Many people believe that you have to work hard, push hard and give yourself a hard time to be successful. They forget themselves, and what is required to nourish themselves. While this may create a degree of success, it is often at some cost to people’s wellbeing and quality of life. It can leave people feeling vaguely dissatisfied, cheated and even burned-out.
I advocate something kinder, something that takes you and what you require to thrive in life into account. There is a magic when we include ourselves in the equation, when we are kinder to ourselves and we pay attention to what we require – when that happens, we start to have a peace within us.
When we communicate and do business from that space, people feel heard, nourished and taken into consideration. This is the space from which you can create true success.
I would love, at the very beginning of 2018, to share with you my top four tips for a kinder new year:
1. Let go of judgment
We tend to judge the events and the people (including ourselves), in our lives. This was good, that was bad, I liked this, I didn’t like that. It is very tiring to function from that space and it is also very destructive. We are taught that judgment will lead to desired change. This is not true. Judgement only destroys.
This is true even when we judge ourselves positively. What occurs is that we put a “ceiling” on our potential and what is possible. When we judge ourselves as “brilliant,” it limits the more brilliance we could put forth, and it leaves us with nowhere to go except judgment when we are not stemming out of that brilliance.
Then there are all those places that we judge as “so bad,” and “so horrible,” that we are not willing to look at them. This takes immense energy to hide. When we are willing to look at what is really going on, we free up a lot of energy.
2. Banish doubt and fear
When these come into our minds, they can feel so real that we are inclined to believe their message. I see the purpose of fear and doubt is to “distract” us, to take us away from a new adventure, a new project.
The true kindness to ourselves here is to see the doubt and the fear for what they are – an automatic response of our mind. When we don’t give them any energy, they no longer have a hold over us. It is also good to check in: is this fear, or is this excitement? We often learn to confuse the two and so stop ourselves when we are actually excited to continue.
3. Ask questions to get to what is true for you
We are taught to follow formulae, principles and ideas to live our lives and create our businesses. These tend to be about other people and what has worked for them.
An alternative is to ask questions to get to what is true for you. Here are two that I love to ask:
“Where do I need to put my attention today?”
When you ask this, you get some awareness of what will create more for your business. Maybe it is a memory of a customer you need to talk to, for no apparent reason. And when you do, the reason becomes clear and the timing is excellent. Or it may be that you get the intuitive hint to go to a particular restaurant for lunch where you meet someone who can be a contribution to a part of your business that is stuck.
“If I choose this course of action, what will my life be like in five years time?”
When you ask this, you will get some kind of information. If you feel light, spacious, at ease, it means that the course of action will bring those feelings for you. On the other hand, if it’s heaviness, depletion, contraction, then choosing that direction will create those feelings.
We are not taught to make decisions like this. We are taught to make checklists and evaluate risks. For me, asking these simple questions is a kindness that gives a sense that will actually create what we desire. It brings you to a space where you are functioning more from “gut feeling” or intuition, and less from preconceived ideas and formulae.
4. Do what you love you do
There are a lot of people in the world who are forcing themselves to do what they are doing for work every day. They don’t believe they have a choice and continue to push themselves, functioning from adrenaline overload. This has an effect on their minds and their bodies and also on how they interact with colleagues and customers.
Conversely, if you think of someone who has a natural enthusiasm, buoyancy and vitality, they are loving what they do. Other people notice that, desire to be around them and find it much easier to say yes in business as they somehow get infected with the enthusiasm and joy.
To move towards doing what you love, I would suggest a first step of taking an hour for yourself every day to do something that nourishes you. That may be going to the gym, reading a book or singing a song. It may be something that totally surprises you, and it might be different every day.
You can also ask as you make your choices throughout the day, “Am I honoring me here, or am I just doing what I have decided I have to do to create money?”
The bonus of caring for yourself is that as you start to have more joy in your life, you will start creating more money and success. This is so easy and so different to what we are taught.
I wonder, what kindness for yourself can you add to your life that could contribute to you, those around you and your business in 2018?