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Work life balance

Are your clients abusing you?

The past couple of months have been crazy busy. I’ve literally had more work than I could comfortably handle. Exactly what every solopreneur wishes for, right? Most of my friends who are also entrepreneurs are really happy for me and many of them have voiced that they wish they could also be that busy.

But then how come I was feeling so….well…tired, undervalued, taken advantage off, hurt.

It turns out being busy is not the right thing for me to BE.

I have a confession to make. I stopped taking my own advice and it really burned me….

Working six days a week, on Saturdays and even public holidays is not what I signed up for when I started my business. Although it is great for my bank balance in the short term, it is not a sustainable way to run a business. When we are constantly giving because we think we have to go the extra mile for our clients, it becomes easy to fall into the trap of an abusive client relationship.

I think we’ve all been there. Having clients that initially seem amazing and you can’t believe how lucky you are to have them. They wine and dine you. They tell you how great you are. They constantly want to take you out to lunch, by you coffee and feed you cake. They phone you to chat and check in ……a lot. They phone you after hours to “just tie up loose ends”. They start thinking they own you. They want to believe that they are your only client and then become “jealous” when you don’t  pay attention to them 24/7. They start withholding crucial information relating to projects and only tell you last minute, so you don’t have room to maneuver. They start getting slack with paying your bills…

What I found to be the worst about this situation was that I was allowing it. I had lost my perspective, because I got so caught up in being busy and not being true to me and my values. I sacrificed some of my self care practices to better serve my clients, but the truth is I was not serving them better and I was harming myself in the process. My life was not rocking. I was on a fast track to hitting rock bottom – I recognised the signs of my old friend Burnout. I had to make a change and DO LESS. Yep, I do my best work with clients when I’m actually not all that busy. I’m able to recognise opportunities better, when I’m not working 24/7.battles quote

So I took back control:

  1. I made a decision to set even clearer boundaries (even if it meant losing a client)
  2. I opened up my schedule by either moving out appointments or cancelling certain activities/events all together.
  3. I went to bed earlier and made sure I got 8 hours good sleep a night.
  4. I reviewed my nutrition – what was I putting in my body? I needed food that fueled me.

I’m back to being me again, the me I want to be. The me that lives life on her own terms.

Here is wishing you life on your own terms.

 

Categories
Dealing with change

When the @#$ hits the fan

So a couple of weeks ago I visited my mom in a really remote part of South Africa.Karoo landscape It was great, wide open spaces, delicious lamb and a good old “kuier”. On my way back home, I had some car trouble – serious car trouble. My car crawled at a snails pace to the nearest town, which happened to be Victoria West. I managed to get to the nearest garage that I remembered from a few days earlier.

The guys at the garage told me the trouble with my car was rather serious and I would not be able to drive any further. My heart sank. There I was, stuck in a town with no car rental available and 450km’s from home…I felt like crying.Karoo-South-Africa

The guys at the garage were great and I learned a lot about customer service from them. They really went the extra mile to make phone calls and find out from the nearest town who could assist me. They plied me with coffee and tea and even arranged an office for me to work in while I wait the 3 hours for a rental car to reach me.

The place is run by a father and son – and I realised that I know the son from school days when we used to play sport and compete on the athletics field. What really impressed me about this small garage, is the friendliness and helpfulness with which each person approached me. The owner of the business paid personal attention to me. I felt like I was the only one that mattered.

What struck me as well, was how clean and organised the place looked. Each person’s office was sparkling clean and everyone seemed to know exactly what they were supposed to do. In just a few minutes I felt like part of their family….

Fast forward to the current reality – where my car is still at the dealership in my local town and they are trying to get it fixed. It’s a real bummer being without a car, but business needs to continue and I still have clients to see. I’ve got to admit I went through the entire conversation of “Why is this happening to me?” with all the negative self talk and feeling sorry for myself.

And then something changed.

Actually the question I asked myself changed to “What is the lesson I can learn in this situation?” In the past I would have used obstacles and challenges as an excuse not to do certain things or cancel projects. But this time round I thought: No I’m not cancelling anything -I’ll find a different way to make it work.

In the process I’ve met some amazing people, had coffee with someone who has just gone through the same kind of experience and we shared war stories about what it’s like to be a woman in business today in South Africa. Tough no doubt, but we are even tougher and we’ll be kicking butt for a long time to come.

So I guess the lesson for me is: When the (you know what) hits the fan, make a plan and keep going….

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Uncategorized

Will you join me at WBECS?

Official Partner--World Business & Executive Coach Summit

I’m so thrilled to let you know that I’m an official partner to the World business and Executive Coach Summit. Last year I had a great experience with the World Business and Executive Coach Summit (WBECS).

It’s an amazing event full of great information.

They have lots of complimentary sessions throughout May including sessions by Dr. Marshall Goldsmith and John C. Maxwell

I thought you might like to be made aware of this.

You can join the no cost sessions here: http://wbecs.com/partner/a/wbecs2014/a3379

The event offers an outstanding professional growth opportunity and brings together the top thought leaders of the coaching world to share their knowledge and experience with practicing coaches.

I’ll be also be attending a number of the sessions myself so may see you online

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Uncategorized

What will you do with your freedom?

Today as we celebrate 20 years of democracy on Freedom Day here in South Africa, I am filled with immense gratitude for those who paid with their lives so that we can have this freedom angelfreedom today. As a woman living in Africa, I am deeply grateful for being free from oppression and having the freedom to live life fully. I am thankful for the freedom of having had a choice as to the man I married – as for many women this is still not a free choice. As a woman in Africa, I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to go to school and study. Living in this amazing country called South Africa, I have the freedom to express my views and to serve the God of my choosing without fear of persecution. As a woman I am free to create and work in a business of my choosing. I am free to make a contribution to others, to serve and to love.

What will you do with your freedom today?

What will you do with your freedom

Categories
Uncategorized Work life balance

Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing

How can doing nothing be the best thing? There is a business to be run, clients to serve, marketing to be done, websites to update, admin to be completed – how on earth can one do nothing. Well sometimes life throws you a curveball and you don’t have much of a choice. Let me explain.

Have you ever taken one of those personality assessments, the ones that indicate what your “type” or strength is? Well having worked as a psychometrist, I’ve done a gazillion of them. My so-called “strength” is achiever – which in short means I love to work and everyday needs to be packed to capacity. Although this strength has really helped me achieve a lot in the past, it seems to have backfired on me lately. The down side of achiever is that we tend to take on too much.

You see I’m writing this post in bed…..with a stack of tissues (Kleenex) next to my bed. Thoroughly clogged up with runny nose and watery eyes, sore throat and all.tissue-z

The truth is I’ve been driving too hard, wanting to do too many things. I’ve been ignoring what my body is saying and now it is really screaming at me to slow down. It is time to take a bit of a break and truly do nothing – as in “do no thing”. Rest.

As a business owner, I’ve come to realise how important it is to take time off to recharge. Not just recharge the mind, but also recharge the body. As women entrepreneurs it is vital for us to nurture and care for ourselves so that we can serve our clients and those around us best. We often feel like we first have to attend to the needs of those around us, before we get to pay attention to our own needs. Add being a mom to this equation and our own needs seem to fall off the radar completely.Sometimes doing nothing

So now it’s time to take a couple of days off to rest and recover from this flu, to practice what I preach to my fabulous coaching clients.

Keep rocking…..

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Uncategorized

How to let go of the stuff that’s holding you back

How to let goThis past weekend we celebrated Easter here in South Africa and I had an awesome time with the kids. Having had more than my fair share of chocolate Easter eggs, I also gave some thought to where I’m heading this year. For me Easter is all about rebirth and transformation – the old body dies and a new body is resurrected from the dead. Thinking about this transformation got me into action to get rid of “old” things that were no longer serving me. Translation – I did a massive letting go and “spring cleaning” throughout my house and possibly even my mind. I discovered some really interesting lessons along the way.

1. Letting go of stuff can be hard. Like some of the photographs from high school and some of my kids art works. There is such a strong emotional connection to some of those things and I found myself questioning why I’m holding on to them. The memory will always remain with me and I can call it up whenever I want to, yet the physical aspect of those memories were really quite difficult to let go of. The entire process of clearing out unleashed some emotions I was not prepared for – sadness, joy, surprise, irritation, fear and hope all mixed into a melting pot of possibility. Clearing out the physical stuff allowed me to also clear out some emotional baggage I’ve been holding on. How did I do this? By forgiving. Forgiveness is the quickest way I know to take back your life and your energy. Forgiveness is for you, not really for the other person. When you forgive you let go of the emotion.

2. Letting go of stuff can be easy. Yep. Especially those ugly old pants that don’t fit anymore and the gazillion arts and craft stuff that’s been gathering dust. Also, old linen that my kids have outgrown and no longer suit their needs. And the weights that I’ve been using as a door stop, instead of for exercise. Surprisingly I found renewed energy as I was throwing away some old goods that have been irritating me for years ( yep, I grew up with the mindset of “let’s keep it, just in case”). No more keeping things for just in case. Here’s a tip: If you haven’t used an item in six months, chances are you won’t be using it in the next six months either. Let it go. Give it away. You don’t need it. And no, you are not wasting.

3. Letting go brings freedom from...Getting rid of physical things created a sense of relief for me. Relief in that I no longer need to maintain, keep clean, store or insure that particular item. There is a sense of freedom, an ability to breathe and release.

4. Letting go brings freedom to…It is such a wonderful feeling to open a cupboard and see open spaces in between. I can now choose to fill those spaces with things that would really serve me or I could just leave those spaces open. For now, I think I’ll be leaving them open. Having created more space makes me feel like I have more choices and more options. It brings with it a certain lightness. From past experience I know that letting go of stuff creates opportunities for new things to come into your life, especially in business. I’ve seen this many, many times.One of the quickest ways to experience a shift in your business is to change your physical environment. (I’ll deal with this in a different blog post altogether.)

5. Letting go highlights some ugly truths. In looking at the things I’ve been gathering, I’ve realised that I have been going through a big part of my life half asleep – not being conscious of my actions at the time. Why else would I have 5 red zippers and 12 green zippers stashed in a cupboard when I’ve never made something red or green in colour? Or why would I have 15 different ice making trays? (What the hell was I thinking? – clearly I wasn’t.) How was it possible to have all this stuff in my house and not even remember buying them? What was the gap that I’ve been trying to fill for so long? I’ve had to confront the idea that I’ve been using “retail therapy” as a way to compensate for my own insecurities. Some people use food, for me it’s been shopping. Shopping for little things that I don’t need, but getting one hell of kick when I’ve made a purchase.

6. Letting go frees up more time. The throwing out of stuff also extended as far as my e-mail in box and social media. I unsubscribed to a whole host of newsletters, because there is only so much a girl can read. Some of the ideas I’ve outgrown and it is time to move on. I also focused my attention on integrating blog posts and the various social media platforms so that I can manage them all from one single platform, instead of having all sort of bits and pieces everywhere. This means less time having to update all the different websites, blogs, facebook pages, linkedin pages, etc. I’ve got nice little “command control” system going.

 

How long will all this last? Who knows. For now I’m committed to being more awake. To paying attention what I allow into my life and my home. To really focus on my dream plan for this year of creating a life that rocks.

Categories
New beginnings

It’s a new world

And so, after many years of trying and changing and dreaming, iRock Coaching has finally seen the light.

It’s been like a seed that was planted, had germinated and is now able to grow, because a good dose of manure was administered. (You know what I mean – I’ve been through a lot of….) It was time for a makeover. Not just a wardrobe and hair makeover, but a business and life makeover. And all that stuff takes time. I underestimated how much time it would take and spent a lot of time doing unnecessary actions. I got caught up in doing great stuff, but at the wrong time and in the wrong space in time for my business and personal life. In short I was chasing rabbits. Trying to multitask and do everything myself. Not wanting to let go a little. I finally realised I had to make a call – be authentically me, warts and all. This really is great new for my clients, because I know from experience what works and what does not.

I hope you enjoy the new home of iRock coaching.

Categories
Dealing with change

Dealing with the two ugly monsters: Fear and Doubt

This week I’m writing to you from a research study school I’m attending at the University of Johannesburg.

As I look around me, there are some really smart people in the room. They have done some amazing things. They have lots of experience. One person was on television just the previous evening as an expert panelist. I listen to one presentation after the other. What will be required of us in the coming years, the high level of research required and the strong focus on excellence. It feels overwhelming.

As I’m listening, two old ugly monsters are making their appearance. The first one I recognise by how all of a sudden my mouth is dry and my heart is beating faster. My palms feel a little moist. It’s fear – the same one from my childhood. What have I done….I feel panicky. Reality is setting in  and that is when the other monster arrives – DOUBT. Can I really do this? Everybody else around me seems to be so smart and confident. Who am I to want to take on a PhD? I’m just a mom/wife/business owner/…..fill in the blanks.

As I look around at the other students and look back at my own notes, I feel a strong urge to get up and leave. By now I am convinced that I am in the wrong place, that I’ve made a mistake, that they’ve made a mistake including me in the program.

“No, don’t leave. You need to be here. You’ve all been selected very carefully to be here.”, says the facilitator.

I decide to stay a little longer, hoping that by lunch time I would have regained some measure of composure. Towards the end of the session, one of my fellow students, a lady in her late forties, turns to me. Her eyes are as big as saucers. She leans over to me and whispers: “Are you also feeling so terrified or is it just me?” At that moment I realise that I’m not alone and we start chatting away, deciding that the only way to get through this is to work together and support each other.

At the end of  the day, after listening to all the presentations, the people at our table linger just a little longer. Everyone is somewhat doubtful, somewhat terrified of what is lying ahead in the months to come and concerned about whether we will finish proposals on time.

I’m sure this will be one hell of a ride ( our professors keep on reminding us) and I look forward to the future. I look forward to trying new things, to stretch my own thinking and be stretched by others. To take my work to a whole new level and be able to share all this new learning with my coaching clients in a meaningful way that would enrich their lives.

I encourage you to look at the things you fear. To sit with the fear and to wait it out, to not leave “the room”. To stay a little longer and meet incredible people on your journey. Allow yourself the gift of being stretched and moulded into a more fulfilling version of yourself.

wishing you many blessings
Rock On….

 

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Uncategorized

From resolutions to reality to Las Vegas?

It’s a new year and the majority of people are  scrambling to make those new years resolutions happen. Talking to your friends I’m sure the old favourites will pop up again:

  • Losing Weight
  • Run 5km
  • Stop smoking
  • Drink less
  • Take more time off this year
  • Spend more time with the kids
  • Find a life partner

Feels a little….. blah, doesn’t it.

This year I decided not to have any new years resolutions. (Shock, horror, surprise!) Instead I’ve been thinking and plotting and mapping out what I want for this year. Situations and experiences that will invigorate my mind, body and soul. Initially I had a whole flipchart full of stuff “To Do” – really boring stuff and then some really exciting, almost crazy things that almost seem impossible. I’ve narrowed it down to 3 major things:

  • A week in Las Vegas with my husband – no kids!
  • Write a kick-ass PhD proposal
  • Create lives that Rock for 1000 people this year.

Considering that I am also a mom with three school going kids, this is going to be quite an exciting, interesting and dare I say challenging year.

If you are thinking “How the hell is she going to do that?”, you are not alone. I’ve been asking myself that question a gazillion times over the past month. And then it dawned on me that I don’t need a specific, precise plan to make all this happen. I just need to start with an intention and feel the excitement and emotion – get real fired up. Not hard to do, who would not be fired up going to Vegas?

Living in Africa, going to Vegas would mean travelling just about half way around  the world. Challenging – yes, but possible.

Instead of focussing how I’m going to make those 3 experiences a reality, my focus is on the end result and what it would feel like once I’m there/have done it.

Whatever you hope to achieve this year, I’m sure you could do it. Get help, get a mentor, get a coach, get an accountability buddy. Take action!

Until next time,
Rock on….

Categories
Christmas Holidays Survive

How to survive the Christmas Holidays

It is that time of year, when we are all getting ready for Christmas. Family and friends might be visiting and who knows who else will show up at your door step? My friends and I have been talking about how one would survive this time, especially when you are living at the coast as we do here in sunny South Africa.

Survival tip 1:
Just remember that one day on your death bed, you will not be wishing you had spent more time cleaning your house. This should put things in perspective for you.

Survival tip 2:
Expect the unexpected when it comes to meal times. In our house over December I never know who will be showing up for supper. Prepare some pre-cooked items that you can take from the freezer and just pop into the microwave. Pre-cooked rice, lasagne, chicken, pumpkin pie have been some real life savers in the past.(Or you could just get everything from Woolworths!)

Survival tip 3:
Tell everyone where the washing machine is. If your clothes/towels are not in it, it does not get washed.

Survival tip 4:
Show everyone where the dishwasher is. That’s where plates and cups go after supper.

Survival tip 5:
When someone offers to help, say yes and have something ready for them to do. (Seriously, you don’t need a list).

Survival tip 6:
When the kids start asking “what can we do”, have something ready for them – here you do need a list. Our include: walk the dog, clean your room, play chess, play cards, go swimming, go for a walk, clean the back yard, reorganise your cupboard, do the dishes, sweep the floor, start supper, etc.

Survival tip 7:
Have glass of wine – sip it slowly. Breathe.

I’d love to hear what survival tips work for you. Leave us a comment below.