Effort is everything!

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What is effort?

The word effort is derived from the Latin ‘ex fortis’ meaning ‘out strong’. In more modern time it is:

  • a laborious attempt
  • strenuous exertions
  • an exertion of power.

Sounds hard right?

Effort IS hard.  Sustaining that effort to achieve a long-term goal is often helped by creating lasting habits that propel you forward, managing your time well and breaking larger goals into smaller, more achievable targets.  We all know how to eat an elephant right?  One bite at a time – but where do you start?

Starting out

When we suddenly get an idea that we want to achieve a certain something (like eating an elephant), we are often:

  • enthusiastic
  • excited
  • energised.

It’s not long though before our energy dissipates and we feel our very purpose waning. It seems like such a huge task that we don’t even start! Leg first?  Trunk first? So much to do – so little time, an ever-growing ‘to do’ list but only 1,440 minutes in every day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

I know I’ve been going on about physics lately, but let’s go back to our Newton’s Laws for a moment (bear with me this won’t be a high school physics lesson I promise). Take our object; well it’s just going to sit there until something or someone comes along and applies some force to it to get it to move.  What is the ‘force’ we’re talking about – EFFORT.

I’ve been listening to a LOT of podcasts lately like this one, from NPR “How I Built This” about Sarah Blakely – the inventor of every woman’s best friend SPANX and another about the inventors of Instagram!

In every instance the one thing that stood out was the amount of EFFORT that these people had to expend to achieve their goals of making really weird underwear, and an life-oversharing app that has a squillion users!

The amount of effort we need to expend to achieving our goal (eating that elephant) is proportional to the size of the goal itself and the benefits you might achieve from it.  The bigger the goal the more energy, effort and WORK you have to do!

It makes sense then to break that goal down into much smaller bites – it’s difficult to sustain such HUGE amounts of effort for long periods of time.  I don’t want to stop you dreaming big- far from it – but I do want you to think about how you might shave off smaller portions to ensure you don’t burn out, lose faith, and give up!

I have a plan….call me if you need help with deciding which bit of that elephant to eat first!

Effort is everything!

 

 

 

D…is such a very fine letter…

I used to watch Sesame Street as a kid, and for the next five decades, I have remembered word for word, Ernie singing about the letter “D”. I am unsure as to why some things stick in our heads longer than others do, but this; and the Peter’s Two In One advertisement are two things that have; but I digress…today we are talking about the a-z of wishes – in particular “D – dee dee dee dee is such a very fine letter…..”!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmFTuaHfYpY&w=560&h=315]

Desire is nothing without determination.

Napoleon Hill – the writer of “Think and Grow Rich”, wrote that the starting point for everything anyone has ever achieved is DESIRE.

Wanting to do something so badly that it makes your heart ache will not make it happen – there must also be a strong determination to take action.

Sometimes desire is like that craving for ice cream you get at midnight watching chick flicks when the rest of the house is asleep and quiet. Sometimes it is more like an untapped yearning for something of which you are not sure. It can be frustrating, frightening but if harnessed can also be very fruitful as we know.

A Divided Heart: Art and Motherhood Rachel Power (ISBN: 9781742035017)

dividedheartBack in 2008, I bought a book (one of many) and it has become a favourite for me and to gift to my creative and mostly musical friends! It stuck! However, after reading many posts on various groups and websites about mums struggling hard with juggling their desire to be ‘a great mum’ (or even just a good one) and their determination to create a business that satisfies another of their passions, not wanting to ditch on either.

It occurred to me recently, that not only my musical friends would appreciate the wisdom in this book. While the stories are all of artists, writers, dancers, musicians and other creative types, aren’t WE as entrepreneurs ‘creatives’ too?

When I first bought this book in 2008, I wrote a review on another MUCH older blog – now defunct. Some of that review appears below, with some minor edits.

I quickly read the back cover and initially thought, “Oh great – some light reading for the train”. A collection of conversations with the artist mothers of Australia, writers, artists, dancers, songwriters, and filmmakers. Seemed a light and simple enough read that I wouldn’t be too upset getting off the train at Flinders Street and having to stuff it in my bag.

I was wrong. I would have happily traveled round and round the loop on that first day – just to read more.

Hooked!

There is nothing lightweight about this book. By page two of the introduction, I was a woman (and a mother) dangerously close to tears as I read, and re-read the words that had been stripped from my soul and placed on these pages by some other woman and mother. I’d never before encountered anyone brave enough to verbalise or write about childbirth and motherhood in this way.

“Like a magnet, simultaneously repelled and attracted, to be a mother is to be mired in contradiction. We can love our children while resenting their impact on our lives; our bodies sing out for theirs when we are away from them, yet our minds can strain away in boredom and frustration when they are near. Children are not a job you can leave, or a country you can return from.  No one can guarantee you a child who matches your imaginings. You will get what you’re given – and there is no turning back.”

I’ve struggled too, with the ideas of being a creative woman without something in my life giving way. I related to this book from the very first page. As I’ve delved more into the entrepreneurial side of life, I find myself returning to the chapters in this book for inspiration, vindication, and justification of my many feelings of frustration, failure and fatigue.

If you’re a creative woman (and aren’t we all), I urge you to find a copy of this book and read it. Alone, where you can weep, as I did, when you come to the realisation that you are not alone – that others are feeling what you feel. When you finally appreciate that’ you are not a failure as a mother, and that there is hope for your creative life amongst it all.

You have desire. You have determination. Now go out there and get it DONE.

Until next time…

Nia

 

Build it (and believe)….and he will come

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ay5GqJwHF8&w=560&h=315]

In the 1992 movie, “Field of Dreams”, Kevin Costner’s character Ray, hears voices while out working his corn fields “if you build it – he will come” and is convinced that “Shoeless” Joe Jackson will miraculously appear if he builds a baseball diamond on his farm. Of course, the farm is struggling, his wife and friends think he is nuts, but his absolute belief in what is required of course, brings about the desired outcome. He built it and “he” did indeed arrive, ‘shoe-less’ to play ball in the field (along with a number of other greats of course).

Brainpower

To be truly innovative in business, one must find a niche so specific that someone else has not already filled it. You must recognise a problem or pain point, and find a way to alleviate that pain – first. This will take enormous amounts of time, planning, strategising, thinking, re-thinking and much design trial and error.   In the case of the 24-hour Toneshop – more than 3 months of hard work, dedication, engineering and re-engineering and bucket loads of belief!

toneshop
(picture taken from the FB page with permission)

This nifty piece of engineering offers 24-hour assistance to musicians who may have broken a string, lost a strap, or need a lead or a pick, at the very last minute before a gig! We all know musicians keep extraordinary hours – a 24-hour replenishment option is just the ticket! The first of its kind in Melbourne (and let’s hope not the last!).

The innovators of this wondrous kiosk had to have the brainpower, (I toyed with the idea of leaving the typo in here – brianpower, but neither is named Brian sadly), to decide which necessities musicians might need most at say 1.30 am on a Thursday morning, and then design and build the best way to make it available without:

  1. opening a store front for longer hours, or
  2. some other human- based solution

After it’s grand opening, and in just a week or two, the un-manned kiosk, in all its glory, was featured in digital news and magazines both here in Australia, and overseas; it has shared on music websites and social media platforms, been re-shared, re-tweeted, re-posted and re-grammed all over the Internet.  I’m betting that there isn’t a guitarist in Melbourne (at the very least) that doesn’t know about it – and who in business wouldn’t like an outcome like that!

Belief

Developing and manufacturing any new product takes time, money, patience, and a whole heap of belief.

Belief that your product is worthwhile – that people want it; belief that even when it has cost you more than you can afford, you will keep working at it; belief in fixing it, rather than giving up; belief  that your product makes lives better.

Congratulations Jereme and Matt  – 24-hour Toneshop – seems you built it – and they WILL come!

And I’ll leave you with what could have been a six word post…

“If you don’t believe – don’t bother!”

Nia

 

C is for….

When the pressure is on (2)

C is for…

Commitment of course… confidence and courage… so says my new friend and author Renee Giarrusso.

I’ve been reading Renee’s book “Limitless Leadership“. I’m an avid reader – anything with words – but especially books written by real people, books penned by people I know.

If I am really honest however, I don’t actually ‘know’ Renee at all – BUT I did, after several attempts, connect on a phone call and fell instantly in ‘like’ with this woman – I liked her…really liked her. There was something about her that instantly gelled with the way I felt about varying topics.  Yes, Renee is very experienced in her field, incredibly knowledgeable, but also human and I love humans the best! I bought her book; and for the last week or so have carried it with me everywhere to read in between other things.

Something in the first few chapters resonated with me so much I broke my own golden rule of book defacing (which is, never, ever deface one!) I took one of my beloved coloured pens and underlined (not very neatly, I might add) the following:

“Commitment must be strong – those who don’t fully commit, look to jump ship”

I printed it out and it now sits above my desk at day job land.

I shared it with my boss (who took a picture of it underlined in the book). She did not judge me for the scribble in my book; she just took the picture.

Several situations have been happening in my life recently that this phrase has articulated beautifully. Most of these have involved a certain level of change or disruption in the relevant space, and many of the people involved have ‘jumped ship’. Those that stay on are totally committed to the change or disruption – even embrace it, with varying levels of vigour!

Renee explains to us that before commitment comes confidence but even before we can exhibit confidence; it takes courage to embrace and/or face those fears we hold close that stop us from being our confident selves. Once we can confidently present as authentic and believable AND we commit to taking necessary actions – we CAN achieve anything! We can be truly fearless and committed to our goals.

COURAGE – CONFIDENCE – COMMITMENT

Until next time – when I promise I will go back to “B”

May all your wishes become goals  – and your dreams, realities!

Nia

A-Z of wishes

I have decided in my usual unprepared, off the cuff manner; to embark on a journey through the alphabet. Each blog post will focus on an aspect of wishes, and helping them become reality; twenty-six pieces of information that you can put to work to help you move from ‘wish-maker’ to ‘reality-maker’!

I’ll start with “A” because as we all know – that’s where A-Zs generally begin!

A is for ASK.

ASK for help; ask questions; ask for directions and ALWAYS decide for yourself the merits of the ANSWERS. There are no stupid questions, but the question  that’s never asked will never be resolved.

apple_PNG12455A is also for APPLE.

At this point, you’re thinking I’ve lost the plot and asking yourself, “What do apples have to do with wishes, or making them come true?”

Let me explain…

Firstly, Adam and Eve; we know this story right?  Eve, while living happily in the Garden of Eden with her Adam, was tempted by the evil serpent to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and bad (story simplified for brevity); she ate the fruit, found herself embarrassed and ashamed, and both her and Adam were banished forever from the Garden of Eden.

Then there was Snow White; the gorgeous princess that everyone loved, banished to the forest by her evil stepmother for being too beautiful? A big, red shiny apple was also her downfall.

The lesson perhaps is to beware serpents and peddlers who try to trick you into thinking they have the all big, red, shiny apples that hold the shortcuts and answers to being rich and powerful and influential in your field!

Beware the poison apples.

In this entrepreneurial world of ours, many will tell you THEIR way is the only way. What you must do is seek out and find YOUR WAY. Search for those people you trust; who have been where you are; who have worked hard and trodden the path you have now chosen. Find those people who have runs on the board, experience, and tangible evidence for their successes – people you trust.

Until B… may all your wishes become goals!

Three reasons my dreams haven’t come true!

I’ve wished for a LOT over the decades I’ve been on this planet;

  • lotto win
  • great eyebrows
  • Elle’s body
  • Pat Benatar’s voice

I’ve always been a ‘wisher’, but it wasn’t until I became a ‘wisher with action’ that ‘things’ started to seemingly ‘magically’ happen! The difference between being a ‘wisher’ and an achiever is not luck, it’s action – in lotto’s case for example, actually buying a ticket is a good start – doesn’t matter a whole lot how lucky you are, if you don’t buy a ticket!

From my experience, and trust me I’ve had lots of learnings in this realm; the top three reasons my ‘wishes’ have not come true are:

I didn’t truly understand what I wanted

I left school at 15 years, 11 months and a number of days, to start a hairdressing apprenticeship. I did this because every teenage girl I knew wanted to be a hairdresser (or a pre-school teacher) and my mum had arranged an interview with a local salon owner. He checked to see if I was a fingernail biter, (I wasn’t thank goodness) and I started the next day!

It took me another 8 or 9 years to realise that while I loved the people aspects of hairdressing; the consulting; the problem solving; making customers happy, contributing to their well-being; training others, I actually didn’t enjoy the hairy bit.

At 15 and three quarters (and a bit), I didn’t know what I wanted.  I did not have a plan. I did not have a single clue.

Fast forward a few years and many personal development courses later…

Mind maps – word salad – and other problematic pictograms

You’ve seen them, lots of lines, and little clouds, stars and boxes, all too messy for my slightly OCD brain to cope with. I could make no sense of them AFTER I had put a couple of hours into drawing, colouring, scrunching paper and re-starting (many times) and I was certainly  no closer to understanding what I had to do, or what I had to do FIRST! Granted, I now knew I had to commit to something to make it happen, and that commitment somehow would manifest itself once I wrote that something down, but it was all still too messy for me to make any sense of it.

Even though I am a creative soul at heart – THIS does not work for me.

I have discovered I need a far more linear approach that will guide me from whoah to go, in small, manageable steps. It had to be SIMPLE.

In an increasingly complex world, ‘simplicity’ is becoming one of the four key values. Edward De Bono – Simplicity

I am going to make it much simpler for you to define and step out your goals so watch this space!

I hadn’t figured out my WHY!

For many of us – our life’s purpose is evident quite early.  Olympic athletes start quite young on their journey’s to Olympic greatness, for example – for the rest of us it takes a little longer.

If I was truly honest with myself, I would have to say that my “WHY” realisation has only appeared to me in the past 2 or 3 years.  I’ve been slowly working my way to this place though with no real understanding of WHY for much longer than that. Once I absolutely understood my WHY things started to become so much clearer.

All of the positions I’ve held in my corporate life have been of great value – I’ve learnt much from every single manager, colleague, and staff member (even the not so pleasant ones). I have great gifts bestowed on me from my family, friends, and people I have connected with through my music, and other areas.

Every single interaction has been a step forward into my WHY.

Why am I doing this? Because I believe, my satisfaction comes from helping YOU achieve your success.

Keep wishing, but don’t forget the actions!

Nia

Why ‘wishes’ aren’t enough

What do you wish for?

  • Fortune
  • Fame
  • Success
  • Money
  • Perfection
  • Time

We all have them – wishes.  We wish for ourselves, for others, for the world.We wish for new cars, new houses, and in MOTH’s case new(old) guitars, and we wish for world peace.

Last night I looked up “wish” in the dictionary; actually a couple of dictionaries, just to be sure.

The Oxford Dictionary (online) had this to say about “wish”:

Noun: A desire or hope for something to happen

Verb : Feel or express a strong desire or hope for something that cannot or probably will not happen.

The big, fat Collins dictionary on my bookshelf (circa 19 hundred and something) provided something similar:

Noun: The expression of desire or mental inclination for something to happen

Verb: to want or desire (something, often that which cannot be, or is not the case)

Collins online was a little more clear:

Noun: the act of wishing; the expression of some desire or mental inclination

Verb: If you wish something were true, you would like it to be true, even though you know that it is impossible or unlikely.

None of these definitions imply any action towards achieving this longed-for desire or hope, which had me asking myself, “can wishes actually come true?”  If you take these definitions as correct – then I would say no.  A wish in itself is something improbable, unlikely, even impossible; a “something” that will most likely not happen.

Take “time” for example.  Many of us wish for “more time” – likelihood of any of us actually making that happen – absolutely none whatsoever!  One day will always be 24 hours, 1,440 minutes and 86,400 seconds, notwithstanding leap years etc.

So wishing for more time – a waste of time.

A goal on the other hand is more specific – the aim or object towards which your energy is directed (the wish), the end point of an activity.  The key words here being energy and activity. Wishes and making them come true involves a little physics – there must be forward motion to make wishes come true.  My disclaimer here is I am NO physicist but I think we can apply Newton’s First Law of Motion to wishes and goals.

An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

If this is true, then:

  • A wish will remain a ‘wish’ (an object at rest – inert) unless acted upon by an unbalanced force – i.e the wisher takes action, moves forward.
  • A goal (an object in motion) will remain in motion unless acted upon by an unbalanced force – the actions ceases or  the end point is reached, .

Without action, forward motion, propulsion, exertion – a wish is just “a dream your heart makes” (Cinderella, 1950)

Grace under pressure

You know that feeling….

On the outside, you’re showing as calm, serene, and beautiful; but on the inside, your heart is racing, you are feeling anxious, nervous, frightened, there may even be nausea. Truth is, underneath that beautifully calm, serene exterior, that graceful swan is flapping like mad to keep herself afloat!

Your head is full of paralysing questions…

Do I look ok? Will I make sense? Am I good enough? Am I believable? Is this going to work? Did I give the kids their lunches? Did I leave the iron on? Did I lock the front door? 

Rather frightening is those last three are REAL questions I’ve had to ask myself on many occasions!

Just keep swimming…

People often ask me, “How do you fit it all in, family, work, music, business?” and honestly I can’t really say – I just keep those little feet paddling as hard as I can.

And I have a plan.

Actually several plans, all written down in formal, solid document form. I refer to them on a monthly basis at least (sometimes more often). My plans change – I revise them constantly depending on what is working and what is not. I’m human – I change my mind. I’m also quite efficient (some may say lazy) so I’m ALWAYS trying to find a better way! I’m also good now at letting go of stuff that isn’t providing value in whichever area it relates.  

I plan my year, my week, my day and every single event. I plan my work, I plan my music, and I even plan my “spontaneous” time! If I don’t plan – it never happens.

It’s like getting in your car to go “somewhere” and just driving around until you figure out where that “somewhere” actually is. My hubby (let’s call him Man of the House – MOTH for short) likes nothing better than to just get in the car and drive and while he may have a destination in mind – often he won’t share that with me, it’s just “let’s go for a drive”.

This is NOT my ‘thing”. I need to know where I’m going, what we’re going to do when we get “there”, where can we eat, is anyone else coming; if only he’d tell me the destination I’d be much happier.

I make lists, know and manage risks, I take actions.

Plans are important. Write them down, keep them close; refer to them often; and revise each and every time something changes for you. Only when your goal is there, right in front of you can you then work towards it.  

Until you write it down…it’s only a wish, a hope, a dream.

You must have a sense of accountability for what you devise and if you can’t find it in yourself to be accountable (it’s difficult) then find someone to hold you to it!