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Miami Beach 2

48 hours in Miami

As I write this, I’m 36,000 feet in the air and halfway between Miami and my destination of Los Angeles.  I had three nights in Miami post-Necker, originally to catch up with a friend who was travelling from New York to meet me.  However plans changed at the last minute as she had to be at work for the weekend.

So what was originally billed as a weekend of partying turned into a weekend of solo time – time that as it turned out was much-needed after the excitement, large group-ness and information overload of the week before; not to mention the book launching just before I left!

My little sis is Miami-bound soon for a couple of days before setting off on a Caribbean cruise (‘mazing!), so I promised her a download of my things to do while I was there – then figured that some of you might find yourself there sometime in future, so I should make a blog post out of it…

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Richard and I white night

The biggest thing I learned from Richard Branson

I just left Necker Island yesterday, after what are up there as five of the best days of my life.  The invite came three months ago, and it was one of the (rare) instances where I said yes immediately and decided to figure out how to make it happen later.  As the man himself says: “Screw it, just do it!”.

I travelled there with 22 members of Business Chicks and I don’t quite have the words to describe the week.

Magical, inspiring, motivating, gratifying, nurturing, connecting, healing, loving…

In my time on the island – and in the 24 hours since I left – my brain kinda felt like a freshly-shaken snowglobe, where the sheer amount of experiences, new people and new information were all floating around furiously.  It’s only today that my thoughts have started to settle and clear “take-outs” have materialised.

I’m writing now from my hotel room in Miami, fuelled up on key lime pie and an iced coffee from the local diner.  I wanted to first get down in black and white what seems to be in the running so far for the biggest take-out I had – and it’s something I learned straight from Richard himself.

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Woman door

8 things I’ve learned about letting someone go

A couple of weeks ago, I got a Facebook message from a kick-ass young entrepreneur who occasionally asks for my advice.

It read: Need a little advice! Tomorrow morning I’m letting go someone for the first time. I’m so nervous! Any good reads or advice?”

I sooooo got why she was nervous.  Letting someone go is hands down one of the shittiest bits of running your own business.  I’ve had to do it several times – the shortest tenure being three weeks and the longest being seven months.

I’m afraid it doesn’t feel any less shitty the more I’ve done it, but I’ve definitely learned some things that help me do the deed with more compassion, professionalism and conviction each time.

I could write a LOT on this topic, however as a starting point I’m sharing the email I sent her – verbatim.  I hope it helps you if you ever need to part ways kindly with someone on your team.

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New Year goalsetting part 2: Setting the goals

Another hotttttt day here in Kununurra.  I’m finding it fascinating how the people we’ve met here work their sleep around the heat of the rainy season.  The entire household is tucked up in bed by 8.30pm and up and at it by 6am at the latest – then everyone has a nap in the afternoon.  Yesterday morning we had hiked up Kelly’s Knob, showered and eaten breakfast all by 7.30am.

Kelly's Knob

Then in the afternoon we took a sunset cruise around Lake Argyle with about 15 friends.  It was just magical – it’s the largest manmade freshwater lake in Australia, is 22 times the size of Sydney Harbour and is 40 metres deep in one part.  It was one of those days that I was truly in awe of the beautiful world we get to live in.

Lake Arglye Cruises 1

Lake Argyle Cruises 2

Anyway, back onto the topic of goal-setting…

After doing the Wheel of Life exercise a couple of days ago, today I’ll be starting to get down to the nitty-gritty of articulating what my goals will be for the year – in between glugging down this stuff (just discovered it here, soooo good!).

Cocobella WM

Distracted again!!

The question I’ll be asking myself is: “What do I need to achieve in the immediate next 12 months to improve on those areas and get me closer to the ultimate vision I have for my life?”

My annual goal setting evolves year-on-year.  The first time I sat down and properly wrote my goals, it ran over two pages.  The problem was that it included goals but also habits – which are different things.

For example: “get super fit” is a goal, but “go to the gym four times a week” is a habit.  So the goal is what we want to achieve, but the habit is how we do it.  Having both goals and habits on there might work for you, so if so – go for your life!   I like my annual goals concise enough to squeeze onto one A4 sheet so I’m economical with what makes it on there.

I separate them into headings – Business, Personal Mission, Friends & Family, Wade, Travel, Wellbeing, Self-Development, Giving Back and Finance.

I then allocate specific, measurable goals to each of those headings in bullet points.  You will no doubt have read about S.M.A.R.T goals.  This approach states that goals must be Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed.

I subscribe to S.M.A.R.T.E goals, which goes one step further and says that goals should also be Ecological – meaning they must be kind to you yourself, but also those around you and the planet.  There’s no point in setting a goal of tripling your business’s revenue if it means you’ll be a burnt-out shell of yourself by the end of the year and your partner hates your guts.

Here are some examples of goals you might set:

  • It’s the 1st of July and I’ve left my job to start my own business (this is a great one!!)
  • I will buy an investment property by the end of March
  • I will read ten books on business by the end of the year
  • I’ll increase the revenue of the business by 30% by May
  • I’ll be able to do a 50kg deadlift by my birthday
  • I’ll have two weekends away with my friends – one in March and one in November
  • I’ll visit three countries this year

An example of some of my goals for 2015 were:

  • Business – do a rebrand, recruit an assistant
  • Personal mission – write a book
  • Friends & family – see one Sydney friend a week
  • Finance – seek out tax advice
  • Self-development – do a fact-finding mission to the US
  • Wellbeing – do a one-week retreat
  • Wade – move to a bigger house together
  • Travel – trip to New Zealand with friends
  • Giving back – donate at least $10,000 to charity

My list of goals above from last year all have a deadline of the end of the year, however this year (2016) I’m going to break them down into quarterly plans and set a reward at the end of that quarter to give me an added incentive.  I’m thinking a bespoke handbag from Mon Purse for Q1…

If this goal-setting lark is all new to you, please don’t panic.  It can be really bloody difficult to predict 12 months out a goal that you can realistically achieve, but will also stretch you enough to make it worth doing.  You also don’t have a crystal ball that can predict the various hurdles, plot twists and changes of circumstances that might crop up while you’re earnestly out there trying to make magic happen.

However, a loose goal is better than no goal at all!

Do the best you can with the information you have to hand right now.  You can always modify the goal in time if you need to, but at least you’ve got a rough address in your GPS system that you’re working towards – you know what suburb you’re driving to, but maybe not the street just yet.  As time goes on, you’ll get a feel for what approach works for you and you’ll modify it to serve you best.  Just start somewhere!

I’m off to find a quiet corner with my notebook and pen… and another litre of coconut water.

Next up: New Year goal-setting part 3 – making goals a reality (AKA the weird things I do to keep myself accountable)

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New Year goalsetting part 1: Where are you at right now?

It’s the first day of 2016 and time to put some thinking into what I want to make happen in the next twelve months.

The first step in my New Year goalsetting is always having a good hard look at where things are at in my life right now.

I learned the Wheel of Life tool via some Tony Robbins training a few years ago, and it’s hands down the best approach I’ve found to checking in on how the key areas in life are going.

We actually did this as a team in a Street Smart Session (our fortnightly training and development sessions) earlier this year and it prompted one of the most honest, supportive and enlightening conversations we’ve ever had as a collective.

Here’s how it works…

There are eight key areas in our lives, which all stack up to us feeling like we lead happy and successful lives.  Note: I’ve tweaked these slightly from the ones Tony uses to be in line with the wheel below.

life_wheel

Image credit: time-management-techniques.com

They are:

  1. Career/business
  2. Health
  3. Wealth
  4. Family & friends
  5. Fun, play and hobbies
  6. Physical environment (home and surroundings)
  7. Romantic relationships
  8. Spirituality & contribution (giving back)

When each of these areas is plotted on a diagram like the one above, we essentially have a scorecard with which to evaluate our lives right now.  Think about each area one by one, allocate a score out of 10 to it (10 = it’s excellent, 1 = it is really, well, crap) and then draw a line across the corresponding increment on the graph. 1 being the mark closest to the circle’s centre and 9 being the one next to its diameter.  Once you have completed all eight areas, you should have the rough outline of a wheel.

As we all know, a wheel needs to have reasonably smooth edges to roll along.  If one particular area is falling especially short, our imaginary wheel won’t be able to roll – meaning that that area is affecting the overall quality of our life.

Inevitably one area of my goals goes much better than another – for whatever reason.  At the start of last year (wow, 2015!), I completed a Wheel of Life on where I felt I was at.

The Business, Health and Romantic Relationships areas were the highest, but Friends & Family was the lowest as I felt I had neglected those relationships in order to get the business going over the previous 2.5 years.  As a result, I knew I needed to place special focus on that area in 2015.  I set specific goals on how I could do that – e.g: starting to send birthday cards to loved ones.

However I also tried to be actively conscious of those relationships, which saw me co-host a friend’s baby shower, stay in contact more regularly with my family in Ireland (and have three visits to Dublin – not all planned) and take some trips to visit friends.

Due to the energy I was channelling into that area of my life, I felt so much closer and better connected to family and friends.  It was almost like me holding the intention of being a better friend/daughter/sister/cousin/niece/grand-daughter opened my eyes to opportunities for me to nourish those relationships.

That is the beauty of doing this exercise, as it shines a bright (and sometimes confronting) light onto what areas of my life needs some TLC.

I’ve just completed my Wheel of Life here in Western Australia on the first day of 2016 and I’m thrilled that my Family/Friends area has moved up from a 6 at the start of the year to a 9 now.  Hooray!

This year, it seems that my first priority needs to be Contribution/Spirituality – coming in at a 6.  I’ve got a pretty good idea of what steps I need to take to improve that.  I’m thinking more formalised mentoring (maybe starting a menteeship circle, whatever that might look like – let me know if you have any ideas!), building on the money and energy I give to charities, taking my meditation practice to the next level with some teaching and increasing the amount of time I spend in Nature (the official word for which is biophilia, as the fabulous Lola Berry told me).

The second two areas – at equal 7s – are Health and Playtime/Hobbies/Fun.  Health as I’ve got some niggling jaw issues that a LOT of money and pain didn’t fix in 2015 and I’ve realised I basically have zero hobbies!

This evaluation will inform what my goals will look like for the year ahead, and I’ll consider these three areas specifically as I pull my goals together over the next few days.

I’m hoping this nifty tool might help you chart your course as you think about what YOU would like to achieve over the next 52 weeks – good luck!

Up next… New Year goalsetting part 2: Setting the goals

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