mindfulness

How To Grow Your Business By Trusting Your Intuition

By Rachel Allan

You already know the answer. Before you were aware of the question, you already knew the answer. What you lack is the confidence to believe in yourself and trust your intuition.

When you are next deciding and you are not sure, focus on what your body and mind is telling you, this is your intuition guiding you.

Making decisions guided by your intuition will feel right, and will have more chance of successful outcomes. You will be committed to success, because it is on path for your goal achievements.

What is intuition? It is simply a feeling. Have you ever had a feeling that you shouldn’t be doing something or the feeling that what you are doing is just perfect. That is intuition. Next time you are stuck trying to make a decision toss a coin and make your decision based on heads – yes and tails – no. Once the coin gives you the answer how do you feel. Do you feel that it is the right decision or the wrong decision – this is your intuition working.

Here are my four top tips to using intuition in your business:

  1. Does it fit with your goals? The answer is simple

  2. Are you excited about the opportunity or project? Then give it a go

  3. Do you think it may be OK but not sure? Don’t rush a decision – give yourself 24 hours

  4. It doesn’t feel right. The answer is simple.

  5. Have confidence to make the decision

Once you believe in yourself, and trust your intuition, it will make the everyday decision making in your business, and your life, both easier and true to you. If you would like to learn more on intuition check out the free course, Getting Closer to Balance at www.rachel-allan.thinkific.com

Rachel Allan has been a business owner for 12 years, and a mum for 5½ years. On her business-and-baby journey she has learned a lot about life, business and herself. She shares her discoveries (and the wisdom of other parents and experts) with you in her new book, When Business Meets Baby. Rachel is honoured to be Sophie’s mum, and she is also an author, integrated marketer, entrepreneur and property investor. From 2007 she has shared her journey with her business and life partner Craig.

If you would like to discover more about Rachel and the services she offers, visit her at www.rachelallan.com.au.

Mindful Painting: Turning Anxiety Into Art

By Monica Kovach

If you’ve had any experience trying to develop a mindfulness practice, you know it can be hard work. Mindfulness, by nature, illuminates whatever is present - the good, bad, and the ugly. Learning to face all parts of ourselves with compassion and equanimity is no easy task, especially when we’ve learned to hate, fear, and avoid parts of ourselves.

Growing up, I was a pretty anxious kid, but you probably wouldn’t have been able to tell. I was afraid of doing anything wrong, and I got really good at flying under the radar. I learned to value “goodness” and “niceness” so much, that when any aspect of my personality showcased any opposite qualities (like anger or impatience), I worked hard at denying them, and thus, buried them. If you’re having a hard time picturing what this might look like, think: UniKitty from The Lego Movie.

And just like UniKitty, these buried parts of myself were destined to boil over at one point or another, and when they did, it was extreme. Not extreme as in I unleashed hell on everyone around me; because, I was still deeply afraid of negatively affecting anyone. It was extreme in the way that I reacted toward myself.

Self-deprecating shame spirals were a common occurrence, as were migraines and emotional breakdowns in the form of uncontrollable crying. And later, panic attacks.

All of this self-inflicted abuse continued until I learned how stop avoiding the parts of me I didn’t love, and ultimately, accept and love them instead. How did I do this? Mindfulness. And therapy, let’s be honest. But mindfulness was a big part of my therapy journey as well, so yeah… Mindfulness.

This concept and practice of mindfulness is really just about observing what’s happening in the moment - thoughts, sensations, and emotions - without judgment. It’s the “without judgment” part that really tripped me up at first; I would immediately label my thoughts or emotions as “bad” because I learned to do that at an early age.

The thing that really helped me break free from the automatic judgment response was art - specifically painting. I never considered myself a painter; in fact, I went to school for photography and was pretty attached to that identity for my creative outlet. But when I started experimenting with watercolors as a medium to express my inner experience, it just clicked. The way the colors blend, move, and spread across the page matched my inner thought-scape. Their watery nature felt like an accurate representation of subtle, elusive states of mind, body, and spirit. Their fast, fluid unpredictability said “Yes, this is what emotions feel like.” And after a while, I realized that I was practicing mindfulness.

By representing my thoughts and emotions as abstract, fluid swatches of color, I was able to literally observe what was happening in the present moment. I was able to release judgment, knowing that unpredictability is just part of the watercolors’ nature, and that it would be silly to judge a watercolor painting for doing what it does best. How easy it was, then, to replace key words in that sentence: It would be silly to judge a mind for doing what it does best. There’s a fascinating thing that happens when we create something that resonates so profoundly with our inner experience. It’s like looking into a mirror, and seeing all your flaws, strengths, and features. Then, magically, we look at the image looking back at us, and see ourselves with fresh eyes… With compassionate eyes… With loving eyes. It’s this compassionate and loving experience that I was a stranger to for most of my life.

Watercolor painting opened up an avenue for self-expression, authenticity, and ultimately, self-love. And while I still dance with anxiety, my relationship to it has changed; I now realize that it’s just part of the masterpiece that is my fluid state of being.

Monica is an art therapist and career coach, based in Detroit, Michigan. She runs TheGrowthStudio.org, where she helps dreamers, doers, and change-makers find and live their calling.

The Friday Files

I seem to be on a never ending quest for balance these days.  I'm learning (slowly) that the battle is a long one, defined only by the individual.  This weekend I found what seemed to be the perfect balance (for me) at this momemt, that involved early morning walks by the beach, iced coffee and powering through some big projects (hello website rebrand!) before shutting down the laptop and getting outside to enjoy the sunshine.

I'm admittedly one that can work for hours in a focused state, unaware of what is happening around me. I adore working and growing Blog Society but I've learned that this is only sustainable when I allow time for self-care so I forced that be a priority this past week.

The result?

After a busy yet restful weekend I've headed into this week with a clear head and heart.  While the rain poured here in Sydney and our friends in the Northern Hempishwere on the East Coast got pounded with snow, I feel liked I've settled back into a routine that has been missing for ages.  While my to-do list is full again, filled with new and exciting projects, I'm ready and willing to tackle them all - but not before putting a little R&R at the top of the priority list this weekend.

I'll be spending some time on the Northern Beaches again, celebrating my partner's birthday and some much needed time with girlfriends catching up and crafting. I can't wait, blissful balance is on the cards.

Before I sign off for the week, here's the link love that caught my eye....xx Jac

  • These mindfulness worksheets have changed my morning routine for the better
  • Can't wait to embrace the calm and dive into this book over the weekend
  • A yoga retreat in Sri Lanka? Yes please.
  • Joining some of my closest gal pals for this workshop, can't wait to get my craft on!
  • Major envy of the SXSW line-up this year including this Instagram panal
  • Did you hear the news? You'll want to Save The Date for our May 1 class

How to start meditating at work

By Mirjam Helder

We have all heard it many times before - the benefits of meditating. It releases stress, calms the mind and the body, connects you to yourself, you are happier and you have a good vibrancy surrounding you. The list of mental and health benefits goes on and on.

But then why is it so hard to stick to it, when there are only good things that come with a meditation?

Here are a few facts before you start so that you don´t stress about actually doing a meditation:

  • You don’t have to meditate 60 Minutes right away - start simple and small. Do 10 minutes every day - and then increase.
  • Find guided meditations. It is so much easier to meditate with guidance in the beginning. It takes practice to sit still and control your thoughts or even still your thoughts eventually.
  • Find a spot in your house, at work or outside where you can meditate in peace.
  • Don’t do anything while meditating. Just sit or lay somewhere comfortable. Combining taking a bath and meditating is not meditating. It will save you time, but that is not what we are striving for.
  • Find a group or a course for meditating. Teachers can help you with questions you have or give you good advice.
  • Have a smile on your face while meditating. Meditation and life is easier with a smile on your face.

Whether you’re self-employed or work at an office, bring your meditation to work. You spend so many hours at work, why not do a meditation at work?

Work is most likely stressing you out anyway and who doesn’t wish for a more calm and happy work environment. When you are your own boss it is easier to pick a time throughout the day to meditate. But as an employee you have to stick to the hours where you have to work or when you have a lunch break.

So, if you have a 60-minute lunch break, take 10 minutes to meditate. Take your phone, download a guided meditation, plug your earphones in and start. I recommend music, mantras or a guided meditation as the office or outside sounds can be distracting. I guarantee you, you will go back to your office relaxed, motivated and with a high positive vibrancy.

Meditation is also about mindfulness. A simple but yet effective tool is to go around your office and in your mind say something very nice and kind about your co-worker. For example: “Susan, I wish you a good result on the report you’re doing for our boss. Phil, you have helped me in so many ways this year here at the office - thank you.” Not only will you feel great, but you will send out amazing vibes at the office. Being mindful about your thoughts will have an amazing effect not only on others when you think something nice about them, but also on your own life. As you might know, what you think, you attract. So be more mindful about your thoughts and if your thoughts seem out of control, try to quiet your mind with a meditation every now and then.

Don’t forget to take a good deep breath every now and then. We tend to be short of breath all the time. When you get stressed, overwhelmed or feel confused, breathe. Notice how a good breath relaxes you and makes tensions go away. As important as your breathing is in a meditation, it is also important throughout the day. Set a timer on your phone to remind you every hour to take a deep breath.

If for whatever reason you did not get the chance to meditate at work, plug your earphones in while commuting. It might be too difficult meditating on a train or a bus, but you could look for a visualisation. Maybe you have had some issues with money, self-love or health. Look online for a specific visualisation where you mentally repeat affirmations to shift your focus and remove the blocks you had so far. As you focus on repeating those affirmations, you won’t necessarily notice the surrounding sounds. And you might find it useful to have a visualisation that has the same time frame as your commute, so you don’t miss getting off at your exit.

Here is a wishful thought: Maybe your colleagues will notice your positive change because of the meditation and want to join. Try not to convince them before starting your routine. Let them notice the change on their own. And if they like what they see, you have people joining your meditation and you mindful behaviour.

Go for it now – it’s never too late to make life just a bit more beautiful.

Mirjam Helder is the founder of Living Your Best Life Today, a website for women in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It is a website with articles, podcasts and meditations as well as visualisations that help you live a life beyond your wildest dreams. She believes we can create a life, a business and relationships we love. What we need are inspirations, tools and courage to go for it. It does not matter where you are in life right now or what has happened to you. You can make a commitment to change today, deal with the ups and downs better and ask for more in life. Start living your authentic truth today and become the unique woman you want to be. We need your voice, your love and your compassion. There is a reason why you are here - show us that reason. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram