In this article Kate Griffiths shows you how to reframe the challenges that life presents you and shares a tool that may help you turn your vision into reality. If you are a solopreneur then such challenges often come into focus much more sharply because there is just you, there is nowhere to run and hide. And yay for that! Every challenge is an opportunity to grow and reach your full potential.
On Friday, I went to an event with the intention of building a relationship with someone that a colleague had introduced me to and I thought that the presentations would be inspirational. There were some great speakers but what I had not realised was that it was an event that was hosted by the firm’s Muslim network so the attendees were predominantly Muslim. I was one of the few white people in the audience, which was rather a novel experience but took me back to my diversity days when this happened more often.
The main learning for me was the importance of preparation. It would have been helpful if I had found out more about the purpose of the event which would have given me the information to determine whether the event was the right one for me. Also as a foodie, I was starving by the end because it ran from 6-10pm and the organisers decided to serve only Danish pastries. Next time I will ask what food is on the menu and take a banana if there is nothing suitable. So what did I learn from the speakers?
The highlight was Darren Cheesman, a field hockey International player, who spoke some amazing truths that were tough to hear. He is at the top of his game and he got there through hours of practice. Initially he did eight sessions of hockey in six days from the age of 11. Then three years later, he did a further four early morning sessions each week to ensure that he got into the under 16 team. He had a goal which kept him going and that was to become part of the Olympic squad. He broke that down into milestones and went for it, supported by a mentor. 16 years later, he is still waiting for the chance to play in the Olympic squad but he has not given up on his goal and he puts his trust in his faith.
There is a lot to take from that experience. Darren’s experience mirrors what Malcolm Gladwell wrote in Outliers about the 10,000 hour rule. We become expert at what we practise. It takes focus, determination and hard work but it pays off in the end. Such dedication can be joyless and lonely at times, which is why so many people decide not to follow through in the end and then find excuses as to why their business/ relationship etc failed. Yet it is all about designing a step-by-step process to follow and having a mentor helps.
The beauty of it all is that clarity and progress can come on the outside when we have inner stability which comes from developing a process or spiritual practice. There are so many systems that you can follow that include everything from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way through to Sven Hansen’s evidence based programme on how to be a resilient leader. The key is finding a system that works for you. I like Andy Pakula’s five seeds of wholeness approach, which is based on developing compassion, connection, generosity, gratitude and mindfulness.
When you have your system then it is about finding a way of making it come alive for you. Journalling is good for this or a private facebook group or other online tool. As you build up your daily practice, start noticing what is changing in your own life. Heightened self-awareness gives us knowledge of the habits and patterns that we have that no longer serve of us for example.
So if you are game, take the challenge below:
Using the five seeds to wholeness, make some time in each day to focus on at least one of the seeds. This could take the form of eating a meal mindfully; showing yourself some compassion rather than berating yourself for not getting through your to do list; connecting with a stranger through a smile or taking an interest in someone who is providing you with a service by finding out their name; carrying out an act of generosity for another; or noting down something you are grateful for and putting it in your gratitude jar (the photo above is of the Gratitude Jar I made with my children which was full of rich memories and only possible because of the generosity of Vickie Humber from HumbersHomemade). Alternatively start a new habit like doing a mindful walk each day/ week either on your own or with others.
If you find this hard, get yourself an accountability partner or a coach. Remember that when you start a new habit, it can feel uncomfortable and strange and it will take 21 to 30 days to become a regular part of who you now are so keep persevering.
If you take up the challenge be sure to share what you discover in the comments below. If you already have a practice please share about what you use or answer this question. How much do you find having an inner process leads to clarity on the outside?
Kate Griffiths is a qualified coach, speaker, community leader and writer, who is fascinated by the power of conversation. She teaches business owners, leaders and teams how to communicate effectively to build stronger relationships and thereby improve the possibilities for innovation and collaboration.
Kate is also the Community Relations Director of the 7 Graces Project, a thriving community and emerging social enterprise. The aim of the 7 Graces Project will be to provide an educational alternative and business incubator for a new generation of ethical, community-focused businesses.