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A Raw Review Of 2016

 

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I’m a bit behind the curve on this one. There were a bunch of review posts in December and alas, I missed the boat. But here I am, better late than never.

I’m not going to do the usual ‘business review’, I want to go deeper. Deeper into my psyche, deeper into my fears and blocks, deeper into the things I think, will show and teach you so much more than me listing all the things that went well for me in 2016. THIS is where you really learn. 

2016 was my year of transformation. There were ups, there were downs, I laughed, cried, failed and won. I doubled my income. Created two amazing new packages that I’m hugely proud of, grew my team to five. I took my business to another level and now that I’m there I’m fearful and exhilarated at the same time.

I have big plans for 2017, HUGE plans, which scare the bejesus out of me. But that’s OK. One of the things I learned in 2016 is that this feeling is perfectly normal. Even for the most successful entrepreneurs, this is the norm. The time I don’t feel scared when I’m moving to the next level is the time I will stop doing this thing called business. But until then, here’s my raw review … 

 

Kicking my fear of visibility to the curb

One of my big things for 2016 was to overcome my fear of visibility. Most people had no idea I had this, as I covered it well, but it caused huge anxiety for me. I’ve always been quite fearful of putting myself out there, preferring to hide behind my clients and push them into the limelight. On the odd occasion I did do a speaking gig, I had to do a fair amount of work on myself to walk out onto the stage. 

So imagine how I felt when 4ish years ago I walked onto a stage to speak at an event and lost my voice. It was horrible. HORRIBLE. And since then I hadn’t agreed to any speaking gigs as it amplified my fear of visibility to ridiculous levels.

With that little anecdote in mind, you might be grasping the depth of this fear of mine and how hard it would be to overcome.

But I did it. I agreed to two public speaking gigs, podcast guest spots and did a number of videos and live streams. I felt sick before ALL of them. But ALL of them I loved after I’d done them. 

And now? I still get a little scared but I’m much, much better. Which is handy considering what I do for a living. 

Never assume (it makes an ass out of u and me)

I had a horrible habit of internalising things. Previously if someone didn’t respond to an email or Facebook comment, I assumed I’d done something wrong. If I wasn’t included in something, I wondered ‘why not me?’. If a prospect decided not to work with me, I made it all about me. 

The thing is, there are so many variables at work here. So many reasons for these things. The reason I made up in my head was just one of hundreds. But THAT was the one I chose, and THAT was the one I obsessed about. I was being an ass. 

It was exhausting me. So much so that I needed to tackle it head on. 

I dug, really really deep. I explored why I cared so much. Why it hurt so much. It came down to a deep-rooted belief I’d had since I was a child. One so common I should’ve guessed immediately.

I am not enough.

Yup, that old chestnut. I’d had this belief for years and had been working on it, but it seeps back into my psyche and affects so many things. So I started to tackle my thought processes that created it. Every time I ‘assumed’, I explored. I applied logic, I used EFT to clear the belief, I was kinder to myself (because, man, it hurt) and I started to make decisions based purely on fact. Not on assumptions, but on fact. 

It hasn’t disappeared completely, and will likely always be a work in progress, but learning not to ‘assume’ was a big lesson for me in 2016 and one I’ll continue with. 

Trust in yourself

The logical side of my brain KNOWS that I’m very good at what I do. I have over 16 years experience, I’ve worked with some amazing clients who sing my praises and come back time after time, the two packages I launched last year are a huge success, I’m regularly sought out by journalists and event organisers. That’s all rosy.

BUT, the more sensitive side of my brain questions if I’m good enough (yup, that again). 

2016 was a year of introspection for me and I needed to work on this. I needed to remove this questioning voice in my head and get myself back to a place where I completely and utterly trusted myself again.

Much of this comes from what I call ‘comparitis’. Which is the act of constantly comparing yourself to others. Which is NEVER going to end well.

I made a decision to stop doing this. To accept that what I shared with the world was great. How I showed up in the world was great. And it helped.

Once I read this blog from Denise Duffield Thomas: Don’t be a Guru – Be a contributor, I gave myself permission to be happy with my contribution and just. stop. worrying.

And my friends, it really worked! 

Trust in others

This is a biggie for me. I’ve been hurt many times in my life. By people I truly trusted. In ways I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Sadly this led to a natural mistrust of people. It’s like a shield (if anyone remembers Batfink, it’s a bit like that). That shield of mistrust kept me safe and less likely to be hurt. Or so I thought. 

The thing is, it also harmed my relationships, both personally and professionally.

So I decided to switch things around. To trust first. To give people a chance before assuming (there it is again) that I couldn’t trust them.

It’s a simple mindset shift, but it’s been great.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a few people do things that have hurt me in 2016. People I put my trust in who took my ideas, copied my work, tried to steal my clients. But here’s the thing, I’m indifferent to it and no longer worry. If that’s how they operate, I don’t want them in my life as they just don’t align with my values.

Once I stopped worrying about what ‘could’ happen I felt much better. It’s a much healthier place to be.

Don’t compete, collaborate

Us business owners can become obsessed with our competitors. We’re bombarded by their amazing ads claiming amazing things. It makes us feel rubbish. Like we’re missing out. Like we should change our strategy altogether and do what they’re doing.

The thing is, we all curate our best lives online. Showing only ALL OF THE GOOD THINGS and much less of this real, raw stuff. So making decisions for your own business based on what you see online isn’t a solid strategy.

Look, I’m not saying you shouldn’t keep an eye on the competition, regular reviews of the landscape is a sensible thing to do. But obsessing over it isn’t.

So I made a decision last year to seek out those competitors I truly admire, those that share my values, and approach them to collaborate. It has resulted in new services, new income streams, future partnerships and some amazing lessons.

It’s much nicer, trust me.

Understand your blocks

Blocks. We all have them. Those pesky little uncomfortable feelings that stop us from taking that next step. More often than not we have no idea what’s actually happening, just that we feel a little tetchy, or anxious or nervous or develop full blown flu!

These blocks, or ULPs, are so in tune with our bodies that they can cause havoc. If you’ve not come across the term ULP before it stands for Upper Limit Problem and they showed up a lot for me last year.

At first I had no idea that was happening, but once I did, I read a great book called The Big Leap which goes into detail about ULPs, helps you to understand what’s doing on and how to deal with it. Once I got my head around this, I tackled each block or ULP head on as it happened. Spending time delving into it, investigating what was going on and tapping on it (tapping is another term for Emotional Freedom Technique which is an odd but hugely effective way of clearing these types of blocks, go here for more).

Tune into your body and your mind and work with it to clear the path to success my friends, it’s the only way.

Understand your strengths and weaknesses

One thing I was doing in 2016, and the lead-up, was trying to do EVERYTHING. I’m both a perfectionist and a control freak, so this kicks-in and takes over, which means I try to do every single little thing. And I’m probably not that good at some of them. 

But that doesn’t work. Time is wasted on activities that are better handled by someone else. It also means I’m not working fully in my area of genius, plus I’m not able to scale.

So I put my control freak perfectionist ways aside and worked out what my strengths and weaknesses were. I worked out where I should be spending my time to make money and grow the business, and where I should be outsourcing my weaker areas to people who are far better at them.  

I now have an amazing team and I’m currently working on fully empowering them to manage their areas of my business (so I can focus on growing it).This has been a game changer for me, and will be a huge help to the business in the long run.

Over committing is the devils works

Hello, my name is Gemma and I’m an over-committer. Or at least I was. You see I spent a lot of 2016 exhausted.

In the summer I read a book that changed the way I plan my business. The book was The 12 Week Year and it was a game changer for me. I got far more done in 90 days than I used to in double the time.

But I still had an issue that I hadn’t spotted. I was a terrible over-committer. 

I thought I could do more in one day than was possible, which left me chasing my tail.

This is one I still struggle with, but I’m trying to better manage my daily activities to allow plenty of time to do what I need to. I’m all about ease and flow in 2017. It feels much better too.  

Self-care is REALLY important

This follows on nicely from the last point. To get high quality work out, you need to invest in yourself. And that means taking care of YOU.

Now this isn’t just about taking yourself off to a spa (although that IS good). But allowing yourself time in the morning to ease into work. Taking time to walk in the fresh air. Ensuring you eat healthily. Drinking plenty of water. Exercise. Allowing time to unplug and step away from work. Reading a good book.

Part of my self-care improvement was creating more mindfulness. So I created a morning routine where I spend 20 minutes writing out what I’m grateful for, what I need to forgive (more often than not it was forgiving myself), I then create EFT scripts to tap on the things I need to forgive and then journal about the life I want to manifest for myself. It creates such a positive feeling and is a great way to start the day.

I added a high protein breakfast, which always sets me up for the day and gives me the ‘brain food’ I need to give me a kickstart, daily juicing and time out to walk the dog (I’m blessed to live in the middle of the UK countryside, so this is a wonderful way to get back to nature). 

I’m still working on the self-care, but I’m getting better.

Know your money

The money side of my business has always been a weakness of mine. I don’t keep track nearly as often as I should and really don’t enjoy it. 

I’m very lucky that the money side of my business ticks along nicely, however I made a plan to expand and grow in 2016 and this money system (or lack of it) just wouldn’t work any more.

Reporting your business finances is imperative. As business owners we need to know our figures. We need to know our forecasts. Our cost of sales. Our profit. 

I realised later in 2016 that I’d never create my own system of doing this as I too easily put it aside, so I’m currently arranging to hand it over to my accountant, who will manage the bookkeeping and send me regular reports so I know exactly what’s coming into the business, what’s going out and how we’re doing in terms of targets. 

This feels like a much better solution for me, in fact I’m quite excited about it. 

Know yourself

Getting clear on who YOU are in this business world is so important. Getting clear on your values. What you will and won’t do. What you will and won’t accept. All of these things ground you and give you a solid base from which to perform. Your values (your true values) should permeate across everything that you do. They should guide you, protect you and be the pillars across your content.

I have a fantastic Business Strategy Workbook I use for my clients and my business which I’ve just been through for my 2017 Strategy. I used my values when I was strategising and thinking about my plan for this year. If what I was thinking didn’t sit with my values, then I didn’t include it. They provide a great filter for keeping you true to YOU, so if you’re not clear on those. Get on it, my friend.

(P.S. The Business Strategy Workbook will be on sale soon. I’m just putting the finishing touches on it.)

Finish stuff

I’m a classic unfinisher. I start a book and rarely make it to the end. I buy a course and rarely finish it. I get distracted by shiny new toys and then boom, I forget about it. 

I become agitated by this in 2016, and I’ve made myself a promise to start less and finish more. I have a pile of books I know will expand my knowledge, so I’m starting there. 

Judging says more about you than the person you’re judging

I created a filter for myself last year called the ‘unjudge’.

You see it’s so, so easy to see content from other people and slip into judgement mode. We’ve all done it. But I didn’t like how I felt when I judged. It didn’t sit right with my core value of ‘integrity’. So I sat with my judgements and realised that it said more about me than the person I was judging. Usually it’s a sign of another emotion going on: jealousy, envy, sadness, anger, disagreement. So I tried to hook into that emotion to see what was really going on. 

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I just completely disagree with what the person’s saying and that’s OK. But often I was feeling another emotion. Envious that I wasn’t doing what that person was doing. Sad that they’d achieved something that I hadn’t. Acknowledging these feelings and then dealing with them is the best way to snap out of it and turn that feeling around into a more positive one. Give the ‘unjudge’ filter a go, you might just prefer it. 

Done is better than perfect

I’ve already mentioned that I’m a dreadful perfectionist. DREADFUL. Last year when I was creating my academy this was very apparent.

My academy is big .. BIG .. and I couldn’t stop myself from tweaking, experimenting, redesigning and generally wasting time on it. I could’ve launched it to the world so much sooner, but I kept thinking ‘it’s just not quite ready … yet’.

Thankfully I had a big word with myself, as this perfectionism serves no purpose. I created a new mantra ‘Done is better than perfect’ and I now keep this front of mind when my perfectionist rears her head. 

Planning is great, but sometimes the best things are unplanned

Although I’m a huge, huge advocate of planning (and include this in my coaching practices), I’ve become aware of allowing an element of flexibility into my business, to allow for those unplanned things. Those moments of genius that strike, and you just have to follow up.

Two of my biggest hits in 2016 were totally unplanned. My mastermind, which I bloody love, was an idea I had in March last year and by June it was launched, sold and started. My academy, which I also bloody love, was an idea I had just before summer and it was designed, created and launched by November. Both were a light-bulb moments, both were in full alignment, and both are making me money. 

My message here is this. Plan your business, but be agile enough to act on light-bulb moments when they hit. Because when they hit, man, they’re good!

 

So that’s my Raw Review. I hope it connected with you in some way. If it did I’d LOVE to hear about it in the comments. I’d also LOVE to hear some of your own Raw Reviews too. 

 

The right traffic is the LIFE BLOOD of your business.

Grab these tried and tested tips and give your business the boost it deserves.

It's free!