GGS: My new GPS

Blog - Possiblity

This is a longie but goodie so I’ll cut to the chase. If nothing else, try this at home:

  1. Identify 5-6 people, businesses, or organizations that you admire.
  2. Write down the top three things that you admire about each.
  3. What do those qualities tell you about who you are and who you can be?

This exercise is the best shortcut I know to understanding ourselves. Using others as a window into our own soul. Gold.

I was accidently reminded of this shortcut as I found myself being pulled to these 3 words over the past few weeks.

Grounded. Generous. Service.

Some people would call them ‘guiding words’ but that’s a bit too airy-fairy for me, so I’m thinking of them as my new GPS. Pointing the way to how I want to be showing up in life and what I want as the foundation of my business.

As I’ve asked myself what that actually means, sure enough, my GGS radar has been going off like crazy.

Hello… Why do you think I’m constantly raving about the only place to eat out around here, how to get your money overseas dirt cheap, how I love doing yoga at home, and some miracle workers on the health front?

I engage with grounded, generous and service-oriented businesses each and every day.

Now I know why I love them so much: They fit my own bill.

And now that I’ve woken up to that, I can learn from them. Use what I see in them to show me the way forward. For that, I am forever grateful.

Instead of keeping the (unsolicited btw) rave reviews to myself, I’m sharing them with you. When something changes my life, I want it to change yours.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy a GGS guided ride.

1. How to turn your world upside down from your own living room… aka Gaia.com

I’ve been using gaia.com consistently for the past 2 years. Say no more! Because there is very little I’ve done consistently for any length of time in the last decade of my life, let alone 2 whole years!!!!

Never did I think I’d be doing handstands in my front room without using the wall! But it’s true. And I’ve got Gaia to thank for that.

Clearly they have grounded me, but what grounds them?

Grounded: They make it uber accessible to broaden your physical, mental and spiritual health. And they keep it simple. When you log on, pick the category and subcategory you’re looking for, and you’re good to go.

Generous: As a member, you get amazing value for money. Think your gym, netflix for personal growth, and a holistic health guide all in one… for only 10 bucks a month! There is so much packed in there, you need a lifetime to get through it all. Plus they have new member offers to save you some dough and offer referral scheme where you can end up with free yoga. (Here’s my link in case you want to check them out.)  

Service:  I mentioned they keep it simple, which is a bonus since there is so much variety. Whether it’s a quick 15 minute cool down for after a run, morning yoga routines, or a 15 day guided cleanse, I am never left wanting, which keeps me coming back even after 2 years.

2. How to occupy Wall Street and stay out of jail: Transferwise!

If you’re big on boycotting the banks, check these guys out.

I stumbled across them thanks to a google ad while trying to figure out a way to pay my coach in the US without jipping us both out of 30-40 bucks.

At first glance, they seem too good to be true. Transfer money anywhere in the world without paying bank fees?

So I called their customer service team, which were SUPER helpful as they were genuinely happy to answer all my typical control-freak and risk-averse questions.

Turns out they are legit.

Grounded: They too are simple. No fuss, no muss. Create an account. Pick an amount to send. Enter the recipient’s email. Enter your bank details. Job done.

Generous: When it only costs you £4.98 to send £1,000 to the US, I think that says enough.  But since I like to talk, I’ll expand on this. It’s clear they are not there to make money. Going back to grounded: they believe in what they do, that their service will change your life, and so they keep your money in your pockets and rely on customers coming back and spreading the word.

And here I am voluntarily spreading the word.

They also like to thank their customers for doing. So next time you are wondering how to pay your coach, get paid from your client, send your sister some birthday cash, or send money home, check them out. This link will give you a free transfer up to £2000.

Service: Anything that saves me time and money is a win for me.

3. A tale of two banks that shall and shall-not be named: Go forth with USAA

Speaking of money…. I’ve banked with USAA my whole adult life, thanks to my dad’s service in the US Coast Guard. While they didn’t seem so special to me half a life-time ago, now I can’t rave about them enough.

Grounded: They do what they do for US military families, full stop. My only complaint here is that they should branch out beyond military and beyond the US so that more people could have such a simple and pleasant banking experience.

Generous: They refund any cash withdrawal ATM fees you incur, without a cap on this. Their motor and property insurance policies are astoundingly low. And when you call to speak to someone, it’s like talking to your really nice next door neighbor. They genuinely care.

Service: They understand their customer’s main banking challenge: Mobility. When you get deployed somewhere new every 2 years or so, having a bricks and mortar local branch to do your banking doesn’t really help as you have to move on. They make it easy to do the normal everyday things in life.

Like changing your name or resetting your debit card pin number.  Seemingly simple but you’d be surprised. You gotta hear this…

When I got married, all they needed was a scanned copy of my marriage certificate. Unlike every other organization which has asked to see the original paper copy (including my mobile phone company!!!!) which, I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea to be posting the one and only copy of my marriage certificate around the world, and I’m not too keen on the postage bill.

When my husband and I back packed for 9 months we used our USAA account and another account from a bank-which-shall-not-be-named. I am still recovering from the trauma of this one.

Let’s just say that when you are in the South Island of New Zealand and you get locked out of your account, sending a new pin number via snail-mail in 3-5 business days, or visiting your local branch in the UK, or even, as an olive branch, your nearest local branch which is located on the very north of the North Island, doesn’t really help. Resetting it for you over the phone does (thank you USAA).

It made me think… if one bank/company can go paperless, why can’t everyone else?

I realize that not everyone will be able to experience their service… US military personnel and family members only. If you fall into that category and haven’t looked into it, run don’t walk. Note: Retired military counts too… eg) your dad may have been in the service for 2-3 years in 1978 and you could still be eligible.

4. Awaken your inner Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman with doTERRA

I was introduced to doTERRA about 6 months ago when a friend was telling me about her essential oils business. I had heard of essential oils through some of Gaia’s yoga instructors, and even had a couple in my house that were just sitting there collecting dust. When my friend sent me a few samples to try, I was hooked.

Grounded: Their name means ‘gift of the earth’ in Latin. I don’t think you can get more grounded than that. 🙂

Seriously though, they stand firm in how they source and produce their product. Lavendar from the South of France, lemons from Italy. Think of their products as the equivalent of Champagne from Champagne, or Parmigiano from Parma . They source nature’s bounty from its indigenous region with the ideal growth environments, harvest at just the right time, and extract the oils in a way that ensures the best quality.

They get a lot a heat for their self-regulated CPTG standard, but they still stand by what they do. Just because there’s no industry regulator in existence, doesn’t mean they can’t hold themselves to standards.

Generous: They are consistently giving back to their members. Free products, monthly discounts, and opportunity to earn when you spread the word. (You can find out more here.)

Service: It works. Which makes it easy for them to stand behind what they do. The oils have aided in my digestion, skin repair, coughs, joint and muscle aches, and more. Added bonus: they smell nice and look pretty 🙂

5. Where to go when you’re craving a piece of NYC but stuck in Wales: Wright’s Food Emporium

The moment I walked into Wright’s 18 months ago, I knew I was home. The vibe is like none other I’ve come across in my 8 years of living in the UK. I was so smitten, I fulfilled my dream of being a waitress, just so I could be in this space on a regular basis. I would walk around the sun-flooded tea room, or the fire-lit cozy, or the laid-back and inviting wine room, and send out gratitude for finding the closest thing to a West Village haunt in this countrified corner of Wales.

Grounded: Their values are clear: Good Food & Good Vibe. In a part of the world where I’ve been to pubs and I swear the peas and carrots were boiled from frozen (my childhood nightmare) and the bread from Asda, walking into a place that makes their bread and cakes daily, on-site, and only uses fresh and organic meat and vegetables, was like putting on an oxygen mask. These people appreciate food and know how to cook it.

Generous: They also know how to make you feel at home. You walk in and seriously, everybody knows your name. Which takes people going out of their way to give you the time of day. You’re not just another customer. You’re a person they are genuinely interested in. 

Service: You go there for the food and for sure will leave with full bellies. Even better, you leave with a fuller heart.

6. How to heal your gut + smell nice at the same time: Chuckling Goat

Last Christmas I wanted to treat myself to some natural, handmade, soaps; locally made if possible please. I googled something to that effect and came across a website called Chuckling Goat.

Hmmm… Interesting.  What’s goats got to do with soap?

Everything when the soap base is made from goat’s milk kefir.

Grounded: Kefir and gut health is veering toward trendy these days, but that is not why Chuckling Goat exists. The story is fascinating… how kefir and essential oils saved the owner’s son’s and husband’s lives. Because they have experienced the healing power first hand, they do not compromise their product.

Raw goats milk from their free-range, organic goats, is fermented with their unique strain of kefir grains. Nothing is added to the goats milk other than the grains.

Which means it doesn’t suit everybody’s taste buds. But who cares if it works.

Generous: The owners opens up their home once a month for customers to meet the goats and have their health questions answered. They want to see your body healed and life changed; so much so, that they will spend time with you until all you have all your answers and then some.

Service: They want you to be empowered to own your own health. Once you accept the choice is yours, their products do the rest.

I was only interested in the soap at first (again: smells nice, looks pretty 🙂 ) but after 2 hours in their kitchen, I got thinking… maybe the kefir could help with the dry skin on my right hand? If not, it might help with the wind I get after eating red meat? Not things that were high on my ‘to-fix’ list, but I realized that I don’t have to settle. The discomfort can dissipate if I take responsibility for it. My husband and I both did a 21 day course of Kefir and both those symptoms have noticeably improved (he’s very grateful for the latter 🙂 ) with the added bonus that we no longer keep a stash of chocolate in the house. Sugar cravings? Gone.

In summary:

If you’re still reading, 1. if you can’t tell, I highly recommend engaging with these GGS businesses. Your life will change. 2. I also highly recommend taking the time to learn from those around you that you admire. 

You may not feel like you are ‘there yet’ (I know I certainly don’t) but everything I’ve highlighted in purple reflects back to me inherent values of mine. Which creates the possibility for me to make it onto my own list one day.

I’ll be using the following as my GPS this year.

  • Grounded: You know who you are. What you do, and why you do it.
  • Generous: You freely give without expectation of anything in return.
  • Service: You make a difference.

I’d love to know: What will you be using as yours? 

And what would make a difference in your life right now? Let me know in the comments below.

And if having a conversation about your life would make a difference, schedule a time to chat.

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The importance of eating pie when you want to succeed

If I had to sum up 2015 in one word, it’d be this: Failure.

This is the year I learned how to fail. And for the most part, not gracefully.

I did learn this though: With a scoop of Humble Pie, a Failure can easily turn into a Success.

Let me explain…

First off, you should know that I’ve avoided the F-word like the plague. Ever since 1st grade, when they had us line up side-by-side in the schoolyard at the end of recess, and I got the stern look from the school-aide for giggling, that was it. I never wanted to experience that look again so I did my damnedest to stay out of trouble.

Mistakes not allowed. Always stay on the good side of authority.

If you thought admitting ‘I’m not perfect’ a year ago was a big pill to swallow, trust me, admitting ‘I have failed’, was a pill so big, it got stuck in my throat more than a few times.

After finally choking it down, I woke up to this secret: In order to be successful, you have to fail.

I took a step back. If failure is so necessary, where’s the ‘How To’ guide? And more importantly, how come the idea of it gives me agita?

Maybe my definition of failure was off?

Nope. Thanks to google I’m completely on board with the many definitions of fail:

 

  1. Be unsuccessful in achieving one’s goal. Check. There are many goals that have not come to fruition. Let’s see… 2 downloadable products on my website that didn’t generate one sale, 2 group programs that no one signed up for, at least 4 potential clients this year that ended up saying ‘No’.
  2. Neglect to do something. Double Check. The number of times I said, ‘I will contact so-and-so this week.’ or ‘I will write about xyz.’ and for whatever reason, didn’t.
  3. Cease to work properly; break down. I love the example they give here… as in ‘cease trading because of lack of funds’  Ha! Our fish farm hasn’t even had the luxury of starting to trade and we’ve experienced a of lack of funds.
  4. A mark which is not high enough to pass an examination or test. Now this is the one I’ve been most familiar with. Not because I ever did end up with an F on a paper or exam, but because I always knew not to go here. Even when I scraped by with a D+ and a D- in two college courses (both in psychology and now I analyze people’s minds for living… i know, right?) I made sure I didn’t Fail.
  5. A mistake, failure, or instance of poor performance. I’m not sure how the dictionary people expect this to be measured, but I can for sure say I’ve had a few F’s here. F for, royally f*cked that up. Luckily I’m not performing surgery or building rocket ships… I’m only f-ing up relationships with people. Putting big feet in my mouth, responding with an ego that is trying to cover up an enormous amount of fear that makes me come across sounding like a complete donkey.

It was only slightly less traumatic looking up the definition of failure.

‘Lack of success.’

That pretty much sums up last year, and hey, while we’re at it, might as well include 2014, the year I first ventured out to create a thriving business of my own, which has yet to get anywhere close to happening.

I was still asking this question: If failure is so necessary, why has it felt like crap?

Until I realized this: when you turn ‘I failed at xyz’ into ‘I am a failure’ you’re no longer dealing with a factual event that can be objectively looked at and learned from. You’re now dealing with shame.

And shame sucks. It feels like the biggest punch ever to your belly, the worst dagger eyes any school-aide has ever given EVER, the loudest snickers from your so-called-friends and supporters.

It hurts.

And most, including yours truly, would rather die than experience that. Ok maybe not die, but definitely do everything in my power to avoid feeling that way, including not trying in the first place.

But let me clue you into something else I learned this year.

You and your world do not implode into a million little pieces when you fail.

That’s because YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE.

When you fail (as in any of the 6 definitions above), your lungs and heart keep working. The world keeps turning. People keep going about their daily lives and frankly my dear, they don’t give a damn.

I made a list of my failures and successes over the last two years, and guess what, the success list was longer.

The funny thing is that until I made the list, I was only conscious of the failures.

Why? Because I was letting them define me.

Remember how failure = lack of success?

Well, since I had a long list of successes I got really excited. That means I didn’t fail, right!?

Wrong. I still failed on many individual occasions.

BUT, I also got to pick the ending of the next story.

And this is when the ball dropped:

Failure ≠ Lack of success.

Failure = Gateway to success.

If you let it.

And they DEFINITELY don’t teach you that in law school either (Extra credit to anyone who can name that movie! :))

I’m a closet fan of word etymology so had to dig deeper, and get this… the root of the word failure means this: ‘cessation of supply’. The root of the word success: ‘come close after’.

In my book, failure is a true failure if you let it stop the supply. If you freeze, take no more action, give up and walk away with your tail between your legs.

True success is what ‘comes close after’ any one of those 6 definitions of fail and you DON’T end up stopping the supply.

Success is when you pause to reflect. Ask yourself, ‘What did I learn?’, ‘What could I do differently?’ Use the unwanted outcome to point you closer to your sweet spot.

Sometimes it means pulling the plug and starting over. Sometimes it means giving yourself some space. Sometimes it means asking for help, or saying you’re sorry.

Inevitably, it takes eating some Humble Pie.

But trust me, if you do that, then you’ve just experienced Success.

The last cool thing about all of this is this:

Remember that tendency to internalize a failure (or a success) into who we are? Well, let’s try that again.

I am a ‘cessation of supply’.

I am a ‘come close after’.

Doesn’t make sense.

But this does:

I choose to ‘cessate/stop supply’.

I choose to ‘come/take action close after’.

Which means, really, I get to be a person who chooses failure or success in any given moment.

I don’t become a success or a failure.

I still get to be me.