Great expectations... 3 tips for taking care & business amidst change

Ah that enduring quest for an ideal work-life blend…

Settling into the new home

Life has tipped the scales recently, as we cleared out, packed up and moved home.

Our the last few weeks I’ve been overjoyed, overwhelmed and over everything, over and over again, as we settle and expand into our new space.

Facing change, I have aimed for consistency, joy and clarity for next strategic development. On a daily basis, with each step and stumble I make, I choose trust and gratitude.

  My first swooning gaze at our new home, on 16 acres of beautiful land! I expect to be sharing will be newbie farming, outdoorsing geekery and agripreneurial updates as we settle in :)

My first swooning gaze at our new home, on 16 acres of beautiful land! I expect to be sharing will be newbie farming, outdoorsing geekery and agripreneurial updates as we settle in :)

I know many of you are navigating personal and business transitions, and that change can be scary and plain hard work. And I’m not going to pretend it’s been all gorgeous ease and grace for me, but rather would love to open up with you about some of my intentions, learnings and insights into what next.

Here are some tips from what has gone smoothly, and not so much.

Consistency

While it may not always be wildly imaginative, in the long run consistency is part of winning. The Boss puts it well:

Getting an audience is hard. Sustaining an audience is hard. It demands a consistency of thought, of purpose, and of action over a long period of time.

With the move and striving for consistency, I’ve consciously stepped back to focus on family and self, and invested in streamlining aspects of my business.

  Sketching my journaling.

Sketching my journaling.

Personally speaking, daily rituals and practice are invaluable. I love waking up each day before lilun stirs, to meditate and exercise, journal and express gratitude, and map out priorities afresh. I sketch and scribble ideas throughout my day. And it is so nourishing to carve out a little time each evening to reflect on learnings and wins, to wind down and reconnect with my partner. Such consistency is essential of my personal and professional growth.

And shucks I admit falling off the wagon all too often (especially during such an intense time as the move) and immersing in Scandinavian suspense on the telly and too much coffee and chocolate. Yep, not proud but it’s true, and thankfully I have increasing awareness and discipline to pick myself up each time. Back to honouring what is important and wholesome to me and those I love!

Bizwise, I signed up with a virtual assistance to help with social media and sharing content. This meant devoting lots of time to more clearly mapping out my ideas, content and workflow to make delegation easier. Creating my content for the month ahead and enjoying more efficiency and flow with batching each step.

As a result my workflow is more efficient and simpler to handover, and I can be more strategic with the blog posts, newsletters, social media and marketing I share. On the fly, I can create and connect live and raw, which is an excellent bonus. And I can enjoy quiet times offline. All the while sharing with a consistent approach to give value and build trust. Hoorah!

However, I confess that I’ve not yet found the VA for me… Unfortunately we faced lots of technological hiccups, I ran out of time to perfect my schedule or create #allthethings, and ultimately the lovely woman with whom I was working has now pivoted out of VA services. So I’m be back at the recruiting stage and flying solo, but grateful to have built my workflow and experience to find the right person.

Joy

“Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.”

Søren Kierkegaard, 1843

Gotta say it, joy rocks.

And sometimes it can be so hard to remember and tune into. Particularly when surrounded by tasks and bills, stressed to the eyeballs, feeling the fear and summoning all our hard-won superpowers. When there is all too much injustice and suffering in the world. When everyday responsibilities feel heavy, thankless and dull. And even when in full flight, eyes on the prize, winning #allthethings…

Pausing as a unicorn

These times can be challenging, exhilarating and all-consuming. Within these times, I seek to tune into joy, pleasure and gratitude.

To pause and breathe. Find some nature and a few minutes of peace to feel into. Make a cup of tea and relish it. Wear the unicorn headdress that my 3yo has so lovingly placed on my weary head. Write down some of the squillions of things I’m grateful for. Express thanks, love and trust.

These are simple pleasures, and they can be super quick and inexpensive. But sometimes we squash pleasure because we tell ourselves it’s too indulgent or selfish, something to be ashamed of.

Sometimes it seems too hard to find or feel those joys, or from hurt we gain realisations that are healing to share. In such shadows I’m learning to seek support and express what is going on - without expecting others to unlock joy or other answers for me.

I’m learning, and learning again, how important it is to take responsibility for our happiness. Before we look for it externally, through success, approval or even helping others. It is real work - the pleasurable and the hard honest work of facing up to ourselves.

It is powerful work to so develop our sufficiency, as Seth Godin describes it. Including simple joy within our resources - like that oxygen mask we need to first find and breathe for ourselves - helps us better empathise and connect with others, and create real value and impact in the wider world.

Clarity

Birds eye strategy

Honing strategy and productivity is immensely useful for clarity. I always recommend mapping out your strategy to give you birds-eye view of where and you are heading and why, to harness the power of your vision and purpose, align with your immediate and longer term goals, and amplify how you achieve and fine-tune along the way.

I love this stuff, and you can find lots of handy insights and tools shared here!

So being such an ardent #strategygeek, naturally I’ve planned this current transition out. Reflected and tracked and tweaked and celebrated brilliant wins (HELLO DREAM HOME!) and LOTS of lessons…

However with there are deeper changes at play than the simple moving of belongings, fam and biz, and (unsurprisingly but crushingly so) I am not crystal clear.

Luckily I’ve got structure and clarity of goals and systems as previously mapped out, which saves up loads of creative bandwidth. A good plan exists to follow - thanks past me.

Also I’m incredibly grateful for those who have supported, coached, mentored, inspired me and contributed countless joys - thank you!

Our local beach

But facing up now to transformation, not just the last boxes to blitz and business stuff to achieve, I’m feeling cloudy. And it’s an exciting and scary realisation. That right now, I can’t just strategise and crank up my productivity hacks, gaze into the horizon at my local beach, and dissolve the cloudiness. (Or maybe I can but…) I choose to face it with depth and courage over time.

So, in the spirit of clarity and growth, I have decided to take six weeks away from this business. A sabbatical, a purposeful untime in which key decisions will be made and unexpected things will emerge.

To be fair, though I say ‘untime’ it will largely be brimming with toddler adventures, cultivating and creating our new home with family and our expanding team of awesome experts, ongoing work and study responsibilities, along with lots of life and practice.

And frankly, taking time off is TERRIFYING for someone like me who feels lotsa validation in achieving goals and helping others.

Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.

Pause holding pattern.jpg

Maya Angelou

With this in mind, I am developing new goals and boundaries to support the sabbatical.

I will be glad to chat further about insights down the track, and of course would love to welcome your tips and learnings from taking a pause!

Kathryn Gray