Here's the thing: intuition

intuitionEvery Friday I post a “here’s the thing” blog. “Here’s the thing” is something my mum (and many other wise people) like to say when they’re about to make a good point. Hopefully these posts are also good points.

I believe that intuition plays a huge part in our lives, but also in business. I believe big businesses underestimate their CEOs’ and employees’ ability to work intuitively. I believe small businesses (especially if they’re creative) run on intuition by necessity. And I believe that if we were all to hone and cultivate our intuition, we’d improve our ability to make the decisions that are right for us.

Let me say more about that bit about small businesses…

We work alone. We work with innovative ideas and iterations that haven’t been seen before.

Time and resources are limited. When we’re making decisions about what colour to use on a product, or whether to put X or Y on Facebook, we work intuitively. Part of that intuition might include using information we’ve processed – consciously or subconsciously – about what worked before.

Yes, we might use research (our own or others’), but we certainly don’t have huge budgets and buckets of time for qualitative and quantitative data processing. For brand agencies, market researchers, and data analysts.

Once we’ve got the best possible information, ultimately most decisions come back to what feels right for us.

And that’s not to say intuition is always the knee-jerk initial reaction we have to a particular problem or decision. Sometimes that’s reserved for fear, or anxiety, or I’m-not-good-enough judgements.

Intuition is the deeper voice, the one that somehow knows, the one you’ve always had to lead you down the right path for you.

Intuition doesn’t care what other people are doing. (Comparison is the thief of joy.) Intuition works exclusively for you and your work.

Intuition is your way of learning, processing and deciding that can’t always be explained immediately. And it’s often quicker than going round the houses in trying to back something up.


Here’s the thing:

Intuition, like any other skill, needs cultivating. It needs practice. It needs conscious attention.

To make it really valuable to you and your business, you need to tend to your intuition, building up the trust you have for yourself.

A few things to try to cultivate your own unique intuition:

1. Think back. Remember a time in recent weeks or months when you made a decision or acted intuitively. How did it feel? How did you know it was the right decision for you? Did you “just know”? Were there still doubts? It could be as simple as deciding which product or image to put on your website’s homepage. What was the impact of your decision? Is there anything your intuition can learn for next time? (Even it’s just – hey, you were spot on!)

2. Make your fears and insecurities conscious so that they don’t get in the way of your intuitive voice. We all have fears and insecurities. And while it often feels like you want to push them down and lock them in a safe 20 leagues under the sea, that actually makes them stronger and more aggressive. As uncomfortable as it might feel, I thoroughly recommend writing out all the fears, worries and insecurities that come up for you in general and regarding specific situations or decisions.

Be really honest, and really specific. (“I’m afraid I’m a fraud, and one day people are going to find out.”)

Notice if and how you catastrophise (“This product will fail, and then no one will like me, and my business will go under.”)

When you’ve got a nice, big list, take it all in. Become aware of how your fears might be your knee-jerk reactions that block your intuition. Be kind to yourself – these fears aren’t “bad”, they’re just beliefs you’ve picked up to try and keep you safe. A little misguided, and ready to be heard but not followed.

3. Sit with your intuition. It really benefits from being respected and listened to. You might choose to meditate, or write down your ideas. You might just think about how you work intuitively while you’re cooking or out for a walk. The more space and intention you can give to this muscle called intuition, the stronger it will get. If you have a wave of inspiration or there’s an idea you can’t shake, write it down, say it out loud. Whatever feels right, even if you can’t back it up right this second. That’s your intuition asking for a louder voice.

Wishing you a wonderful end to the first week of the year, and lots of lovely intuition,



Like the sound of working more closely with your intuition? I’ll be covering it at my Small Creative Business Retreat (20-22 March). A weekend of relaxation, rejuvenation and re-connecting with your business (and your intuition!). What could be better? Book your place now!

My word for 2015: care

May 2015...
Card by afewhometruths

For the last couple of years, I’ve chosen a word for the year. Something that I could use as a reminder when I needed it, or something that I could dive into.

In 2013 it was “wishing” – I wanted to be really honest about what I wished for, what I wanted my life to be like.

For 2014, I chose “trust”. It was time to start trusting myself to make those wishes come true, and to start trusting the universe that things would develop at just the right time.

And blimey, was that true! Those dreams I dreamed in 2013 pretty much all came to fruition in 2014: I left my job, started my business, started a big new relationship, and bought a flat. Whew!

This year, I wanted something a little more gentle, and something that would bring me back to this new life that I’ve created. I’ve been thinking about settling in to the new flat, a new routine, and some new work, and I wanted a word that would speak of getting comfy in this new (mental, emotional, physical) space.

After some ponderings, I chose care.

In 2015, I’m going to care for myself. This new self-employed life allows for midday yoga classes, short runs, carefully cooked lunches, and regular breaks. I’m my own boss, which means I’m in charge of how many breaks I’m allowed and the kind of chair I sit on. But it’s not just work: I’ll be continuing to care for myself physically, emotionally and mentally.

I’m going to care about my clients. I pretty much get to choose who I work with, and generally it’s my policy to work with clients who get me really fire up. In the past 6 months, my clients have been people and businesses I can really get behind. Yes! More of that!

I’m going to care about and tend to my own business. If you run a business, you know that lots of things need regular attention, from your record-keeping to your website. I love the idea of tending to my business, blog and website like I would a garden – with regular care and attention.

And I’m going to be really honest about what I do care about. When I chose “wishing” in 2013, I was ready to be honest with myself about what I wanted, even if I didn’t tell anyone else, ever. Because, like many people, I have moderated my desires so that they’re acceptable to other people. I wanted to please other people more than myself. I often need prompting to just open up to what I really think, what or care about.

And that last bit is what I want to bring to life this year. I’m a passionate person. I care, deeply, about people and principles. I care about doing a good job. I care about finding a great solution, and about finding clarity. I care about supporting small businesses, fully – not just saying it, but actually offering services and support that make a difference.

This year, I will care, and I will show it.

Have you chosen a word for 2015?

I’m incredibly curious about choosing a word in a business context. I chose something that would work for me personally and professionally, but perhaps you just do one or the other?

If you haven’t chosen a word yet, you might like to think about the qualities you want to bring into your life or your business in the next 12 months. I like to have something simple and all-encompassing, but you could also be more specific if that feels good to you.


Do you need some care in 2015?

Whether you’re just starting out or looking for a year that will push your business forward in new ways, I’m here to help. My mentoring services are available, and I have a few spots open right now.

I’m also running The Small Creative Business Retreat in March. It’s going to be an exciting and relaxing long weekend to re-focus your energy on your business. If you’re interested in joining me, please book soon so we don’t run out of space!

Gifts for gift-makers

I’m so excited about supporting small creative businesses over Christmas this year. A lot of my gifts will be purchased this weekend at Renegade Craft Fair, and I’ve already started my online shopping. Woohoo!

I’ve got quite a few secret Pinterest boards and lists of ideas for friends, family and, to be honest, me. But there was another list brewing, one that I feel is very important. It’s a list of awesome gifts for the gift-makers, for small creative businesses, for those running their own business or thinking about it.

It’s a list of awesome gifts for you!

You might want to share this as a subtle hint. You might want leave it open on your laptop while you’re making dinner. Whatever gets their attention…



I love books, and there are thousands of business books out there. These are my current favourites. (I’ve linked to Amazon for convenience and so that you can get ISBNs easily – don’t feel you need to purchase from there!)

Playing Big: Find your voice, your vision and make things happen by Tara Mohr. I just finished this book, and it is wonderful. Thoughtful, practical, encouraging, honest. Tara and I both believe that we’re not people and entrepreneurs separately: we’re whole. And we can’t just brush our fears aside, we have to address them. A great read for those in business, or just starting.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown. I can’t get enough of this book, and I would honestly recommend that absolutely everyone reads it. Brene goes deep into some tough subjects, but she does it with humour and grace. I love it!

Shape Up Your Business: The Founders of Share Their Story in a 30-Day Success Plan and Build a Business from Your Kitchen Table by Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker. Two fabulous books, not least because Holly and Sophie share their own story about And I contributed to them… 😉



the green gables' 2015 wall planner
the green gables’ 2015 wall planner

We’re constantly planning, and when the tools you’re using to plan are beautiful, it makes it even more fun! There are lots of lovely planners out there, and these are some of my favourites.

the green gables produces great wall planners for the week, month and year, which include little positive quotes as part of the Live Happy range. I love having something visual to look at when I’m planning and pondering, and these are ethically produced and eco-friendly. Even better!

This beautiful ‘Live Simply’ planner by amazing designer Katie Daisy makes me so happy. What a treat!

Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map planner. I really like Danielle LaPorte’s idea that the most effective way to plan our lives (and businesses) is to focus on how we want to feel, and this planner is chock full of reminders and questions about our plans and desires. I can’t wait to start using mine.


Stationery essentials

Colourful pen loops from xoxo stationery
Colourful pen loops from xoxo stationery

I use a LOT of stationery, and I know a lot of my clients do too. There’s something really important about getting things down on paper, and in beautiful colours.

These colourful pen loops supplied by xoxo stationery are adhesive, so you can attach them to all your planners, notebooks, and calendars.

Beautiful pens are important, and are needed all the time. I love Uni-ball (green and blue only, thanks). My friend Kelly recently introduced me to Muji pens, which come in lots of fun colours and write really nicely, too.


And, of course, more…

Give the gift of time off, or a bath, or a massage. Do not underestimate how important these things are. Time to plan and ponder is invaluable. Take care of the kids, parents, friends, chores, and let your business-minded other half think and create for a bit.

And I just have to tell this story:

I received an email recently from a gentleman asking if he could buy some of my time and advice for his girlfriend’s 30th birthday. I was so touched! The answer, of course, is yes. I can offer one-off sessions suitable as a Christmas gift, and will be launching a whole host of new services in January. I’m running a retreat in March 2015 – a perfect business development gift. Get in touch if you’d like more info.

I hope you all get just what you need this Christmas,



Enter The Forge

Life's too damn short to chase someone else's definition of success. I'm here to give you the courage and tools to forge your own path.