Go big or go home.
Isn’t this the message we’re bombarded with?
That the only way to make an impact is to have a big list? To have a program that fills out? To write a bestseller?
Going big your thing? You’re awesome. Go for it. You’ve got this! Namaste 🙂
Having a little trouble with the whole ‘big’ thing? You know…you’re pretty awesome, too.
Allow me to share this little Rumi nugget with you.
“My heart is so small, it’s almost invisible. How can You place such big sorrows in it? “Look,” He answered, “your eyes are even smaller, yet they behold the world.””
One thing I’ve learned over and over during the time I’ve run this business is that the world doesn’t reveal itself to me in the big things – it unfolds itself in the small, and seemingly insignificant, things.
Every time I’ve focused my energy in the pursuit of ‘big’, I’ve only ever ended up feeling small.
Every time I’ve focused my energy in making the most out of the smaller things, I’ve only ever ended up feeling useful, and fulfilled.
What are the ‘smaller things’?
Sharing reflections spontaneously.
Opening up a conversation.
Sending an unexpected email.
Creating something – not part of a big master plan, but just because you’re being called to create it, right at that moment.
Don’t let the size of things determine what success means to you.
Bigness is awesome, but it comes with a cost. (Both emotionally, and literally).
Appreciate all of the smallness.
It’s the smallest of things that lead to the greatest impact.
[bctt tweet=”The smallest things lead to the greatest impact”]
Ps. Let’s celebrate small together. What small things can you be grateful for? Come and tell me here – I’ve created a special post on Facebook to connect with you 🙂
As my business has been transitioning lately (read: growing pains, and the weird rabbit-in-the-headlights feeling of so many possibilities, all of which are truly exciting and terrifying at the same time), I’ve been exploring different ways of finding clarity, peace and direction.
For the last couple of months, I’ve been coming back to the same question:
Who do you want to BE in this business?
Somehow, at this point, it seems to be less important that I define the outcomes – and absolutely crucial that I experience and witness my own growth and expression in the day-to-day running of the business.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve always been journey-driven rather than destination-driven, but dealing with intense anxiety and depression lately has forced me to confront this truth with absolute certainty:
I will become who I am on a daily basis.
I’ve given up wanting things. I realised some time ago that wanting a defined outcome isn’t healthy for me. (And I stress for me there – I have no judgement whatsoever against wanting things). I have absolute faith that I could have anything imaginable – if I wanted it enough, and was prepared to do what it takes to get it.
That’s not the kind of life I want to live, or the kind of business I want to run.
So having is secondary. But being? That’s a whole other story.
Who I want to be has a depth that what I want to have could never quite hold for me.
As usual, my Archetypal Blend – my inner Alchemist and Sage – is happy to point me in the right direction.
Among other things, I want to be useful.
I want to be catalytic. (Yes, I want to be catalytic for sure).
I want to be generous with my insights – not because it drives more readers to my blog, but because it satisfies the first two parts of my criteria.
As I come to plan out new offerings and new ways to be of service in the world, and things just aren’t quite sticking – I realise I’ve been asking the wrong questions.
Purpose. Contribution. Values. Clarity. Confidence.
You get a whole different view of these things when you ask the right questions.
I know I’ve written about this before, but I was inspired to share it with you again today when I read this awesome post by Hillary Rain over at LushFolk.
Who do you want to be in your business?
THIS is the question to ask.
Until you are able to answer this question, you might be looking for the answers in all the wrong places.
Or as Rumi so eloquently put it:
“Maybe you are searching among the branches, for what only appears in the roots.”
[bctt tweet=”Who do you want to be in your business?”]
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.
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”]
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.
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.
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”]
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”.
“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.
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.
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!)