In my last article for EnSpirit Global, I talked about the 3 Steps to Living Your Joyful Genius in your work: stepping UP and owning up to being a bit special; stepping INTO that specialness and truly owning it, and then stepping OUT with it into the world.
Those 3 Steps each break down into two or three elements each, making a total of eight elements you need to consider to create a successful individual business that properly serves your needs while creating enormous value for the world.
The first element of stepping UP is to think about what your working lifestyle will be like when you have created a business you really love.
Understanding what you expect your business and your work to create for you is essential.
Let’s face it, without a destination, any direction will do!
There are five parts to designing your ideal working lifestyle, and while they don’t need to be done in any particular order, they do all need to be covered.
You start by identifying what’s not exactly as you would like it to be right now.
The best tool for this is what I call the “wheel of work”.
It’s based on the popular coaching tool the wheel of life, but using categories that relate to your working life. Here is an example of one I did recently, but you can use whatever categories work for you.
All you need to do is to mark in each segment how well things are going now, compared to where you will be in your perfect lifestyle.
It gives a quick and clear picture of where things are mostly out of alignment and where you can have the biggest effect on your work life.
Creating a dream picture of your ideal life, as it relates to your work and business, will help you to stay focused on the right things.
I find the best way to do that is to create a dream board.
If you’re not familiar with the process, you get a big piece of card and stick images and words on it that represent you living your perfect life.
For some people that might mean cutting out pictures of a Bentley car from magazines, or maybe a super-yacht, or a big house.
My dream-board used to have all those material things on it – I even had a picture of a private jet (or at least a NetJets card, so I could fly in one).
And for others, the dream might be about travel and happy smiling people – that’s more my latest one.
Or perhaps for you, it’s a (made-up for now) headline about you speaking at an important event, or maybe your charity work. Whatever works for you.
Your dream-board doesn’t have to be something fixed, in fact I know people who create a new one every year.
My own coach runs a lovely workshop every new year for her clients to renew their dream for the coming year.
The purpose of a dream-board is to help you visualize your desires, and for most people, those will subtly change as time passes by and your idea of what’s important changes.
I’m not saying yours will change from material things to experiences like mine has, there’s no right or wrong.
And mine might switch back to the material too, in the future. The important thing is to get the energy of your current desires onto the board, so you can keep that energy in front of you.
An important thing about your dream board is keep it visible, they work much better that way.
So you might put it on your office wall, where you will see it all the time.
Or maybe keep it in your bedroom so you see it before you start the day.
That gets you into the perfect energy right from the start. I even know someone who stapled his dream-board to the ceiling above his bed, so it was the first thing he saw as he awoke each morning!
It is important to also stay in touch with the energy of what each working day in your ideal life feels like.
A great way to do that is to use a “Perfect Day” visualization, where you close your eyes and imagine yourself in that ideal future when you have created a business you truly love; one that is fulfilling all your needs and giving you the work life you want.
I find it best to run through my imaginary day, starting from when I wake up in the morning, right through to going to bed at night.
Using all of what the psychologists call the “representation systems” – visual (sights), auditory (sounds), kinesthetic (touch and feel, including emotions), olfactory (smells and fragrances) and gustatory (tastes), you want to really get into what it’s going to be like.
And you can add extra reality by even imagining the “auditory digital”, the thoughts that are running through your head on that perfect day.
For this purpose, you are doing the exercise in the context of your business and your work, so make it a working day.
But that doesn’t mean it has to be ALL about work if your ideal life includes plenty of spare time for you and your loved ones.
As you wake up on that day, what exciting meetings or fulfilling client work are you thinking about?
Are you at home or away somewhere? Where is your home? As you go through your day in your imagination, this is the kind of detail you want to be going into.
As with the dream-board, you are not trying to build a fixed picture with all this detail.
It really doesn’t matter if your Ferrari is red or blue (well, not unless you’re a purist).
And you’re not going to turn down that lucrative speaking gig because it’s in Paris, not Rome. It is about getting the energy of what it is like to be you when your business is where you want it to be. That can change, and that’s fine. How frequently you do this Experience exercise is up to you.
It needs to be quite detailed, so I wouldn’t do it daily, or even weekly, you’d end up spending all your time dreaming!
Just set aside some time every now and then to refresh your experience of it, and to take into account those subtle changes.
And don’t stress about keeping it exactly the same – you can do a Monday the first time you do it, and a Wednesday the next time.
It’s not about locking you into some weird routine, it is more about the energy and the excitement.
This is a little bit “Law of Attraction”, but it has nothing to do with fluffy-woo-woo stuff like the Universe plonking stuff in our laps just because we sit around thinking about it.
There is actually a good scientific reason why we tend to attract what we focus on.
It is called the “reticular activating system” (RAS), and it is the thing that tells our unconscious mind what to bring to the attention of our conscious mind.
It is also the thing that means that as soon as we decide to buy a particular make of car, that is all we seem to see on the road, because our subconscious is flagging those, and ignoring all the rest
And the R.A.S. is why it is useful to spend just a little time each day on the energy of what you want.
Energy is a vital part of creating a business you can love, so finding a way to connect with that energy and attract more of it towards you is essential.
I find that the best way is to imagine myself pulling the energy of what I desire towards myself, and then to ask myself a series of questions about how I can have more of that.
To get a better idea of what this entails, your best bet is probably to download my free “Magical money Manifestation” MP3 meditation here: Magical Money MP3
The final piece is to create a simple way to link yourself back to all of the aspects of having the work life you truly desire.
You can do this by creating a “resource anchor” that can take you instantly into the mindset of the kind of person who creates that kind of business.
This is a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) technique that you can do for yourself, or you could pay a practitioner to help you with it.
If you want to give it a go, I‘ll give a brief explanation of how to set your anchor here, but to be honest it is generally more powerful to have an NLP practitioner do it with you.
All you need to do is to use a visualization (the perfect day Experience exercise would work) to really get yourself into the feeling of being able to create your ideal lifestyle.
The perfect day exercise I just talked about would work fine.
Then you pick a specific physical action to ‘anchor’ it to.
Then, every time you need to get back into that state, you simply do the action again, and you should find yourself in the state again.
Be careful not to use a physical action that you tend to do a lot, that will weaken the anchor.
You probably also want to make it something that’s not too obvious – punching the air three times can look a bit odd in a meeting with the bank manager!
I use flicking my ring finger against my thumb – unobtrusive, and something I only do deliberately.
I’m sure you are observant enough to have spotted that these five parts actually spell IDEAL.
That’s for two reasons: firstly to help you keep in mind that this is all about creating a business that’s right for you.
And secondly to make the five parts memorable – it’s going to be far easier for you to ask yourself “What was A for?” than “What was Part 4?”.
As an aside, that’s something for you to think about, and I’ll be covering it in more detail in later articles: how are you going to make what you do memorable (for you and your customers)?
But for now, have a go at some of these exercises, and start yourself on the path to creating an inspired business you can truly love building.