Bloom: my word for 2016

Bloom: my word for 2016Can you believe it’s 2016 already? In fact, can you believe it’s the 20th January? Crikey!

For the past three years, inspired by Susannah Conway and close friends, I’ve chosen a word for the year. A word to help guide me as I move through the year. In 2013, it was “let go”. In 2014, I chose “trust”. Last year, I decided on “care”. This year, it’s “bloom”.

When I look back at those words, I can see how I started with letting go of old beliefs and things that held me back, moved on to trusting myself and the universe as I started to dream of and create a new life and business for myself.

And of course this feels like a wonderful opportunity to check in with how care influenced last year for me. Having created a new home, a new business, started a new relationship in 2014, I was ready for some care in 2015. I was ready to care for myself, for my home, and for my clients. I was ready to explore what I needed to feel cared for. I also wanted to feel free to care about whatever I cared about – to follow my heart’s lead, rather than the things I “should” care about.

It worked! And it all unfolded in ways I couldn’t have predicted. I invested more in the yoga I love in order to care for my body. I threw myself into the work I love, and allowed myself to care about creating a really beautiful, nourishing retreat. I re-discovered how much I love to work with small businesses, with women, with like-minded folk.

And, at the end of the year, I’m not really done with care. There are ways in which I haven’t yet cared for myself. I’m still working on them. Care, like trust and letting go, has weaved its way into my values and thought processes. Which I thoroughly recommend, by the way. Caring for myself has led to better care of my partner, my home, my clients and my business. Check out last year’s Pinterest board if you’re looking for inspiration on how to invite in more care.

So what can I tell you about bloom?

It feels exciting. It feels expansive. It feels beautiful and feminine and gentle – and yet powerful.

In a session with my coach, Rachel, she suggested limitless as a potential word for 2016. Well, that was terrifying. But I knew what she was getting at: I’ve created this business, I’ve laid down the roots, and now I’m ready to take it to the next level, to expand in all kinds of ways I can’t even predict yet.

I can’t remember exactly where bloom came into my awareness, but I’m so glad it did! All that growth and expansion, but with real beauty and gentleness.

I love that it’s impossible to bloom without roots and nourishment.

I love the idea of blooming into a full expression of myself.

There are delicious quotes about blooming:

“Bloom where you are planted.”

“Happiness blooms from within.”

“She was learning to silence the noise and reawaken her own bright bloom.” (Kelly Rae Roberts) (And I do love a word that’s a verb and a noun…)

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.”

“Nothing in nature blooms all year – be patient with yourself.”

Don’t they feel hopeful? In fact, don’t they feel full of live in general? To feel alive, that’s what bloom feels like to me.

Of course, I started a Pinterest board for this year, too. I’ll keep adding to it throughout the year as I discover more about what bloom means for me. I can’t wait!

And what about you?

Do you have a word for the year? Have you chosen one before? Is there something you’re ready to invite in to your life and business? Do you fancy joining me in blooming?

I’d love to hear!

Jx

Here's the thing: think long-term for Christmas

Think long-term this ChristmasIt’s a funny time of year, November.

You might be finding, like several of my clients, that Christmas sales are slow so far, that Christmas is following a pattern of getting later each year. That, perhaps, customers are now expecting Black Friday in all its dark, looming glory.

I remember saying, back in April, that it’s still possible to launch great products, talk about them, and sell them for Christmas, without all the forward planning that’s expected and primed by journalists and bigger companies. I still believe that, though time is kind of at its last now. (Translation: if you want to sell something for Christmas, you should probably have it live and finished now.)

In that post from earlier in the year, and with much of my work, I aim to help clients and readers juggle priorities, often between short-term, deal-with-it-right-now, get-the-sales-in stuff and long-term stuff of dreams. I often talk about the difference between urgent and important (more on this below), which we tend to muddle up in the day to day.

At Christmas, over the coming weeks, it usually becomes purely about the short-term. It’s time to just get the orders out, just keep on top of stock levels, just make and sell – no long-term planning, nothing particularly strategic, save for the odd strategic coffee run.

I get that, and I encourage it. Please avoid trying to write your five year business planning in the next eight weeks!

But.

(You knew there was a but coming, right?)

But, I do truly encourage you to keep a little notebook to hand, or a spreadsheet open, to make a note of the things that happen each day during the Christmas sales period. A place to write down how sales are going, how many hours your and your staff did that day, how your stock levels are going, whether you were featured, whether you ran out of anything or encountered any disasters (from staff being sick to the postman turning up late to running out of printer ink).

Keeping records like this, making notes of the learnings as they happen, will help you to dissect more accurately what went well and what didn’t at Christmas. Past experience helps us to anticipate future experience, and knowing what you could do differently next year will help you infinitely.

I posted a little note about this of Facebook earlier in the week, and Betsy Benn made herself a snazzy notebook, which I’m sure she’d happily share, should you wish:

After @jenny_hyde post yesterday I made me one of these! Let me know if you’d like one!

A photo posted by Betsy Benn (@betsybenn) on

 

Here’s the thing:

Yes, get completely stuck into the day to day over Christmas. Focus purely on orders and keeping going.

But, out of the corner of one eye, in a little space in your heart, know that there is a whole future beyond Christmas that’s worth a little of your time.

Think of keeping notes as a way of sending messages to your future self. (You can pretend to be in Back To The Future if it helps…) “Ran out of wrapping paper.” “Supplier not picking up, and extended lead times.” “Staff member sick, so calling in the cavalry (mum).”

Whatever your experiences are, you’ll appreciate being able to read them back in black and white after Christmas, so that you can remember them accurately and make plans based on facts, as well as feelings.

A little note on urgent and important:

  • Take a black page or piece of paper
  • Divide it into four quarters
  • Across the top, mark the columns as ‘urgent’ and ‘not urgent’
  • Down the right hand side, mark the rows as ‘important’ and ‘not important’
  • You now have four segments to fit your to do list into:
    • urgent and important
    • urgent, not important (like replying to a Facebook message, or dealing with a sales call – it’s happening right now, but it’s not helping your business)
    • important, not urgent (all the things that are going to make a difference to your business, but fall to them bottom of the list)
    • not urgent and not important (most social media, or piddling about)

We tend to get caught up in what’s important, but the wiser businesswoman shifts her gaze to what’s important, and not urgent, because that is usually where the most value lies.

Wherever you’re at, whatever your Christmas plans, I wish you all the best in the coming weeks. I’ll be here, should you stumble or need a clear thought. And I hope you keep track of what you’re up to.

Jx

On getting bogged down

On getting bogged downHello dear blog readers, clients, colleagues, friends, and other people of the internet.

The past couple of weeks haven’t been super easy around these parts. I didn’t quite get my ‘Here’s the thing’ blog out of Friday for a number of reasons, so today I thought I’d go off-piste and send out a blog post that’s a little off-the-cuff, a little raw, and a little more honest.

There have been some things that have hit me hard these past two weeks. We had a small (everyone’s fine) car accident in which a man opened his door into ours while we were moving, which shook me up a bit, and has taken some faff to get the car fixed. Not easy, not expected, and the sort of thing that just unsettles me.

I’ve had quite a bit of work on – lots of you are preparing for Christmas! – and I’ve been jumping from one thing to another very quickly which isn’t, I realise, a sustainable way for me to work. Once again, I’m learning about my own capacity and preferred ways of working. I’m by no means perfect, which still has the ability to kick me in the recovering perfectionist places.

I’m also doing something very exciting and brave – I’m training with Tara Mohr as part of her Playing Big Facilitators’ Training Programme. It’s a six-month stint of exploring how I can help people (mostly women) to play bigger. I’m committed to learning more about what I can do, how I can help, and what I want my business to look like, so this feels like the right time to dive in.

But oh boy, the first course module is on the inner critic, which is decidedly kicking me where it hurts! The past week has been a masterclass for me in how we can lose confidence in what we’re doing, how we talk to ourselves when things go wrong, and how we can get sucked in to the spiral of doom. Thank goodness for the tools I’m (slowly) learning, and for Tara’s approach!

So, my dear friends and clients and readers and others. I don’t have anything sparkling or wise right now, other to say that, I’m human too. I struggle, I work things out. Life hits me sometimes.

Today, I am going gently, because I can feel the cold I’ve been fighting off for weeks just tipping over into setting in, and because I need to go slowly in order to learn how to bounce back from the inner critic / spiral of doom.

I’m starting to believe, more and more, that we have the capacity to figure things out ourselves, that we have the answers, if we dare to listen to them. I’m getting clearer on the work I want to do – but I’m not quite ready to talk about it yet. I know I will be, and that will have to be enough for me for now.

With care

Jenny x

 

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