Community blogger Nancy Goodyear explores how we can unlock new doorways in business – and in life – when we stop fighting and learn to go with the flow.
There is something truly magical that happens when we allow ourselves to go with the flow. When we notice what wants to happen and follow that energy without fighting it, or trying to push it into some plan we have for ourselves. Surfing that energy takes us in directions we might never have thought of, to places we could never have imagined.
After years of building a respectable career – doing University, getting my first job in nursing, then my second and my third; realising nursing wasn’t for me and eventually setting off in a new direction, into the world of charities and not-for-profits – I absconded. I embarked on what I thought would be a year or so off, to fulfil my dream of living in France, taking some time to reflect on what I wanted from life.
It was 2006 and I was 35. It was definitely the perfect time for me to take stock, take control. The timing was terrible. It couldn’t have been worse, in fact, to be taking time out of employment while hoping to come back in a year or two. The economic crisis was about to hit!
That said, I have no regrets about my decision but it was incredibly hard to get back to work. The charity sector was very hard hit by government cuts, cutting staff rather than taking new people on. Fortunately, with the support of good friends and family, I have found my way into self-employment and working with Lynn Serafinn over the last couple of years, getting back on my feet.
One of the best decisions I made in those last couple of years has been to go with the flow. To say ‘Yes’ to opportunities that come my way, even when I don’t fully understand where it will take me, how it fits with my plan or even if I have the ability to do it. Simply accepting that I don’t know everything, knowing that I can (and do) limit myself sometimes through fear or lack of imagination, I trust that everything will work out ok.
Sometimes, this ‘going with flow’ takes the form of someone asking me to do something with, or for, them. For example, I said ‘Yes’ when Lynn asked me to help her develop and deliver the 7 Graces courses that are currently in the pipeline, even though I’m not a trained teacher, a marketer, or even an entrepreneur. But I soon learned that I am good at devising courses and I love delivering them, especially in collaboration. While Lynn is a teacher, a marketer and an entrepreneur, I bring other skills that complement hers and that make us a great, balanced team.
At other times, ‘going with the flow’ means noticing that a client is presenting challenges that don’t fit within the scope of a defined service; making adjustments to that service to accommodate the additional needs we hadn’t anticipated – just responding to what we notice.
For example, in the early days of the Platform Building Package that Lynn and I designed, it was a simple service combining Lynn’s marketing strategy expertise and my skills with detail and words. Aimed at helping people to establish a blogging strategy to build their social media platform we realised, very early on, that this simple, one-tier service wasn’t enough for some of our clients. They needed more support to structure their blogs, or to learn how to write for a blogging audience, and so we adjusted and adapted our service. Again and again and again – each time a client presented us with a new challenge, we had a rethink and a redesign. Responding to what was needed by our audience, refining our offer and our expectations of our clients.
And that’s the key. So often, if we stick rigidly to what we’ve decided something should look like (whether our life, our business, our relationships) and fight against the reality of what shows up, we get stuck. And then the energy gets stuck and life becomes a battle. Noticing what is actually happening, accepting what is and then reacting is a much more fluid, responsive approach that allows things to keep moving. In the case of our Platform Building package, it allowed us to keep working with a wide range of clients rather than having to say no to those that didn’t fit our criteria.
There is a caveat to all of this: if your only plan is to say ‘Yes’ to whatever comes along, be aware that you may find you have created a life (or a business or a relationship or whatever) that you don’t want! When that happens, it can get messy. You have to find a way of gracefully extricating yourself from what doesn’t work for you. On the plus side, by acquiescing your way to a life you suddenly realise you don’t want, you get a much better sense of what you do want – and that’s a good thing because you can now start saying ‘No’ too. But that’s a whole different article!
So, in order to allow this flow through your life, stop banging your head against a brick wall. That will give you the opportunity to notice what else is going on around you and what wants to happen; you will be able to listen to what need you are being called to meet in the world. Then you can imagine, “What will this look like in my life? Does that fit with my picture of how my life should be, of how I want my life to be?” If it does, all you have to do is say YES.
Then, the magic will happen!
16th May 2014
Nancy V Goodyear is business mentor & life coach who loves to help social entrepreneurs and small business owners get focused and organised. With a BA (Hons) in Learning Disability Nursing, she has extensive professional experience working in health & social care within the non-profit sector. She is fluent in French, having lived in France for some time, and is a graduate of the Coaches Training Institute and the Co-Active Leadership programme. Nancy is also Co-Director of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a non-profit social enterprise that provides training and mentorship in ethical marketing to independent business owners, social entrepreneurs and change-making corporates. She works closely with 7 Graces Founder Lynn Serafinn to develop training and consultancy packages for business owners seeking to build and develop their marketing platform ethically. Her over-riding aim in all her work is to help others reconnect to who they and to their business. http://nancyvgoodyear.com
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Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:
The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, by Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing. Brit Writers Awards Finalist eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues
Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media. eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.
Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com
The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Successful Blogging: An Effective, Creative & Ethical Way of Marketing for Visionaries & New Paradigm Business Leaders. To receive an update when that book is available, just click here. As a thank-you gift for showing your interest, you’ll get instant access to an exclusive, free 5-page PDF revealing the exact same blogging template we use with our clients and we teach to participants on the ethical marketing training courses at the 7 Graces Project.
LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors.
Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.
(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)