It’s none of your business.

business2

I don’t know about you, but I often worry that my work isn’t ‘enough’.

Although I’m a lot closer to ‘enoughness’ since working closely with my Archetypal Blend, I still have moments where I look at what I’ve created or written and think…wow. Is that the best I can do?

Self-doubt has many things to say in my mind.

“That’s not what people want from you”

“What gives you the right to have that opinion?”

“That’s been said before”

“They’ll hate it”

“What if people have less respect for you after you’ve posted that?”

“You have no idea what you’re doing”

And on it goes. (I’m sure you can relate).

A little while back, I stumbled on a comeback that I now know guarantees to shut my inner critic up faster than it can whisper “you’re a loser”.

(I actually think it was something my Chief Joylogist Erin said to me a couple of years ago, when I was feeling sorry for myself due to my immense inadequacies. Thanks Erin).

Here’s the comeback:

It’s none of your business.

I think it’s so easy to get hung up on…well, everything…and forget that our task is very clear: focus on what’s right in front of you, and forget the things you can’t control.

For example…

Mind: “That’s not what people want from you”

Me: “It’s none of your business”

My task is to make a valid contribution to the world. Whether or not that’s what people want from me is none of my business – my business is purely to do the work.

Mind: “They’ll hate it”

Me: “It’s none of your business”

It is none of my business whether people love or hate my work. Being afraid that someone will dislike what I offer is a waste of time, because all that means is that my work wasn’t suited to that particular person.

Mind: “What if people have less respect for you after you’ve posted that?”

Me: “It’s none of your business”

I can’t control whether people respect me, or not. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and their opinion is absolutely none of my business.

If you struggle with self-doubt, perfectionism or procrastination, make “It’s none of your business” your new mantra for the next couple of weeks, and see what happens.

The truth is: you can’t control what you can’t control. So, make it your business to focus on the things you CAN control…because everything else is, well, not. (Your business, I mean).

It works wonders for me…I hope it helps you, too!

[bctt tweet=”It’s none of your business”]

5 ways your Primary Archetype can help you get unstuck in your business.

5ways

In an interview recently, I was asked a really interesting question:

 

How can archetypes help people get unstuck in their business or brand?

 

As I tried to form a response in my mind, I realised that I’ve become so used to using archetypes as a cure for all sorts of inflictions in my business, it’s been a long time since I thought about the answer to this question. 

The truth is: your Primary Archetype (and especially your Archetypal Blend, if you know it) can help you overcome almost any challenge in your business, simply by providing you with a shift in your mindset.

So often, the challenges we face are perceived challenges – not actual challenges. It’s the story we tell ourselves about the situation that creates the challenge – not the situation itself. 

Thinking about your challenges through the mindset of your archetypes is often all it takes to shift your mind into a different gear – a gear that’s more aligned with who you really are in your heart – and write a different story.

 

Here are five examples of ways that your archetypes can help you get unstuck in your business:

 

(Please note: if you know your Archetypal Blend, apply both of your archetypes to these methods for even better results. If you only know your Primary Archetype, use that as the basis to think these examples through. If you don’t know your Primary Archetype, you can take my test here – it’s free).

  

1: When you don’t know what to write about.

 

When you’ve run out of things to say, it can be incredibly difficult to break the silence in your own head. Try brainstorming different words and topics that are connected to your archetype. Use your Archetype Guide PDF to help you (there’s even a section in there full of connected words to get you started). 

For example: if you’re an Alchemist, some of the words you write down could be ‘transform’, ‘powerful’, ‘manifest’ or ‘connect’. What potential blog post topics can you think of that fit with these words, in the context of your business? Even if you don’t use these words in your post, use them as the basis for what to actually write about. Could you help someone transform their life in some way? What could you write about that would help them step into their own personal power in some way, or manifest their dreams?

Hint: When you actually begin to write your piece, try to ’embody’ your archetype as you think through what you’re trying to say. Go to that place in your body where you ‘feel’ your archetype the most, and stay connected to that place as you write. It sounds a bit crazy, but it works wonders for me!

 

2: When you can’t choose the right imagery.

 

There’s nothing more frustrating than searching through hundreds of images to find the ‘right one’ that expresses who you are, and the message you’re trying to convey (unless you’re me…and actually find it intensely therapeutic). 

Rather than search for images using a noun (searching for a specific object or subject), try searching with an adjective, instead.

Brainstorm a list of words that you would use to describe how your archetype makes you feel, and try using those words as search terms. For example: if you’re an Explorer, you might like to search using words such as ‘free’, ‘wild’, ‘expansive’, or ‘vast’. 

Hint: Choose imagery based on how it feels, not whether or not you think it fits with your ‘brand’.

Bonus Hint: My favourite place in the world to find imagery is here.

 

3: When you don’t know what to offer.

 

If trying to decide on what products or services to offer in your business is stressing you out, it’s likely that you’re overcomplicating things. In general, the advice out there is to create offerings based around the desires and fears of your ‘ideal customer’ – but I often find that this is a restrictive angle to approach this from, and can lead to overwhelm and perfectionism. 

Try thinking this through from a different angle. Ask yourself the following question:

What comes SO easily and naturally to me, that I just can’t believe I could actually be PAID to do it?

When thinking through your answer, think about it through the lens of your archetype. If you’re a Sage, for example, think about the things that come so easily for you as a Sage. This could be writing, sharing information, reading, researching, thinking rationally, asking questions…etc. 

Rather than start with what you think others want, start with your inherent strengths, and work up from there.

Hint: I have a whole module on Offerings that you might inspire you here.

 

4: When you don’t know what your purpose is.

 

I believe that you don’t find your purpose – your purpose finds you. 

But, in the meantime, it can be incredibly frustrating when you’re trying to feel into your place in the world, and be met with confusion and uncertainty. 

In times when you feel like you don’t know what your purpose is, go back to basics and keep it really simple. 

What is your archetypal purpose? What are your strengths and gifts when you look at yourself through an archetypal lens? 

Use your Archetype PDF Guide to help you think through this. 

Choose one ‘strength’, and create a simple purpose statement that has only one true intention: to keep you sane.

For example:

I am an Alchemist. My purpose – right now – is to help others transform their lives.

I am a Creator. My purpose – right now – is to inspire others to create opportunities for themselves.

I am an Explorer. My purpose – right now – is to encourage others to expand their horizons.

I am an Innocent. My purpose – right now – is to help others appreciate the simple pleasures in life.

I am a Jester. My purpose – right now – is to simply to find joy in my work.

I am a Nurturer. My purpose – right now – is to take better care of myself, so I can be of better service to others.

I am a Realist / Regular Gal. My purpose – right now – is to provide opportunities for like-minded people to connect.

I am a Revolutionary. My purpose – right now – is to ask the big questions that aren’t currently being asked.

I am a Romantic. My purpose – right now – is to help others experience more passion in their lives.

I am a Ruler. My purpose – right now – is to be a leader, and set an example.

I am a Sage. My purpose – right now – is to share information as I discover it.

I am a Warrior. My purpose – right now – is to create awareness.

Hint: Don’t worry if this purpose statement feels too simplistic, or too vague. Its purpose (yep, even purpose statements have purposes) is to get you unstuck, and open the channels for forward motion again. 

 

5: When you don’t know what your ‘brand identity’ should be.

 

Whether you’re DIY’ing your own brand identity, or hiring a designer (like me), trying to decide what your ‘brand identity’ should look like can be an incredibly stressful task for even the more seasoned solopreneur.

The truth is, you can’t expect to express who you are creatively if you don’t know who you are to begin with.

Archetypes can help you with both of those things. They can help you get clear on who you are, and how to express the ‘essence’ of you in a visual way.

I recommend that you start by creating your Archetypal Blend Board – a visual representation of your brand, that effortlessly communicates who you are (even if you can’t answer that question yet in words). 

Once you have your Blend Board, you can use it as the basis for developing your brand identity – whether you’re designing it yourself, or outsourcing to a creative professional.

For example:

micala

Your Blend Board can provide inspiration for colours, textures, graphics and imagery choices. The amazing thing about approaching your brand identity in this way is that it feels expansive…yet your Archetypal Blend ensures there’s a thread running through it the whole time, no matter how much experience (or confidence) you have in this area of your business.

 

These are just five examples of how archetypes can help you get unstuck in your brand or business – but the truth is, there are infinite ways that you can use archetypal information to help you move past any boundary or sticking point you may be facing. 

 

There are no right or wrong ways to use your archetypes. All I have ever done is simply look at my challenges through an archetypal lens, and considered the potential solutions from my Alchemist/Sage mindset.

 

I really hope that this post has given you some inspiration for how you can use your archetypes in your business. 

 

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. How have archetypes helped you become unstuck? What is the most random, crazy way that your archetypes have showed up and given you a hand? What methods have you tried for connecting with your archetypes, so that you can tap into your intuition and find the answers you needed?

 

[bctt tweet=”Five ways archetypes can get you unstuck in your business. #strategywithsoul”]

 

Don’t look at me. (I have a lazy right eye).

eye

I have a lazy right eye.

I’ve always had my suspicions, but trying to take the obligatory, half-decent post-haircut selfie a couple of days ago confirmed it.

Thirty three attempts later, I managed to get a shot where Right Eye looked relatively normal.

A lazy eye.

Add it to the flabby stomach and double chin – and what have you got?

(Hint: The antithesis to Marie Forleo).

So…you can imagine my sheer horror when my right-hand woman, Erin, gave it to me straight yesterday:

 

“Yep, this new concept for the website looks GREAT. But…I can’t see YOU. How can you expect people to trust you, if you won’t let them see you?”.

 

I felt my back muscles tense.

Defense mode: engaged.

My mind had a canned response at the ready.

 

I don’t do photos of me because I’m an Alchemist. It adds to the mystery. Curiosity is part of my brand. And anyway – that’s the whole point of our work: honour who you truly are. I’m truly not a lifestyle-shot kinda person.

 

But my mouth had other ideas.

“Yup. I know”.

The admission stung.

The truth is – I used to blame the fact that I had nothing worthy to contribute to others – amongst other things – on my not-so-baby weight (she’s four now, so I’m not entirely sure I can legitimately use that excuse).

But now? Now, I have so much belief in my work that I’m anxious that my less-than-polished appearance will do it an injustice.

So, Erin suggesting that I need to face my demons and actually start allowing people to SEE me, understandably made my eye twitch. (Let’s imagine my left eye, just for visual effect).

But Erin hadn’t finished.

“It’s also about not wanting to. It’s a mini temper tantrum”.

Ouch.

“It’s not that I don’t want to be seen. Just so long as people don’t look at me”.

(I was hoping here that my dry sense of British humour would be enough to shift the discomfort. It was an epic fail).

“I can’t sit and talk you out of any of that. It’s your journey and really, there’s nothing to do but take the journey. You’re going to have to start living what you teach”.

 

This really got me.

 

Living what I teach.

If there is anything I consider to be virtuous about myself, it’s my integrity.

I pride myself on my willingness to be vulnerable. On being an open book.

When someone suggests that I’m not walking my talk, it hits hard. That’s exactly what I teach, and believe without question: branding can be the most beautiful journey to self-acceptance…but if you want to be seen, you have to get naked.

 

But what happens when you’re covered in scales…and you’re just not ready for the world to see them?

 

What happens when…no number of YouTube videos can actually make your curling wand do what it’s supposed to do?

 

What happens when…you just don’t translate well on camera?

 

What happens when…you know your work has immense potential, but you’re not sure that you can do it justice?

 

What happens when you have a lazy right eye?

 

Well-meaning cheerleaders may tell you to get over yourself.

That it doesn’t matter what you look like. That beauty isn’t skin-deep. That you’re never too old. That you’re perfect, just as you are. That all you need to do is tap into your brilliance, and hit the meditation cushion.

(Namaste).

On the surface, this all sounds…delightful.

But it’s not much comfort when you come across yet another website of a solopreneur who seriously has it going ON…and you can’t help but wonder whether you even stand a chance.

 

I don’t have the answer.

(I’m still comforting myself with rice cakes over my gravity-defying right eye).

I could tell you that you are so needed, just as you are.

That what you have to offer deserves more than comparison and self-doubt.

And whilst all of that is true…I know that if I said that, it would have to be my truth, too.

 

My gift may be the ability to see true archetypal beauty in my clients, and translate it into a brand identity that reflects every facet of their irresistible personality…but I’m being honest when I say it’s a whole lot easier to work magic on others than it is on yourself.

So…it isn’t my truth. Not just yet.

But I’m working on it.

Can you relate? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment here on the blog.

 

Do the little things.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the small things.

I’m thinking less about growing my list…and more about appreciating my readers.

I’m trying to make a bigger impact…with a smaller to-do list. 

I’m letting go of the need to ‘go big’…and being content with finding fulfillment in the small things in my day. 

Today is St David’s Day here in Wales, so I thought that today is the PERFECT day to share these thoughts with you. One of St David’s most celebrated quotes was this:

 

[bctt tweet=”Do the little things”]

 

(I actually had no idea until recently that St David came up with this mantra before I did). 

I’ve noticed a trend over the last couple of years in my business: I seem to make the most significant progress when I get down and dirty in the smallest of things. 

When I focus on the big things (the big list, the increased revenue, more outreach, the grandiose plans and strategies)…the less impact I seem to make. 

Most of the significant breakthroughs I’ve experienced have been as a result of doing something small. 

Publishing a blog post that I intuitively felt the urge to share…that led me to an idea for a new offering.

Creating a mini course that had only had passion – and no plan – behind it…(unexpectedly) helped me pay off my tax bill. 

Tidying my office (especially after a certain four-year old has broken in and invaded my stamp collection)…unearthed a book I had forgotten about, that inspired me to keep moving forward.

Reaching out to a client to let them know I’m thinking about them…reminded them that they needed to hire me to design something for them.

Changing a graphic on my website…led to an unanticipated increase of people taking my Primary Test. 

Whilst I fully believe in the spirit behind the message of ‘go big, or go home’ – I wonder whether we sometimes get caught up in the logistics of ‘big’ so much that we forget that greatness can be found in the littlest of things. 

One of my favourite quotes (and, funnily enough, from another saint) is from St Thérèse de Lisieux:

 

“The splendour of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of it’s scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.”

 

(If you’re interested in exploring a spiritual path that revolves around the little things, I highly recommend St Thérèse’s autobiography – The Story of a Soul).

If you’ve been feeling less-than lately, or simply not enough…I hope that this email serves as a reminder that it’s safe to let go of the things that overwhelm you. They simply are not necessary.

Don’t want to blog? Find other ways to reach out to others who need you.

Tired of list-building? Focus on the small things you can do to grow your list organically. 

Don’t feel like you have a ‘big message’? Celebrate the breathing space that comes with simplicity. 

Haven’t got round to those lifestyle shots? Instagram it up, and rejoice in your real-worldliness.

Can’t write that sales page? Write a short love letter instead. 

Most importantly…look for the small things to be grateful for. Those little talents of yours – those quirks that you tend to overlook – they’re the ingredients that make up your own unique recipe of success. When you accept and acknowledge the gifts you have been graced with, you naturally exude a quiet confidence that doesn’t need big, loud packaging. 

Or as Thérèse puts it so eloquently:

 

“If a little flower could speak, it seems to me that it would tell us quite simply all that God has done for it, without hiding any of its gifts. It would not, under the pretext of humility, say that it was not pretty, or that it had not a sweet scent, that the sun had withered its petals,or the storm bruised its stem, if it knew that such were not the case.” 

 

If this post has left you feeling a little more inspired, let me know in the comments below. I’d LOVE to hear what small things YOU are going to celebrate this week. I adore reading your comments, and I reply to every one. 

Have a great week, and sant hapus dydd David!

(Happy St David’s Day!)

I’m back to square one with my purpose…and it feels good.

drawing

 

During 2013 – my first year being self-employed – I was clear on my purpose.

When I initially quit my job, my intention was to earn a living being a brand identity designer. 

Design and branding are all I have ever known. From my pre-school years, to the work experience I had for a branding firm in Manchester when I was 15 (they even offered me a job, and asked me to contact them when I was a grown-up), to working as a promotional merchandise consultant (where I would advise clients on how to get the most out of their visual identity).

My purpose was to help solopreneurs communicate themselves visually, in a way that was truly authentic, charismatic…yet simple. 

 

By the end of 2013, however…I was exhausted, depressed, and felt that my purpose had been shattered. I had no idea what I was even trying to achieve.

 

My first year in business was, by most people’s standards, a roaring success. I was part of some truly wonderful collaborations, had a client base that many designers would give anything for, and on the surface it all seemed so…perfect.

 

But it wasn’t perfect. I felt scattered. Confused. Disconnected from my business…as if it wasn’t even mine, somehow. And…although I was delivering great work, I knew that many of my clients weren’t ready for the brand identity development process. I was giving them what they wanted, not what I believed they truly needed – clarity, and self-acceptance.

 

As someone who prides themselves on acting with integrity, I found it challenging to work on these particular projects. On the one hand – my clients were delighted. But on the other hand – I knew that some of my clients were aching with self-doubt, and using a logo and colour palette to skim over the fact that they didn’t feel ‘enough’.

This really bothered me. 

It bothered me so much, that one year into the business, I knew I had to take a break from designing to figure out some way of helping my clients set the foundations for their brand – on a deep, soulful level – before the word ‘logo’ was even mentioned.

At the time, I felt confused. I had been so clear that my ‘strength’ was design. Not just a strength, but a skill I have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours of my life dedicated to mastering.

So why was I being pulled in a new direction…where I had little experience, and absolutely no clarity on where I was headed?

As you can probably guess, I decided to follow the thread. Despite the fear and complete terror of the prospect of not being able to make ends meet, this was something I just couldn’t get out of my head. 

 

[bctt tweet=”Sometimes, you just gotta follow the thread”]

 

I launched ‘The Brand Alchemist’ (later to become Cerries Mooney) at the beginning of 2013 with no plan, no savings, and no clue how I was going to earn a living if I wasn’t designing.

But it was something I knew I had to do. 

From that point – until very recently – I have only worked on a very few design projects (mostly with clients I’ve been working with since 2012). I have made my income from creating online courses, like this one, and brand mentorship

During that time, I have received hundreds of requests about whether or not I’m accepting new design clients. 

Fear – and the little voice that says ‘stick with what you know’ – has thrown all it has at me to try to get me to waiver from the work I knew I had to do. 

 

[bctt tweet=”Familiarity promises relief, not fulfillment”]

 

Time after time, I turned down business because I knew my heart was somewhere else. I knew that there was something else – my ‘right now’ purpose wasn’t designing brand identities, and I had enough faith to trust in my instinct.

Now – three years later – I’m back to where I started. Designing brand identities and websites for soulful solopreneurs.

And I’m LOVING it.

Not only has my archetypal work earned me a living during the last three years, it has taught me how to be a better designer. 

It has provided me with an archetypal system for preparing my clients for the process – making it smooth, fun and almost effortless.

The Archetypal Blend Board my clients complete before starting the design process means I can complete projects within two weeks – with next to no revisions.

It means I am more efficient, more fulfilled by my work, and my clients are utterly delighted not only with the end result – but with the whole experience of working with me.

(A couple of years back, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to say that).

alexphone

 

If you’re feeling the pull to explore something – a new angle, a different technique, or an entirely different thing altogether – don’t question it. It’s ok to make a decision that seems like it’s ‘off purpose’. If you feel it, it means something. The meaning may not be clear, but it is ALL leading you somewhere. Even the irrational bits that seem to be leading you away from where you thought you were going.

For now, I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. 

I’m at peace with the fact that I will probably only focus on design for a while, and then feel called to create a new program (I have an AMAZING one in the wings, that’s currently brewing in my mind). 

I may have come full circle, but the truth is this:

 

[bctt tweet=”The delight is in the diversion”]

 

My new home page video…(and how I made it).

As I’ve been reconnecting with the heart of my business, I felt inspired to create a short video to help me communicate what my work is all about. 

My video isn’t professionally made, or even polished – but it means a lot to me.

It tells my story in 1 minute 8 seconds, and every time I watch it…it reminds me of how far I’ve come in my own journey.

Since I shared my new video on Facebook, so many people have asked how I made it. So…here’s a quick low-down on my DIY video method…

What you’ll need…

shutterstock

~ Access to a video editing app (I used Screenflow, or Camtasia is another good one). There are many others out there – I personally love Screenflow as it’s so easy to use (and these are not affiliate links…just sharing what I use!). 

dissolve

~ Video clips. I aim to be resourceful here, as footage can get REALLY expensive. For this video, I used a mixture of clips I’ve already bought in the past, clips from my iPhone, and some new clips I bought especially for this video. My favourite resources for clips are www.dissolve.com and www.shutterstock.com. You can buy clips in different qualities – web, SD, HD and 4k. For this video, I used SD clips (as I didn’t really want to remortgage my house for the sake of 1:08 😉 ). 

istock

~ A soundtrack. Of course, this is optional – but choosing an appropriate soundtrack can make all the difference to the end result of your masterpiece. I recycled a soundtrack I bought last year for this video, and my favourite place to purchase audio is www.istockphoto.com.

~ Access to an app that will let you create PNGs. The text overlays that you can see on my video were created as PNG files with transparent backgrounds, and inserted into Screenflow. Your video editing software may allow you to insert text over the video without needing this step, but I wanted my text to be styled consistently with my brand. I created my text overlays in Adobe Illustrator.

How to do it…

Once you have the above ready to go, it really is a case of getting stuck in…and experimenting until you’re happy!

I have pretty much zero experience in this kind of thing (I’ve created a couple of these videos before, but I certainly don’t consider myself to be knowledgeable on the subject!). 

I personally started by creating a new document in Screenflow, sized 852 x 480px.

doc

 

Then, I started to add in my audio, video and PNGs (in Screenflow, you add files by going to Insert > Choose). Screenflow works in layers – so whatever is on the topmost layer will be displayed above the bottom layers. I started by adding my audio in first, as that determined the length of my video (my chosen audio clip was 1:08 minutes). If you don’t want your audio soundtrack to determine the length of your video, look for a looped clip that you can just keep repeating until your video is at the desired length.

sf

 

Once you have your desired elements in the document, it really is a case of experimenting until you have the desired effect. Don’t be surprised if a one minute video takes you a full day…or longer! This video took me a day, and was definitely frustrating at times.

 

When your video is complete, export it…and share it with the world!

Tips & Tricks…

 

If you’ve been wanting to make a heartfelt video for your business for a while now, but haven’t felt like you could tackle it (nor could afford a professional to do it)…I really hope that this has inspired you to give it a go. If I can do it with my limited technical skills, anyone can!

Here are some ideas to get you started…

 

  1. Download video comps before you buy. Most places you can pick video clips up from will allow you to download a free ‘comp’ – essentially, try before you buy. This is a quick and easy way to map out your video, without spending money before you’re sure it’ll turn out how you’d like it.

  2. As far as I’m aware, Screenflow offer a free trial of their software. See what you can create using the free trial before investing in the software itself.

  3. Don’t worry about it being perfect! Remember the aim of your video. If the aim is to connect with your audience, the fact that it’s not highly polished will help establish trust and empathy. Just go for it…you never know whose heart it will touch in just the right way!

  4. Start by deciding the message you’d like your video to get across, and work back from there. For example – I wanted my video to express a sense of why I do what I do…and a snapshot of my own journey. This video is not about selling what I have to offer – it’s about communicating the dream that was so important to me, and why it’s important to me that I help others step into theirs.

  5. Decide whether you want to feature in the video or not. Many people have asked me why I chose not to be in the video. Honestly? I’m never all too comfortable on camera. I know that it’s important to establish visibility and trust, but I choose to do that in other ways – my video is not one of them. My video is a way of expressing myself – not a marketing gimmick that I’m ticking boxes on. Do this YOUR way, and express yourself in a way that feels inspiring to YOU.

If you’ve been inspired by this post, and decide to give your own video a go…I’d LOVE to see it! Post a link to it in the comments below, as I’d love to see your work. If you have any questions, post those too. I may not have a definitive answer, but I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction 🙂