they have someone to blame (but that’s unlikely to be anyone reading this as they generally don’t like what I write).

The problem with this habit is that the turn around takes time and the vast majority of the people asked will not have or understand your business (or audience) as well as you. They may have more experience, but that’s the only place they can give advice from and their experiences may not be relevant to you, yours, or your business.

General low self-confidence

In general, low self-confidence can show up as fatigue, tasks taking longer, and a lot of internal dialogue (not a lot of it being constructive). It’s draining – I know because I still battle this. It takes courage and effort to overcome but I promise that each step you take releases you to be more of yourself and that feels incredible.

6 things to do to build self-confidence

First things first

The very first thing is to actually catch yourself doing it. This takes an ability to be mindful and questioning of your thoughts and actions. You may need to put a reminder somewhere that says something along the lines of, “Is this real or is it low confidence?”. Then you can try one, or all, of the following solutions.

Rip the bandage

If procrastination is your pet when it comes to testing your self-confidence then I suggest using Mel Robbin’s 5-second rule. Count to 5 and then start the task.

Pomodoro

tips to build self confidence for small business Samuel Johnson quoteNever heard of the Pomodoro technique? It’s where you spend a block of time working on a task, anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, and then you do something you enjoy. The catch is that you must spend all of that active time on the task. Set a timer on your phone and stick to it.

Live in alignment with your beliefs and values

It’s hard to live in self-doubt when you are living in alignment with your beliefs and values. I promise it takes time and practice but when it comes down to it there are 3 things you need to be able to get yourself moving:

  1. Be mindful of what is driving your behaviour & ask yourself if you are acting from a place of self-doubt
  2. Remind yourself of what your core beliefs & values are
  3. Act from your core beliefs & values rather than reacting from a place of doubt or fear.

A person in your corner

Sometimes it’s easier if we know that someone has our back. Perhaps it’s a safety in numbers thing. I know I feel safer knowing that I have a handful, and I do mean just a few, people who believe in and support me – no matter what.

Who are they for you? Write down their names & keep the list close. When you are feeling uncertain, look at the list or have a chat with them. Most of all know that they believe in you, even when you’re uncertain of yourself.

Small wins

When we focus on the big goal it can seem insurmountable and we can lose confidence. While we can break a task down into more manageable chunks, we can also break them down into ones that we know we will succeed at. Having had some success at a task can give us the confidence to move forward and try more – to do more. This builds self-confidence. This is exactly why I celebrate the wins in my Facebook Group each Friday.

Get help

To overcome a lot of my self-confidence issues, I used Cognitive Behavioural Therapy under the guidance of a psychologist. From there I used the same techniques to uncover and work through further issues as they arose. Rebuilding self-confidence is a journey, most of us have lived with it for years and that takes time to sort through. I want you to know that I am here to help you unpack using the techniques I’ve learnt, tried, and tested. I’d love to help you be more self-confident & I encourage you to check this page out for more information.

 

3 things to help things get better in business

It has to get better

So often in business, we sit, sometimes with our head in our hands, thinking that it has to get better. That business has to get better. That, this work-life balance has to get better. That life just has to get better. But it’s not all doom and gloom. I’ll let you in on a few secrets on how (business) life can get better.

You’ve hit the bottom and now you are hanging on to your belief that it has to get better. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps you’ve had a glimmer of hope through a great conversation, a fab sale, or it’s just that window through to the future where your goals do become your reality. Now what?

It has to get better when you’re clear on things

I don’t mean getting clear on goals. Goals are more like a carrot dangling in front of your nose, nice to lure you along but not so great on keeping you on the straight and narrow.

The biggest changes come in my clients, and myself, when laser-focused and totally in sync with values. Why? Values are our guiding principles, sort of like ethics. If we miss a goal or take a bit longer to achieve them, most of us will be ok. If we are out of sync with our values, we feel down, unmotivated, lost, agitated. Psychologists call it dissonance, but it’s essentially our head and our heart being out of alignment.

For things to get better – live in alignment

things have to get better quote Michael JordanSo how well are you in alignment with your values? Do you know what your guiding values are? That one thing that keeps you on track. That one principle you know will get you making the right decision & taking the right action – every time!

I use mine a lot. Ok, so my guiding value is courage. My guiding value has had me travel alone to the US multiple times. My guiding value of courage has had me speak at a social media conference, directly after Facebook. My guiding value of courage has me as a Mentor at my old University. My guiding value of courage is getting me to my goals, without it I’d be wishing for these goals rather than making it happen.

Learn more about discovering your guiding values in this free training.

 

 

It has to get better when you have time

One of the other things people say to me is that they don’t have enough time. Things will get better when you have more time. We seem to dream up all these business goals we’ll achieve when we have more time. As if it’s some golden bullet. As if it’s something someone will deliver to us. Do I have to be the bearer of bad tidings?

For things to get better – make the time

Bahahahaha, make the time she says! Like I can do that! What if I told you there are a few secrets you can use to make time.

For things to get better – change your thoughts on time

I’m for real & this is one of the biggest game-changers I’ve ever had. I changed my mindset about time. You would know that some times time seems to fly right by and other times it drags. When we feel like there’s never enough time, there isn’t.

Here’s the thing, when I changed my mindset to always believing that I had enough time & then working towards it – I did. Whenever I’m worried that I’ll be late, I take a deep breath and remind myself that I’ll have plenty of time – and I’m on time or early.

I’ve written about this a number of times and you can catch up on how I make it happen by clicking here.

It has to get better when you have someone to talk to

Running your own business can be lonely, especially when no one else in your friends or family run a business. They have no idea! They think that you’re not only raking it in but you’re the luckiest person in the world because you set your own hours and can take long lunches. Shame they don’t see the late nights, endless coffees, and the constant worry as to balancing the bills & the clients.

For things to get better – have someone in your corner

things get better quote for businessMy husband just couldn’t understand why I was constantly working at 2 am. He didn’t understand why I “put up with crap clients”. He didn’t understand why I needed to do a particular training. Why would he! He didn’t have or share my vision and he didn’t run a business. So I joined some free Facebook Groups, did you know I have one, and eventually I hired a business coach.

And there I found my tribe! I was no longer alone. In fact, I was surrounded by so many other business owners sick to the eye teeth of explaining why to their partners.

Be warned though, not all tribes are created equal. Some will last you to fill a reason (generally to fill a knowledge gap), some will last you a season (generally to fill some growing pains of your own or the business’), and then others will last you a lifetime.

You will learn quickly which ones will fill your cup, which ones will drain your pockets, which ones will steal your energy, and which ones will waste your time. And I do refer to groups and coaches with that.

Be ok with saying goodbye, knowing that their time has come and that you have acted in alignment with your values for your greater good.

Then you will know that it has gotten better.

How I overcome Imposter Syndrome when Public Speaking

I want to share with you a little personal story about my own Imposter Syndrome and public speaking.

You can keep reading or watch the following video I recorded on it.

So recently, I was invited to travel interstate to speak at a social media conference. Thankfully, for me, I actually I don’t have a fear of public speaking. But that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t caught out by fear. And I wanted to show you that I walked the talk, and how from my experiences, you can learn something that will help you, hopefully, when you’re confronted by fear. So let me go through this. So I was invited to speak. I was travelling on Wednesday speaking on Thursday, travelling home on Friday, comes Tuesday, the day before I was travelling.

And I started to get really anxious.

I couldn’t concentrate on the work that I had to do, I was quite grateful that a lot of clients cancelled their appointments with me, for their own particular reasons, which gave me time probably wasn’t the best thing for me. Because what it meant was that I had time to think, not always the best thing. It got to a point that I started revising and reviewing my slides.

Most of you would probably think that that’s a good thing.

But for me, it’s not you see, I’m speaking about something that I know a lot on. The psychology of social media, and how to tap into the client, your users’ psychology and had leverage that online.

So what happened was, I was reviewing the slides going over them, and the more I went over them, the more nervous I actually got.

Now I could feel that building up inside of myself. And so I realised that I broke the pattern. And I actually took myself off for the rest of the day, I shut up shop, and I went out, I left my desk, I had to do that I had to actually change location. So that’s the first thing that I wanted to get you guys to think about. One, notice how it feels in your body. If, for example, like me, you’re starting to do things over and over again, you’re starting to second guess yourself, and just starting to check and double-check things that normally you wouldn’t do, because you actually know what, then this is a sign that you’re starting to get nervous and fear is starting to take over. And you need to break the pattern and do something else.

That was the first one.

The second one was on Wednesday night.

OMG, They want to talk to me!

Wednesday night, there was a pre-dinner conference. And what I thought was going to be justice speaker dinner turned out to be a speaker and VIP event, which meant that attendees bought tickets and access to the speakers. I was actually incredibly anxious by this. I was okay with going and meeting all of my speaker colleagues. But having VIP access to me maybe a little bit nervous, it kind of blurred the lines of who stood where.

So, I spoke to a trusted colleague and friend who speaks internationally and speaks on social media. And what he said to me was Kara,  it’s not about you, it’s about them look at it as them buying consulting time.

So here’s the next thing I wanted to tell you about. Get off self, it’s not about you as a speaker, or it’s not about you, as a business owner. It’s about your audience. And when your outreach into them, think of it as a service to them, and not as a way of them accessing you and your product, turn it around.

And then came Facebook!

The next thing was, I actually spoke after Facebook, pretty big shoes, I had to feel. So I was sitting there in the audience watching Facebook speak. And the two women that were speaking for Facebook, they were nailing it, they owned the stage, they were brilliant, captivating, and had everyone’s attention.

And sitting there, I started to feel incredibly nervous that I could not make the grades.

 

Once again, the problem was, I was making it about myself. So the third lesson, more of a reminder than anything, get off self. Especially when you’re speaking to somebody if you’re doing video even, it’s not about you. It’s about the audience that you’re serving, they don’t deserve your nerves. They’re not here for your nerves are actually here for your knowledge. So it’s not about you and get off self.

All the eyes!

The fourth instance that I had, where nerves took over, was at the pre-dinner awards ceremony. The fourth time that nerves took over, and this is only in the space of three days, was at the post-conference awards ceremony. So that was a formal dinner. And I walked in, and I’ve got to be honest, I felt that every face in the room was staring at me, I was set on the head table. Because I’m a brand ambassador. I was also an award judge. So I was given a different position to the awards nominees.

So, I was looking around the room, and people were looking back at me. And I felt that I was being judged. Not for what I was wearing or looked like, but as if I actually even belonged there! “Who was I to be there?”

Later in the evening, ironically, I was announced as one of the brand ambassadors and invited up on stage. And later in the evening, when I’m turn around the room, and I saw people looking at me, they seem to be looking at me differently. Now, the storeys that I had in my mind was at the start of the thing that we’re thinking, “Who is that woman? What is she doing here? I don’t know her? And why is she on the head table?”

And then after I was announced, I felt like it was more of a story of all I know who you are. And that’s where your place is. “Well done. Kudos to you.”

The fourth lesson I want you to know about fear is that our brain is incredibly clever. It will fill in the gaps of the facts and the knowledge that we have with the storeys that we tell ourselves. I don’t know that those people looking at me at the start of the evening, we’re actually thinking that they could have been looking past me for all I know, they could have been admiring something about me. But my brain filled in the gaps based on my storey and my self-doubt, and went, Kara, they’re judging you. And then afterwards, the story had flipped to power, they know who you are. And they’re looking at you differently.

Remember, your brain is smart, it will fill in the gaps for you with this story that you play. Sometimes that story’s wrong.

What I wanted you to get from this is that I’m not immune to fear, it still creeps up on me.

Yes, I’ve got these four tools in my tool kit. But the only way that I’m able to get them to work is through one additional tool. And that is being mindful. The only reason why I was able to pick up on these points is that I’m able to see the signs and then act on them.

So what I’m encouraging you to do is like me on Tuesday, tapping into how feeling nervous or feeling fear actually feels in your body. And when you feel that, stop, cut the cycle.

If you’re feeling fearful, and you’re about to go and do something for somebody else, stop realise that this fear is actually you putting the focus on yourself, not on them.

And finally, if you’re feeling fearful, or judged or doubting about your own ability, just remember that what you’re doing is filling in the gaps in the story.

I hope this has helped. Let me know in the comments below which of these tips have helped you the most. And if you’ve ever been in a similar circumstance. If you’re looking to talk to someone about overcoming fear, you can book a FREE 30-minute session, to learn these and other tools, right here: https://www.bookme.karalambert.com/

 

Two top time management hacks you need for your business

 

Two Top Time Management Hacks

Show Notes

Are you time poor? Running out of time? Feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day? Keep watching because I’m going to share with you the two things that have made the biggest influence on my time management.

Before you start thinking how is she pressed for time, I bet she doesn’t even have kids. I actually started my first business when my kids were toddlers, I was in a high stress corporate position which regularly took me out of state and I was studying for an MBA. No I don’t have a nanny or live in help (other than hubby). Yes we all survived, including my marriage.

But I just don’t have the time! I’m time poor! I need more hours in the day! I wish I had a magic wand and could give you more hours, I don’t, but I do have ways to make it feel like you do have more time.

Time Management Hack #1

Here’s the thing, if you constantly think and feel that you don’t have enough of something; you won’t! It really is a ‘glass half empty’ approach to time management. Consider this, you have a friend who is always negative, they can not see the good in anything; always moping, bad things constantly going wrong. If they can only see the negative, that is all they will find.

Time Management Hack 1So, now think about time. Yes I know we all have the same number of hours in the day, but how do you value and see those hours? Do you believe that they will slip through your fingers, do you think they will whizz by; or do you think you have all the time you need, and that time is on your side? Which would you prefer?

This is the first thing that I did which totally changed how I made the most of my time.

I changed my mindset. Look, I have a couple of playlists on time theory but I want to break it down for you.

If you think you have enough time, you will. If you always worry about not having enough time, you won’t.

I know it sounds stupidly simple, and yes I have days where the old ‘not enough time’ mindset creeps in, but I catch myself.

How do I fix it?

One deep breath and a simple reminder that “I have all the time in the world to do this” and I do!

Now if you’re a bit of a procrastinator and just thought “brilliant! Now I have more time to do nothing in”, well you’re technically right but let’s tackle that procrastination.

The first issue is why you procrastinate and generally that comes from fears. Things like fear of failure, imposter syndrome, perfectionism. Addressing those is a whole other chat. But let’s tackle that never ending to-do list! How did I get around that?

Top Time Management Hack #2

I admit that my to-do list used to stop me in my tracks. It was my biggest source of overwhelm. It never got shorter because I kept adding to the bottom. Until I did this one thing.

I started a bullet journal.

Don’t stress, it ain’t pretty. This thing is a practical time management and also business management tool. In it I have what drives myself, my business, & my clients. I do my quarterly business activity planning. I have a monthly calendar and I have a weekly day-to-a-page. I can hear you asking 2 things. I don’t have time for that and couldn’t you just buy one?

Nope.

Top Time Management Hack 2I wanted everything in one book, one place. That was part of the overwhelm. My planning and actions were in different spots, on separate pieces of paper. I needed it all tied together with a bow.

It’s been a work in progress, but I’ve now got it to a fine art. The most it takes is about 90 minutes when I am ruling up a new quarter plan, new monthly plan, and a new week-to-a-page. That’s it and that’s only 4 times a year. I spent more time than that looking for those documents, printing, and updating.

The week to the view shows me my business tasks and family commitments in one spot. I also track action items from my quarterly plan, income generated, and what’s coming up next week.

The ‘what’s coming up next week’ is brilliant because I can then move tasks into the current week to make better use of my time.

What this is is a visual of my reverse engineering my week. I start with the non-moveables, add in the tasks due, add in any other tasks carried over, and then I can look at any time left over to decide if I want to take that as time off or schedule in some other work I’ve had on my “to-do” list. (not that I have one any more)

Doing this bullet journal keeps me organized. It reduces the long list and allocates it out. It keeps me on track with the business objectives and it keeps me in line with what drives my business. A perfect Type-A personality working life to be honest. A place for everything and everything in its place!

So take one mindset shift that says, time is mine and add in one killer way to organize said owned time and that overwhelm is a thing of the past.

Have you heard of Einstein time? Do you use it? Leave a comment below. Or leave a comment with your favourite time management hack.

Proving yourself and the people pleaser

Growing up were you a people pleaser? Did you want people to like you? How do you go now?

I was this child and even this adult. Over the past months I have been working a lot on coming back in to alignment with my motivators. Truly understanding them. Getting rid of thoughts and stories (I’m not calling them beliefs) which no longer serve. But the need to keep people happy stuck around.

Now don’t confuse this with a fear that no one likes me. I know people don’t like me and I’m totally ok with that. I’m not afraid of people not liking me, I don’t want everyone to like me because I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.

Keeping people happy is about not disappointing, it’s about meeting their expectations, it’s about putting their needs above mine.

Perhaps it’s a first-born thing, perhaps it’s a girl thing. I don’t know. I do know it’s a “thing” I have to address.

This all came to a head over the weekend when I realised a situation I had gotten myself into was me needing to prove myself because I need to please. I realised a long time ago that things aren’t black and white, and the joy of being aligned with my values is that I also understand that there are many perspectives to the same scenario.

In this scenario, we had differing perspectives and in spite of me initially saying “I don’t need to prove my point”, the other person convinced me to explain my position under the guise of them wanting to know more and to be educated.

Ok, so some would say I was suckered in to it. I lost track of my core value of not needing to prove myself. What happened was this long held need to keep people happy and to help took over and I obliged.

To cut a long story short, that wasn’t their motive. They just wanted to prove their point and the more I talked the worse it got. Until I realised there was no keeping them happy as they were coming from their perspective and had no intention of looking at my perspective.

The issue with the need to prove ourselves or help is that we put the other person first and their motivators higher than our own. We give them power over us. Consider the following statements often spoken by those with a need to keep people happy:
“I’m sorry, I misunderstood…”
“I didn’t mean it that way…”
They are sentences which take us further away from ourselves and put the other person in an increasingly important position.

So I withdrew from the situation, knowing full well that it would look like they had proven their point. But what they didn’t realise and I had was that I had proven a more important point, to myself.

My need to help people is often manipulated by others to prove a point and that has them bound together. I will always help people, it’s who I am. However I am no longer the person who is prepared to put people ahead of myself. I am as important.

For some of you this will seem obvious, for others you may be wondering how I did it. It’s true that I have become very clear on what motivates me and I have disposed of the old stories I’ve heard or told myself through the years.

In coming back to the core of being me, I have learnt my place and my importance, this has seen me find my strength and I am growing to love my true self. It’s not a new self. I have always been this person, it’s just that through the years I have buried myself in stories and put others before me and my true self just won’t have that any more.

Handling Overwhelm and Success

I wanted to tell you a little story about feeling overwhelmed and being a success. You see they often travel as a pair and they make strange bedfellows. The problem is that often we allow the feeling of overwhelm stop us from progressing further to success and I’ve been thinking about that lately. Let me tell you a story.

Hubby & I are preparing our home for sale. We’ve owned this home for 20 years, raised our kids in it, renovated it, and it’s safe to say that there are a few foibles we’re happy to live with that others wouldn’t. So we’ve (ok he) has been putting in a lot of work to get it ready for sale. The big one has been painted.

Having raised our kids through toddler-dom since the house was last painted, it’s safe to say the house was looking a bit tired. It’s also a 2 storey house making it no small effort. I’m not a good painter, so this task has fallen to hubby and he has been feeling utterly overwhelmed by the enormity of it all, even after 3 solid weeks of working at the task.

Yes, we could have paid someone to paint it top to toe, but let’s face it, the $$ involved in painting a two-storey house is not insignificant. That said, hubby has realised his limits – like a double height ceiling – and has called in a professional to do some of the tasks.

The other day he was walking the contractor through and showing them what had been done and what remained. It dawned on him – he had achieved a lot. Then the magic happened, he was no longer overwhelmed by the task around him.

Do these sound familiar in your success journey?

How often are you so focused on the goal that you forget the journey? How often do you concentrate on all the things you’re yet to do that you forget those you’ve achieved? How often do you lament those you’ve not been able to accomplish that you miss out on the hurdles you’ve crossed?

It doesn’t matter how often I tell my hubby that he’s too hard on himself, he won’t see it because he has such high standards. We’re no different as business owners. Our need to exceed expectations, grow our businesses, achieve our goals blind us to just how far we’ve come.

What can you do to overcome overwhelm and celebrate all success?

I use a weekly celebration post in my Facebook Group to openly celebrate our achievements. There are no rules around it. Some weeks I write ‘surviving school holidays’ because that is an achievement when you’ve got school-aged kids.

I’ve been bullet journaling since the start of July (the new financial year) and each weekly layout details the tasks for the week and includes a gratitude spot. At a glance I can see all that I have achieved, personally and professionally, and a piece of gratitude. I don’t judge how many crosses I have made, some weeks are harder than others. What it does give me is a visual reminder of just how far I have come.

I’ve got a task for you.

I want you to grab a pen and paper or the voice recorder on your phone and I want you to list the things you’ve done today, this week, this month.

I want you to look around the room, look at the photos, look at the trinkets, look at your family at think of how far you’ve come.

I want you to celebrate you and your achievements. If you start thinking of all that is left to do or left undone, stop and refocus on the things you have achieved.

You deserve to celebrate your achievements. You are accomplished. You are a success.

business bullying

There is a growing trend online in attacking business owners. Frankly I’m sick of it. I’m not talking about disagreeing on things or complaining about a product or service. What I am talking about is the growing incidence of bullying of business owners online. So what do I mean?

The Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) define cyberbullying as:

Cyber-bullying or stalking occurs when someone engages in offensive, menacing or harassing behaviour through the use of technology. It can happen to people at any age, anytime, and often anonymously.

Examples of cyber-bullying include:

  • posting hurtful messages, images or videos online
  • repeatedly sending unwanted messages online
  • sending abusive texts and emails
  • excluding or intimidating others online
  • creating fake social networking profiles or websites that are hurtful
  • nasty online gossip and chat, and
  • any other form of digital communication which is discriminatory, intimidating, intended to cause hurt or make someone fear for their safety.

They also go on to say that while not all cyberbullying is criminal, there are penalties of up to $30 000 or 3 years imprisonment for serious offences. They also say that all Australian states & territories have laws against stalking.

So while all of these legal protections are in place, my concern is actually why it happens in the first place and what business owners can do.

So while ACORN list what bullying is, it’s interesting to look into what fuels the behaviour. Especially when it’s unprovoked by the business owner. What do I mean by unprovoked? I’m talking about instances where the business owner is bullied by someone who hasn’t bought a product or service and experienced poor workmanship or service. In fact, the often benefit from the free material and their attacks are personal in nature. They could have consumed a whole liturgy of free material, without fear or favour, and then attack the business owner out of the blue.

So why do people bully?

The person doing the bullying wants power or control over the person they are bullying.

But what drives their need for control or power?

I will continue to say that we have 5 key motivators: beliefs, fears, needs, goals, and values. When we become out of sync with these motivators we become stressed and this can manifest in many ways. The two main ways we manifest stress is either internally or externally. Bullies are externalising this imbalance.

So some researchers say that the need for power comes from stress, trauma, learnt behaviours, insecurities. Some of this is an expression of fear. Fear of losing someone, fear of losing control. Some of this is a poor belief and value structure. That could be low self-esteem, that the business owner should be able to take it, that it’s online so it doesn’t matter, that you can’t read tone into online comments so it’s ok.

What I believe is that while they have fallen out of sync with their core motivators, they have also dehumanised the business owner to the business. The sad thing is that they want to be seen as an individual. They are generally personally affronted by something the business owner has done and attacks because they don’t feel like an individual, doing precisely what they feel has been done to them – dehumanised.

In the end, we need to realise that regardless of if the relationship between the business owner and the individual is going well or is a bullying one, we need to remember that there is a person at either end of this. Dehumanising is destructive. To fight this, I encourage business owners to stand up against this. Report the bullying activity to the social media platform (if the bullying is on the platform), report it to the Internet Service Provider if it’s via email, report it to the police, and/or report it to ACORN.

Finally I want to encourage the community as a whole to reclaim the term keyboard warrior from these people. These bullies are not warriors. Warriors protect, defend, and serve. Warriors are strong. I want those who stand up against online bullying to claim the term ‘keyboard warrior’, for we are the warriors in this.

Making the most of the spare time

It’s no secret that I was not happy about being flat out crazy busy during school holidays. I wish I could say it was because I was out having fun with my kids – but it wasn’t. Now they’re back and it’s quiet. Not the, thank goodness I can do what I want quiet, but the where have all the customers gone quiet.

Ok, so the customers haven’t dried up. I still have all the same customers. I’ve also negotiated and outsourced some work I would normally do myself – and it’s all with the contractors at the moment.

But I look down at my plan of what I am doing this week, I think back to what I did last week, and I look up at what I have planned for the quarter… and I scratch my head.

Where has all this spare time come from?

I know, I know, I should be enjoying it – and I am. I am also a little wary of the quietness. The other day I spoke with a girlfriend who has a highpower corporate position and I mentioned the quiet time and she reminded me of something:

“Kara, make the most of it!”

 

I had forgotten this. In my corporate days I knew there would be times where all my own work was in hand and other work was out with other people & I was waiting for it to come back. I used to tell myself the same thing. Make the most of it.

So what do you do when you find spare time on your hands, more than a spare hour or two? How do you constructively fill a few days when you’re waiting on things?

This is where I use my planning tools, in all honesty. What are my aims for this month, quarter, year? I will work my way up to the highest level goals to see what I can be doing in this time to achieve these goals. These quieter times are great to get stuck into a meatier piece of this work.

Re-evaluate

Take some time out to have a look at your numbers. How have you gone? Is there something which could/should be performing better than it is? What can you do about that? Is there something you’ve been repeatedly putting off and this time could be used to tackling it once and for all? Or, do you actually need to do it at all and save yourself some more time?

Tackle an idea

Do you have an ideas jar? You know, somewhere to capture those brilliant ideas that you can do when you get-a-round-to-it? Pull one at random  and tackle that sucker.

Plan

Seems a bit counter-intuitive but big blocks of space and time are perfect times to plan for the time ahead!

Create

Create some content. Create some videos. Schedule some social media. Learn a new skill to help you create. Do those things which keep your business ticking but you tend to run out of time to do. Make the most of it.

Chill

Take some time out for you. While many might think that this should be the first & I have to say that after a busy period it is my go-to option, make sure you take some time out for yourself.

It can be a bit odd when you suddenly find yourself with spare time on your hands, but it doesn’t mean that the world is falling down. This breathing space, when put to best use can catapult you further than your busyness ever could.

Make the most of it!

 

PS. If you’re wondering what I’m doing with my spare time… I will be creating – writing more of my book and I am allowing myself the time to let some ideas come to me and re-evaluating & taking action on them. I’m looking forward to showing you what comes of it..

 

Slow down

Slow down! Don’t push! Don’t hurry! Stop hustling! There’s plenty of time and we deserve your best work.

I’m seeing a number of people talking about burn out. People worrying about deadlines. Business owners lost in comparison with their competitors. And I want to scream, “STOP! ENOUGH!”

Recently my kids were on their 2 week Autumn school holidays and normally I will move work to the evenings and work half-days so that we can have time together. Instead, I had pressing deadlines, clients with work which couldn’t be moved, and events that had zero flexibility. I pushed and hustled and pushed some more. Just to get through. And I hated it. All I wanted to do is slow down.

Contrast that with how I feel on my morning walks. After the holidays I made a commitment to a 45 minute walk, alone, before I start work. I even decided that I will start work at 9.30 on those days, sorry clients – I’m on a late start. No hustle, no grind, just at peace with my thoughts. And you know what happens. The ideas rush at me. I don’t have to push. I can slow down and just be and they will come because my mind is still and I am not forcing anything.

Last year a friend suggested that I run a livestreaming challenge. “Too easy”, I thought. I’d been livestreaming for years and had some great hints for how to improve livestreams and get people using the medium. I thought I could have it up in 2-3 weeks. That was enough time right? Oh how wrong I was. It took me 3 months to get the first round out. Why? Because I knew this was a needed and powerful tool and deserved to be done properly. I had to slow down to do it properly.

Too often I see business owners overwhelmed because they had a certain date set in place to deliver a new product or service or something by. They see it looming and they start to stress out.  I want to remind you of a few things:

It’s your business.
You set the timing.

We survived without this new marvellous creation, we can wait. We deserve your best work, not a rush job. We deserve you at your best, not a stressed out and worn out shell of yourself.

Here’s the other thing… creating for your business should not feel rushed, hustled, a chore, or something you need to churn out or through. Slow down. Savour the process. Delay. Refine. Enjoy. We all deserve it.

What I learnt from hiring a coach

At the start of 2017 I knew there were a number of things I ‘had to do’. One of them was to go on a business retreat and get some focus and direction on my business. So I did. I took myself to Sydney for 3 days and I retreated. At the end, the organiser mentioned their coaching program. I didn’t have the money for group coaching, but I knew that I had to have it. I had invested time in my business and I wanted to get things going. So I signed up, this is what I got…

So each fortnight I jump on a group call with my coach, and 3 other women, we listen to the coach’s wisdom and we support & solve the issues we each have faced and plan for the coming week. But that’s what we do, you want to know what I got out of it.

The big one…

I doubled my income the month I decided to start working with my coach. Remember how I said that I didn’t have the money when I made the decision. Well it appeared, and then some! And it kept coming. I’ve gained and lost clients but I haven’t lost income. It keeps coming. I learnt that if I made a commitment to my business, then I would be provided for.

I was held accountable

I do this with my clients but I’m not good with myself. Well guess what, when you’re paying someone and every 2 weeks you have to front them and tell them what you’ve been up to and why you didn’t achieve that really important thing from last week… you better have a really good reason behind it.

I was called on my BS

Now I need this. And it was done with all love and care. But the first few sessions I went into them unprepared. I didn’t know what I wanted help with for the coming fortnight and I rattled off a grocery list, and then some, of my achievements. But I actually wasn’t progressing with my business. I was called out! I then realised that if I was to make the most of the investment, as I had intended, I needed to get real and get honest. You know what happened? The next session I cracked, I cried, I exposed my fears to the group, and from there I grew.  At the end of our sessions for the year, I was thanked for opening up a space where we could be honest and vulnerable. I had lead the way.

I got my shit together

I used to think I had time under control. I was kidding, and let’s face it I still have work to do. My coach told me that ‘my brain isn’t a filing cabinet’ and that I needed to work out a better way to organise my time than my ever growing job list. It was true. Things were slipping by and I was missing client tasks. It wasn’t good. So I found my weekly planner pad and I used the jar/rocks/pebble/sand/water philosophy for my time. Guess what? I had more time than before! I could achieve more.

I could help my clients more

My coach gave us carte blanche to use what we learnt in the sessions with our clients. So I did. What it meant was that I had clients who were able to grow their businesses and secure their family’s financial freedom within a short period of time. Clients went from juggling debt on credit cards and debtors to having all the bills paid, closing off credit card accounts, and having money in the bank.

I learnt about me

I learnt that it was ok to have a niche where no one else was, that was emerging, that being different was ok. Seems odd, but I was always looking to fit into the industry but I wanted to do it differently. I was confounded. That day I was in tears, I learnt that I really only needed 2-3 people who I knew were in the trenches with me and had my back no matter what. I used that, I drew on that. When I went to the US, I discovered just how different I was but how I wasn’t actually alone. There were 3 of us I found, amongst the 21000 people there, who spoke the same language (1 was a keynote & 1 I met in the audience). The more people I spoke to, the more I realised that not only was it ok to be different – I was actually of interest to others in my industry and that being different was my strength.

Good things come

I learnt that with time and space, what I need will come.  I ‘needed’ to move to more coaching and less managing. I was scared. I liked the security of the consistent income. I learnt that I didn’t have to give that away to move to where I was drawn. I could do it incrementally, but I had to let go of it. I had to show up the way I wanted to be seen and offer myself as that. So that is where I’m headed. It has only been since October that I have decided, it’s slow, but the shift is happening. I have been tested by the draw back, but I’m serious in pursuing this passion and I seriously adore what I get out of coaching. So good things are here and more is to come.

Did I expect this outcome? Well I hoped for it. I know that I had seen it in my own clients, but that was ‘different’ in my eyes. I had hoped for the accountability, I had dreamed about the income growth, it was the personal growth that came in 6 short months which has me excited. I’m excited for the year to come, I’m excited for my clients, and I’m excited for me.

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