5 More Quick Happiness Boosts for Bloggers

Hey bloggers! It's time to get happy with these 5 quick happiness boosts. Click through to read these quick happiness boosters for bloggers and download your free cheatsheet.

Today I'm trying something a bit different. As I've talked about previously, I want to try a few different things out in this whole blogging thing, and today I am pretty happy to be introducing audio posts. Check out the recording below to get your ears on five of my happiness boosts for bloggers.

 
 

Not a fan of listening to posts? Well, I've got you covered too, friend. Check out the summary below:

We all have our down days where we're just not feeling it. When doing the work that we usually love can feel like a total drag. Here are some of my five top happiness boosts for bloggers:

Happiness Boost #1: Having flowers or plants in your workspace

Liven up your space with flowers or plants to add a shot of nature to your office. It will inject some brightness and freshness into your day.

Happiness Boost #2: Gratitude

Get out of your own head, and take a few minutes to write down some of the things that make life that little bit better.

Happiness Boost #3: Crank up the tunes!

Feeling down? Try something upbeat. A bit frustrated? Put on some a chilled track and just float away. Metaphorically of course!

Happiness Boost #4: Get creative doing something other than work

Break out of the work you're doing and try something different. Creative pursuits are fun and allow different parts of your brain to fire up.

Happiness Boost #5: Help someone else

Being useful is a great boost to morale and could be just what the doctor ordered to lift you from a down mood. And someone else gets some help too! Win win.

Enjoyed these happiness boosts? Well, there's more where that come from! Check out 5 Happiness Boosts for Bloggers. Spoiler alert: it has a free cheatsheet too!

Now it's your turn. Have you tried any of these before? Do you have any other tips and tricks you use to boost your happiness? Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you. 

Why Taking Care of Yourself Makes You a Better Entrepreneur

An entrepreneur takes on so many roles in order to run a successful business, especially as an online creative. Blogger. Designer. Accountant. Marketer. CEO. This can be one of the greatest joys of running your own business, but also the biggest challenge. So how do you manage all this and not lose your mind? I’ve put together a resource to help with just this problem. Click through to read these helpful tips and access your free self-care resource and meditations.

Working to create a business and life you love can be the most amazing experience. You have the opportunity every day to create something meaningful and help others in the process. Indeed, when you hit your stride, running your own creative enterprise can be incredibly exciting and rewarding. When in the zone, you may have so much on the go but yet you still feel excited and challenged and passionate about what you do, and carried along on a contact high of productivity that it feels like you could go for hours without needing to come up for air.

But this is not always the way unfortunately. Being an entrepreneur can also be exhausting, frustrating and heartbreaking. You give so much of yourself to your work that coming up against challenges and continually not seeing results can leave you depleted and disenchanted. Add to this the countless hours you need to commit to getting everything done, as well as everything else in your daily life still demanding your attention, and pretty soon your health and overall wellbeing can take a beating. Feeling this way can fast become a slippery slope into overwhelm and before you know it your groove gets jolted and you have so much to do and not enough energy or time to do it. Your headspace clouds over and you feel buried by all the junk that life and work throws at you.

I totally get it. We all feel this way at times (sometimes all the time!) and in creating and working on my business I have had times when I’ve felt so overwhelmed and fundamentally challenged that I’ve reached the point of wondering if I should just pack it all in and go back to the 9-to-5 grind. Thankfully my loathing of my former ‘career’ and deep desire for freedom has helped me stay the course, but as I kept coming up against this cycle I knew I needed a way to stop getting to breaking point. I realised that digging myself out of a rut can take a lot of energy and patience, and while it’s totally possible, wouldn’t it be better to just avoid going there in the first place?

Are you feeling this too?

To help you out (because that’s what I’m here for!) I wanted to share some of the ways I know to help get back on track, and to stop myself from spiralling too far into a depression. Along with these tips, I have just created and launched a free (yep, you heard it right, free!) online email series to help folks, especially busy entrepreneurs, to take control of their self-care and get some quick strategies to get happier and able to get back to creating your world-changing empire more quickly. More about that at the end… (or you could just sign up now with this form below if you're keen:)

Okeydokes, here we go. Read on for some of my top strategies for improving your self-care today:

BOOST YOUR OVERALL WELLBEING

If you ask Google to ‘define wellbeing’ (and I did) the first result you’ll see is the definition that wellbeing is ‘the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.’ Sounds like something we all strive for, and certainly worth pursuing, yet so many of us relegate our health and happiness to the bottom of our to-do list and treat caring for ourselves as either an afterthought or something that gets done if we ever get time. “Sweet heavens above, please let me find the time!” We long to take care of ourselves, but as a culture we don’t, or can’t, seem to prioritise it. We idealise an overloaded schedule and constantly strive to prove we can do, be and have more. No wonder we all get so burnt out! 

This behaviour is kind crazy and definitely counterproductive to living a good life. By being in the best state of comfort, health and happiness we are able to more present and engaged in our lives, and filling our time with a frenzied pace doesn't allow us to create the space we need to care for ourselves. When we truly take care of ourselves so much of the drama and overwhelm melts away, we're able to see improvements across all the areas of our lives. We have better relationships because we’re less testy and more present. Our work will naturally improve as our concentration levels are better and our access to creativity and innovation gets clearer. So, to borrow an old-fashioned expression, prioritising everything and everyone else in our lives before our own wellbeing is like putting the cart before the horse. In other words, the wrong way around!

Looking for a way to kick-start your journey back to wellbeing, but not sure where to start? Or maybe you’re doing ok at taking care of yourself but sometimes it gets away from you. Either way I’ve got you covered! I’ve created a meditation to help you stop the busy busyness of your work, your day, your thoughts, and get a wellbeing check in. The best part? It’s under 10 minutes long so is a great way to get started and not be too big a time drainer.

Get it here as part of the free five-day self-care series:

IDENTIFY YOUR DERAILERS

Similar to the point above, looking at your life and being able to identify what is not working for you and where you might have your priorities out of alignment can be the start of some beautiful changes.

One element of this is being able to recognise what keeps tripping you up as you work towards creating and living a great life. I call these ‘derailers’ as they knock you off track again and again. You’re cruising along, then wham, these elements crop up and before you know it you’re either heading in the wrong direction or have stopped moving forward completely.

Being able to identify these derailers will allow you to get back on track more quickly or, even better, stop from being derailed in the first place.

Derailers can be unconscious behaviours like popping into Facebook to check one thing and suddenly realising you’ve been on there for two hours, or hurdles and challenges you weren’t expecting (super common when you’re in business for yourself!). You may find that others are thwarting your efforts to get more done either through general distraction or by expressing their very present needs (such as a hungry child or a client who contacts you in a panic with an urgent project change or request).

When we become derailed from our original focus it can feel upsetting and frustrating, and add to this that all too often we can also feel disappointed in ourselves for not sticking to our original intention. We might become angry or short-tempered and the last thing we feel during these times is calm and in control.

Being able to identify these derailers allows us to get ahead of them and create strategies to lessen or even negate these obstacles. It may be as simple as adding 25% time allowance for every project you plan or setting a timer before you enter the murky time-sucking vortex of social media. Heck, even allow yourself time to check social media where you can just follow your nose and spend an hour there. This is not about denying yourself distractions, but rather it is a way of stopping distractions, disappointments and life from derailing your objectives. You're ultimately setting yourself up for a win, rather than allowing yourself to keep being knocked off track.

Want more tips on overcoming derailers? Check out my post on 5 Common Derailers for Newbie Bloggers

MEDITATION

I know that I find meditation super beneficial (when I remember to do it!). It helps still my busy, busy brain and allows me to find clarity when trying to solve a problem. I’m not alone here. There’s so much research to demonstrate the benefits meditation can have in our lives, health, happiness and so much more. I’m not going to bombard you with statistics and research, but here are few resources worth checking out if you have time:

I have a super active imagination and while this is often one of my greatest assets, it can also make more traditional, silent meditation a big challenge and kind of a drag. My thoughts just keep coming at me and I get annoyed that I just can’t get it together, and the thoughts keep swirling around and around, and thus the cycle continues. This feeling of frustration makes it hard to implement and stick with a regular meditation practice because there's no real benefit. This is where guided meditations come in. I find it so much easier to still my mind when I can be taken on a journey, and just allow myself to let go of my thoughts without having to do all the heavy lifting. I still get so much benefit from the experience but so much of the pressure has been taken off and I find this helps me maintain the desire to keep up the practice.

You know I've got your back, my friend, and I’m here to help you out. Like I mentioned above, I have recently created a couple of guided meditations as part of my free self-care series as I see these as really effective tools in improving wellbeing, and I want to help folks get the benefits of meditation without the hard work.

I’m really proud of how these turned out and feel like they really are the stars of the program. You should totally sign up for this series just to get your hands on them!

EMBRACE ACCEPTANCE

Acceptance is one of these principles we all understand, can see the value in and want to embrace, yet it is also one tricky little fiend. I would love to achieve acceptance in all things and move through the world like a zen monk, being untouched emotionally by others and their shortcomings, and generally being a loving creature. But alas, this is not simple. In fact, I think acceptance is one of the trickiest emotions to embrace.

Acceptance means that we allow something to be, without trying to change it or exert our will, or force something to be other than it is. This sounds simple enough, but when something or someone acts in a manner which is so contrary to what you believe it should be then acceptance can feel impossible.

However, acceptance isn’t about blithely embracing things without question. Rather, acceptance is taking away the anger and emotional attachment to an issue, and therefore freeing you up to focus your attention and energy in a more positive way.

If you’d like to explore how to better embrace acceptance in your life and business, I have a handy meditation to help you in creating more acceptance in your life, I have a whole section dedicated to this in the self-care series.

MAKE THE COMMITMENT. SHOW UP.

One of the best things you can do to honour your self-care is to continue to make the commitment to be kind to yourself, and actively engage in ways to improve your health, happiness and comfort. Not only will you find it easier to pull yourself out of a spiral into overwhelm before you're too far gone, but you'll find that you head toward these negatively feelings less and less because you naturally have a better mindset.

Will you let me help you get started?

In the self-care series I've put together some of my best strategies to help cultivate the right mindset for creating a better business and life. I know I’ve spoken a lot about the series in this article, but this is because I created it especially for the purpose of helping folks, especially bloggers, creative and entrepreneurs, to make self-care easier and allow themselves to enjoy the process of running a business and working towards creating an amazing life.

I wanted to make sure this series gave you resources to get ahead in the self-care game as well as tools you could use when you're in a bad headspace and need some help to get you out.

I'd love it if you signed up. I know it could help you improve your overall happiness and believe that when we are in the best headspace, we are able to create our best work and show up fully in life.

The Futile Pursuit of Perfection

In business (and life) chasing perfection is setting you up to be disappointed for the very simple reason that perfection does not exist. There is no such thing as ‘perfect’ and Stephen Hawking is here to tell you why. Click through to read this article and watch the video.

Stephen Hawking is rather a clever chap. Along with being one of history’s truly great scientific minds, he also has the ability to explain highly complex concepts and processes in accessible ways to the layperson. I am just such a layperson. Despite my creative, non-scientific mind, I have a mad love of documentaries about physics, especially about space and the Universe. I wish I could say I understood everything these contained but alas, no. Quite the opposite at times.

Hawking, on the other hand, is behind some of my favourite documentaries for precisely the reason that one of his many considerable gifts is to illustrate intelligent yet understandable explanations of scientific concepts. Most incredibly though are the beautiful parallels he draws between physics and how we live our lives. Talk about making science accessible!

I love to look at how what I learn can be applied to my own life, and challenges I face, and one such lesson that struck a chord with me was hearing him talk about perfection. In his own words, one of the basic rules of the Universe is that nothing’s perfect – perfection simply does not exist.

I wanted to share this as an invitation for you to consider the role the pursuit of perfection plays in your life, and your business. Does working toward perfection hold you back from being willing to give things a go, unless you can control the outcome? Maybe you struggle to get past the dream stage because in reality things won't always go how you planned?

Realising that perfection doesn't exist may just set you free.

This short video contains an excerpt from one of his documentaries, Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking, which does a very elegant job of explaining why perfection does not exist and why we wouldn't want it to anyway:

Considering the necessity for imperfection in creating anything new. why is it we strive so hard for the opposite? This may sound rather cynical but I think this is because

'perfection' is something our culture encourages, whether consciously or otherwise, because it is unachievable. If we keep trying and striving to be and do more, we buy into a cycle of self-improvement and consumption that never ends. The beauty industry is one such example of a mechanism to keep us endlessly chasing perfection.

Indeed, anyone who tells you that perfection is achievable is trying to sell you something.

Given that perfection is impossible, instead of wearing the badge of ‘perfectionist’ with a kind of battle-worn pride, or trying to change ourselves to suit an ideal archetype, I believe we should embrace the imperfection in our selves, in others and in life - as that is truly where the magic lies.

As bloggers and creatives, striving for an unattainable perfection can all too often hold us back from sharing our message with the world.

To paraphrase Stephen Hawking, without imperfection nothing would be here. That means there would be no hot chips or potato fries, no puppies, no sunsets over snow-capped mountains, no Ewan McGregor. And really, who would want to live in a Universe like that? Certainly not me.


What do you think about perfection? Does it hold you back, or have you been able to let go of the belief in one ideal outcome? I'd love for you to share your thoughts in comments below, and don't forget to share this with a friend who might also like it.

Getting personal

Plan Create Grow is headed in a new direction and things are about to get personal.

Increasingly there is a shift toward authenticity and personality in the brands of businesses. From large corporations to solopreneurs, businesses are taking to social media and blogging, video and advertising with clear voices and compelling stories. And their customers are responding in kind. Loyalty to brands such as Apple inspires a fervour which would have been unheard of 20-30 years ago.

Yet for so many businesses, creating a ‘personality’ for their brand is easier said than done. The question of how to be personal and still maintain a level of professionalism is a tricky prospect, and one I know I struggle with. While I will explore this concept further in the future at Plan Create Grow, for now I wanted to concentrate on my relationship with this issue, and how I am addressing it. Like I said, things are about to get personal.

After years of a career in the corporate world, my communication style and written voice has been shaped and moulded around an impersonal professionalism so typical to that culture. Friendly, sure, but not really an honest indication of the person behind the message. In that context I think this is appropriate, but when it comes to speaking from the heart and sharing ideas and inspiration with the Plan Create Grow community, this absolutely won’t fly.

With all the best intentions in the world, a few years ago I started writing and blogging (particularly in a previous blog I created elsewhere) in the voice unconsciously shaped by my corporate career. Don’t get me wrong, it is still my voice, but as I read these articles back while I like them and am still excited about the ideas, it feels like there is an element missing: that essence of how I communicate with real humans outside this corporate sphere and how I engage with the people in my world, particularly those I’m closest to.

I am determined to rediscover my true style.

It can feel frightening to speak in our real voices, particularly as business owners, bloggers and creatives – what if we alienate someone? Will people like my stuff enough if I wear my heart on my sleeve? Will I be able to survive financially if I don’t get everyone to think I’m super fantastic? Will I be ridiculed for being myself?

Yet more and more we find unique voices emerging in the online and offline worlds. People are speaking as themselves, and the public are responding and engaging like never before.

All of this brings me nicely to the changes afoot at Plan Create Grow. Firstly I’m going to be consciously communicating in a voice that rings true for who I am, the risk of alienating people be damned! I have always loved writing, but the slightly constricted version of my voice has taken some of the joy out of that and obviously this has got to stop.

Also, the type of content I offer, and the way in which it is delivered, will be more of a reflection of my interests, tastes and how I engage with the world. Sometimes irreverent, sometimes off topic, I want to share with this community my filter on the world and hope that this is a reflection of your world too. I love connecting people and ideas, and so many of my conversations bring to mind things I’ve seen, read or heard, and I can’t help but relate these to the topic at hand. You’ll be getting some of this action here too.

I keep being called to create something beautiful – both visually and as a way to experience the world. I want this space to feel like you’ve wandered into my living room (without all the clutter and bits of paper lying around, of course!) and have plopped yourself down on my couch for a cup of tea and a chat. I want my online living room to be a place in which you want to spend time, because you know you can be yourself here.

It’s all about showing up, being present and being brave in the face of vulnerability.

The future is exciting, and so is the present.

Thanks for sticking around and I look forward to sharing more sweet goodness with you from right now.