The Staff Meeting

“I think there needs to be a meeting to set an agenda for more meetings about meetings.” 
~ Jonah Goldberg

My PA, Trish Lyons, turned up at the farm yesterday afternoon so we could have a staff meeting.

Staff meetings are important. We feel we approached it the right way.

The first thing we did was have a cup of tea.

flowers from my garden

Then we went for a walk and fed the cows.

The sun was getting low in the sky by then so we made a snacks platter, got the log fire going and got a roast dinner ready for the oven.

We then ate the snacks platter and the roast dinner.

After which it was time for bed.

Today Trish will have a sleep-in while I go down to Byron Bay to get some acupuncture and Lyme treatment. Then we’ll regroup, make more cups of tea and sit on the verandah with our notebooks and flipcharts and a Zoom hotline to Love, our other team member who can’t join us in person (We miss you, Miss Love!).

One of the most important things I have learned is that if you wouldn’t invite a person to your home, or share a meal at your table with them, then they’re not the right person for your business.

I’m really blessed to have a great work team who are also my good friends.

Today we’ll finalise our gorgeous new 2020 Planner before it goes to the printer, our courses and program for the rest of this year and our new Academy of Learning for 2020. I’ll update you as soon as we’re done! I imagine this will be a multi-cup-of-tea and snacks kind of day.

Much love to you, Nicole xoxo

Top 10 Tips for Planning a Successful 2015

Image from 2regularguys.com

Image from 2regularguys.com

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

 

Well here we are, in the opening pages of a fresh new year. As some of you will already know, I’ve allocated this week for my own personal planning summit. I’ve always found that a little bit of planning goes a long way towards helping me achieve my dreams and round out my year in a fulfilling way.

So, what do you need to do to make this next year really count?
Most people start the year strong, and then slacken off, so here are my top ten tips for planning a year brimful of wins!
1. Start 2015 by ditching New Year’s Resolutions, and choose a Power Word instead. A power word is a word to focus your intentions and energies, so that it informs and advises everything you do. This year my word is BUILD. Don’t have a power word of your own yet? Go here to get that power word sorted. Want to make it even more powerful? Do my power word meditation.
2. Goals for the year? Only pick one or two important things, and develop habits around these things so that it changes your life. Break your goal down into small actionable steps – daily tasks and weekly tasks, all incorporated as part of your new routine.
3. Three MITs for each day. An MIT is a Most Important Task. Each day, right from the word go, know what your three most important activities will be. Then get them done! Prioritize them to get done first in your day – then, no matter what else happens, you’ll know that you’ve got your MITs out of the way.
4. Schedule time for maintenance or delegate it out. We often forget to allocate time to the things that keep the show on the road. It could be household maintenance; cooking, cleaning, yard care, decluttering. It could be personal maintenance; trips to the dentist, getting your hair done, buying clothes, having that massage or back adjustment. It might be relationship maintenance; time with your partner, time to hang out with friends, time for family or pets. When we don’t make time for maintenance or plan for someone else to do it, we pile pressure upon ourselves because we have the expectation that we’ll get EVERYTHING done in our ‘free time’, and seriously, who ever gets much of that? (Also, if you jam free time full of jobs, it defeats the purpose of ‘free’ time.)
5. Surround yourself with great people. Get yourself a team. Your team might be coaches, advisers, staff, contractors, books, courses, online groups or friends who uplift you. It might be the babysitter, the accountant, the writing group, the yoga instructor, the super-knowledgeable guy at the health-food store. Success is so much easier when we have support. Ditch the negative people and people who bring you down. They were never going to be helpful anyway.
6. Focus. Let go of whatever is unimportant. If there’s something you really want to get done this year, put that thing ahead of everything else. Build your self-confidence by keeping that promise to yourself. Develop a track record in consistency. Every overnight success I ever met was a long time in the making, and got there through focus and consistency!
7. Remind yourself of your power word and review your goals daily. It only takes a minute, but keeping your goals uppermost in your mind will help revolutionise your choices and priorities. When you need to take action or make a decision, check in with your power word and goals. Then ask yourself if that decision or action moves you closer to or further away from your goals and power word.  Have a mini-planning review each month to keep yourself focused and organised.
8. Schedule regular R and R. Rest and Recreation. Total and complete days off. You. Your family. Unplugged. Birthdays and celebrations. Holidays. They all need to go into your calendar FIRST before your year fills up. It’s about quality of life. Right?
9. Know your starting point. Do a Year In Review for 2014. Look at what worked and what didn’t. Know what you own, and what you owe. Know your expected expenses. Know where your money came from. Look at what paid off, and what didn’t. Learn from your existing track record of successes and failures. Write it all down. That way, at the end of 2015, you’ll be able to see just how far you’ve come.
10. Slow down. Breathe deeply. Practice kindness and gratitude. Repeat. 🙂
2015 can be a real game changer for you, so dream big and give it your all.
Bless xx

Image from lifehack.org

Image from lifehack.org

Lyme and Making Plans

“She had learned the lesson of renunciation and was as familiar with the wreck of each day’s wishes as with the diurnal setting of the sun.” 
~ Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge

“Success is when everything that goes wrong, fits in your plan.” 
~ Gary Rudz

 

When I was diagnosed, finally, with Lyme disease, back in January 2013, we did a lot of shuffling of plans. A much-looked-forward-to holiday was called off. I cancelled workshops and retreats. My clever PA began adding a footnote to each appointment she made for me, letting people know that I was being treated for Lyme and that I may need to reschedule their session at short notice, depending upon my health on the day.

I’ve had to do a lot of that anyway, in my adult life. Cancel things. Say no. Pull out at the last minute. Always because of unreliable health. Too often that has made me the unreliable friend, family member, or neighbour. The only area I have managed to be mostly reliable has been work. But doing that has meant creating a business where I can work from home, part-time, and where everything else suffers so that I can get that work done.

Sure I’ve gone ahead sometimes and done the thing, but too often afterwards I’ve paid the price. An afternoon of socialising might mean three days of crippling exhaustion. A few hours of gardening could leave me flat out for the rest of the week.

“Gee Nicole,” a friend said once, frustrated at my lack of energy, “we all get tired.” Yes, we do. But Lyme tired is something else. Lyme tired is truly chronic fatigue. Lyme tired is neurological fatigue, as well as physical. It’s the kind of tired where after just a few hours work I am in bed by seven and asleep by ten past. And that’s on a good day. 🙂 Lyme tired is the kind of tired where I can struggle with basic daily living – like showering and dressing, holding a conversation, preparing a meal or attending to the simplest kinds of housework. The kind of tired where my arm stops working, or my eye starts twitching, or my brain goes on strike.

My exhaustion is an ocean, under the influence of some great unseen force. Sometimes it recedes, leaving a gleaming bright shore of possibility. I get stretches where I can do so much more, and I settle in to that as my new normal. But then the tide comes back, and I find myself with a smaller and smaller window of available time where my brain works, or my body works and I can get things done.

To be honest, I’d hoped that this far into my Lyme treatment, an aggressive protocol of drugs and herbs, that I would have been back to much more glorious planning again by now. That I would be saying ‘yes’ more often, and ‘no’ much less.

But as I’ve travelled this road I’ve come to realise that there’s still so far to go. I might be in this hazy half-life place for a while yet.

So, I’ve gotten smarter.

Now I make plans EXPECTING to be tired. I create my business around what I can do on a bad day, or an average week, rather than what I might be able to do if I had a sudden upsurge in energy or was miraculously well again. I plan socialising around my best times (mornings), or for early nights.

I am planning my whole future around having a flat battery.

It’s not pessimistic. I fully intend to get back to well. Or as well as it is possible to be, for me. But oh how it takes the pressure off, knowing that I am catering for low energy, or sudden patches of incapacity.

Anyway, my heart is on the way to being completely normal, and I have my brain back. There is no longer an imminent threat of dying. I can write and think and dream again. And I’ve always been able to do psychic work – no matter how ill I’ve been. That’s a gift that comes through me, and it’s never influenced by my health. In fact, it has often been the thing which has energised me and kept me going during my darker days. So, planning is possible. As long as my plans make space for down-time, disaster and the unexpected.

I even changed my whole business model, so that I can run an ever-expanding enterprise from bed, on a few average health days a week. Imagine how much lovely free time that will give me as I move back towards well. Imagine how much writing I will be able to get done. How much living. That’s exciting for me!

Maybe you don’t have lyme, or some other kind of incapacitating situation in your life, but I can guarantee you that making plans based on reduced energy and reduced input isn’t a bad thing. Instead it’s a plan for life that makes room for life. It’s about designing a life where there is space for you to grow, to heal, to love, to change your mind, to move in new directions, to spend the afternoon napping, or with your lover, or catching a series of perfect waves.

I’m all for planning. Planning moves us purposefully in a direction of our choosing. It enables us to be effective with the use of our time and resources. It helps us to actively design our lives.

But I am also for living honestly, and being realistic about what’s on our plates. I am also for being kind to ourselves. I am all for making room to breathe rather than heaping responsibility, duty and endless tasks upon us.

What kind of plans have you made in your life?

Have you crammed so much in that there is no room for downtime, rest or fun?

Lyme has proved to be a wise teacher for me. I hope that by sharing my story, it also helps you to be kinder to yourself, to be more trusting of the process of life, to focus on your most important priorities and still leave space.

All sorts of miracles and wonderments can happen when we leave enough space for them. It’s not up to us to have to fill in all the blanks. Where would be the magic in that?

Much love to you, Nicole xx

Life-is-a-miracle