The first and most important step in gaining clarity about my life and my business was finding some headspace so that I could regain focus in a very murky and busy mind.
I’d like to share with you the way in which I worked to achieve clarity, not only for my business, but also for my life and what a difference it has made to how I approach everything.
The first thing that I realized was, that in order to start changing things I needed to stop. To stop doing and thinking all the time and to allow myself to just be.
I decided to try meditation, and from there to move onto visualization of how I wanted the future to be.
When I first started to work on mindfulness and meditation some people were very skeptical and others looked at me as if I had suffered a knock on the head.
It may be that you think it’s all a lot of mumbo jumbo and that you don’t believe in it, but if you are struggling to find clarity about the way forward then what have you got to lose, why not give it a try?
If you’re not convinced, have a read of a book by Marshall Goldsmith (one of the world’s most respected coaches), called What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. It might make you think about making some small changes in your life which can have a huge impact.
Let’s do an exercise to see how mindful (or not) you are in your daily life:
Answer yes or no to the following questions:
- Do you ever arrive at work in the morning with no idea of how you actually got there?
- Do you ever walk into a room and find you have completely forgotten why you went in there in the first place?
- Do you forget birthdays/anniversaries/appointments until they pop up on your calendar on your phone and it’s too late to do something about it?
- Do you get to a Friday evening and wonder what you did all week?
If you’ve answered yes to more than one of these questions, the chances are that you are not living mindfully.
If you’re not living mindfully, the chances are that you don’t have clarity about your purpose, about your goals or about your vision.
I’m sure you’re all familiar with these famous phrases around planning in business –
- Failing to plan is planning to fail (attributed to Benjamin Franklin)
- Begin with the end in mind (Stephen Covey)
- Start with Why (Simon Sinek)
These are all really useful, positive and inspiring quotes made by people who share their beliefs, philosophies and methodologies to help us to work out a plan and move towards it.
But how do you actually go about planning and getting clarity if your head is full of whizzing thoughts, feelings, issues, problems, appointments, dates, deadlines, clients, family, money, team, systems?
Whatever it is that is clogging up the thinking (and it might well be all of the above at the same time if you are anything like I used to be!), it will mean that when you sit down to plan you will struggle to see into the future and visualize where you want to be.
I have been in this position myself and I know how it feels and how difficult it is to see your way out of it.
So when I decided to try meditation, I knew that I wanted to try to get some help with it, as I had tried it before and been unsuccessful. After doing some research, I came across an App called Headspace.
I can recommend Headspace from personal experience, and in a moment I will tell you why I like it so much, but there are many other ways to find out about meditation and lots of online tools that you can look into to help you out. I have listed some helpful books and websites at the end of this article.
Headspace is available on desktop or as an App on mobile devices and so you can access it wherever you are. It is full of information about meditation and mindfulness, and the calm and careful teaching in the basics of meditation really had a profound impact on my life.
I found that by sitting down for 10 minutes each day (yes, that’s really all it took) and dedicating myself to following the instructions, I began to see and think and feel more clearly. I started to notice all kinds of things that had passed me by previously as I hurried though the day constantly lost in thought.
This clarity of thinking had a really positive effect on my business, as I was actually able to sit down and visualize where I wanted to take the business. Then, with the help of the AVN team and my business coach, I put in place a plan, figured out my “Why” and set about finding the best way to communicate my values to the team and to our clients.
If I hadn’t stopped doing all the time and allowed myself the space to just “be” I would never have started to make the changes I needed and wanted to make in my business.
If you need to gain more clarity in your life and/or your business, why not give it a try? If you are interested in finding out more about mindfulness and meditation before you jump in, I would recommend the book by Andy Puddicombe called The Headspace Guide to Mindfulness & Meditation as a starting point.
There are also many websites dedicated to this subject which include videos, blogs and/or podcasts and Youtube is an incredible wealth of videos and guided meditations to help you out.
Some of these are:
Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana
Meditation for Beginners by Jack Kornfield
I dare you to have a go – but watch out, the effects can be life-changing!