Why This Is THE Summer You’ve Been Waiting For

As summer arrives this week I feel the temptation to really let go. I just want to forget the work, the networking, the goal-achieving, and veg the F out. I want to indulge in patio life and read romantic novels by the pool.

’Tis the season for relaxation, hanging with the kiddos while they’re out of school, and indulging in maybe one too many fruity cocktails after work with friends. The sunshine and faint smell of coconut sunscreen are more than enough to distract us from work, prospecting, thinking of a promotion, or hustling in any way, am I right?

On the other hand, one thing I always say about our thirties is that it’s the perfect decade to get things done and get ahead. This is the time we actually have the means and more knowledge about the ways to be successful.

I may sound like the bearer of bad news but I’ll say it anyway: taking two months ‘off’ now is more than just laziness – it’s a wasted opportunity.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t vacay at all – we all know the importance of downtime and quality time for relationships so we don’t burn out and regret a life of consistent work when we’re on our deathbeds. But, if you’ve been struggling to get ahead for a while now and have been praying to the gods to give you a break or a head start, I have to tell you, this is it.

This is the break you’ve been searching for.

If you have a dream that you’ve been waiting to realize or put time into, this is the ‘right time’ you’ve been talking about.

When you told a friend that it wasn’t the ‘right time’ to invest or work together…

Or when you told yourself that ‘one day’ you’ll write that novel…

Or when you say that ‘some day’ you’ll have the time to give that project that will set you up financially…

Well, guess what?

The ‘right time’ is here, and here’s why:

If you’re having thoughts of playing hooky from work or from working on your side project, other people are having those thoughts too.

I don’t have stats on this, but I’d wager that at least half of your competition will be asleep this summer, indulging in their whims and giving in to temptations, giving you a huge advantage for two full months or more.

While others are taking it easy, you can take it up a notch. I know, I know, we don’t want to miss out on the fun or the tanning time. But this is a classic case of a little sacrifice now makes life easier later.

A friend told me once about how she had the choice, like her neighbour, to either work her business or work in the garden all summer. At the end of summer her business was booming. Her neighbour had a nice garden. And while gardens are pretty, they don’t pay the bills or fulfill our dreams – that is unless your business is flowers and your dream is a beautiful garden. You get the idea.

Summer often shows people that their businesses or finances aren’t where they’d like them to be. They see the vacations they want to take their families on but perhaps aren’t financially able. This means that tons of people are looking for what you have to offer. Maybe they need your app, your consulting, or even your novel to read by the pool.

Plus, marketing opportunities are everywhere. Every week is a holiday or fiesta you can join or hashtag to promote your business. And if there’s nothing happening that really speaks to you and your brand, summer itself is a great theme. I’m personally using summer as an excuse to give big bonuses and discounts on my products (stay tuned for that).

If you’re not in business for yourself but you’ve always dreamed of being an author on the side, summer is when it’s possible to find that extra downtime. We have more daylight and, therefore, more energy and more usable outdoor space. Use summer to get outside, be in the outdoor space to finally complete that novel, manifesto or for writing out your five-year plan.

If your goals are personal, like increasing your one-to-one time with your kids, this is a no-brainer. But I personally love a challenge and I think kids do too. Why not accomplish some fun goals together like, ‘Try all the ice cream stores in the city,’ or ‘Ride our bikes as far as we can and then take the bus home.’ This is not only more fun for you but it’s a way to teach your kids the fun of goal setting and accomplishment. Plus, games like this tend to be even more memorable than just going to theme parks or movies.

If your goals are spiritual, the summer weather creates the perfect calmer attitude start a meditation practice, whether you’re on the beach in the park or even longer walks through the city. You could even bring the kids along as well for the challenge; it’s never too early.

The point is, don’t make summer an excuse, make it your secret weapon.

If your’e ready to use summer to your advantage to get ahead in any area of life, let’s take action together. Get in touch to find out how personal coaching can accelerate your results -guaranteed! Inquire to apply at support@ashewoodward.com or visit ashewoodward.com for more info. Talk to you soon! – Ashe

For Anyone Who Has Told a Kid to “Earmuff it!”.

I was at an amazing event this week – a roomful of female entrepreneurs who are all committed to positive change while creating multi-million dollar companies.

The speeches were fun, thoughtful and really personal – authenticity at its best.  And the most authentic part was the language.  More than a few of the women forgot themselves (as in, forgot about the little ones in the room) and let the F-bombs fly freely.

As the night went on, we just rolled with it and started shouting, “Earmuff it!”, a helpful catchphrase from the movie, Old School, that tells kids when to cover their ears against bad language.  It ended up being such a laugh and a fun solution.

Afterwards, I couldn’t get the “Earmuff it” phrase out of my head and it actually led to a really big AHA moment.

When we’re kids, there are a lot of terrible things for us to hear from adults.  The funny thing is, we never talk about how this doesn’t ever really go away – the content just changes.  In other words, there are still a lot of things we as adults need protection from. 

Maybe there are people in our lives who consistently put us down, or maybe we have a bad day and we just can’t get someone’s nasty words out of our head.

Not to mention how we all can be our own worst enemy at times with the negative self-talk and low self-esteem shamefests that happen behind a happy face.

Oh, how I wish there were a pair of in-brain earmuffs I could wear to block out the mental chatter of my fear, self-doubt and guilt sometimes! 

This crazy idea inspired me to start using the phrase, “Earmuff it,” for a whole new reason.  Just as the adults in Old School tell the kids to, “Earmuff it,” against bad language, we can do the same for put downs and negative self-talk, which is just the equivalent of damaging bad language for adults, don’t you think?

So next time you lack self-confidence or feel down about yourself, Earmuff it!

You’re not good enough.

Earmuff it!

You probably don’t have what it takes.

Earmuff it!

No one will ever take you seriously.

Earmuff it!

You’re kidding yourself.

Earmuff it!

You’re going to embarrass yourself.

Earmuff it!

You get the idea.

Eventually, it gets easier to ignore the negative stuff coming in and it even makes building stronger mental toughness and positivity into a game. Plus, it makes me smile a little at the cheekiness of it all. 

This is even perfect for anyone who’s not really into the whole mantra, woo-woo brand of spirituality and just needs a quick reminder to get out of the usual funks that we crawl into at times.

But, I think it’s something we could all give a try as we continue to carve out the best possible paths for ourselves.

Give it a try this week and let me know how it goes on the Facebook page.

And if you need more helpful, kick-ass spirituality get in touch for personalized sessions to kickstart your dreams (especially if you’re looking to create your own multi-million dollar company that gives back) and get you on your true path to success.

ashewoodward.com

Photo Credit: http://www.aliexpress.com

Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Visionary?

When it comes to starting a new venture, it can be tempting to think that, “it’s all been done before.” It can be a real challenge at times to keep going with this idea playing in the back of your mind, I know the feeling all too well, myself.  So how do new things get created and how are new visionaries born?  What’s different about the people that are brave enough to run with their ideas no matter what?  And, more importantly, how can we all get a piece of that?

To create a new idea or be a new face in an established industry, you have to first get rid of the idea that there are no new ideas. If that were true, there would be no innovation, no infomercials, no new iPhone every time I just by the most recent model.

Step two is to remember that the new idea you may have comes from you just being you.  There never has been and never will be anyone exactly like you in the whole history of the world.

[pause for effect…]

There’s a reason you are here and you have a special voice to bring to any project you give your all to.  There are new coaches popping up every day but I remind myself that I have a unique voice that will speak to certain clients.  Some people are meant to be my clients and some people are meant to find someone else. 

I recently heard it put like this:  If Adele thought to herself, “there are already a lot of singers out there, what can I offer?” then we all would have missed our on her amazing talent.

The other big key to starting something new is consistency. In my opinion, this is probably the most important key to success in anything – it even trumps passion.  You can have all the passion in the world for a project, but if you don’t work at it consistently it won’t go anywhere on your passion alone.  Your first step on the path to success is your first move that creates momentum. Then you have to stay the course and work at it on a consistent schedule.  This could be different for everyone.  A new blog could be every week, whereas developing a new habit should be every day.

So if you’re ready to take your plan to the next level, check in with these 3 things (stick to your guns and believe you can do it, value your unique voice, be consistent) and get started! 

If you really need just another small kick in the butt to get your wheels in motion, think of this:  how will you feel if someone gets to your idea first?  How will you feel if you wait too long and the client or customer you’ve been waiting to talk to has already chosen to go with your competition?

So get to it and share your thoughts below or join the conversation at facebook.com/beingthirties.

For more on this, sign up for my weekly newsletter at ashewoodward.com and you’ll also get first dibs on my new ebook: Do-Over:  How to Redesign Your Life to Get What You Really Want

Finding Your Own Formula for Success

There’s a new ad for weight watchers where Oprah looks into the camera and tells everyone that each time she failed to lose weight led her to this moment to try again.  It’s a great message and I’m sure so many people can relate to what Oprah is saying:  it’s okay to try and fail because it’s all part of the journey.

While it is a great message, and almost convinces me to join Oprah and weight watchers even though I don’t think I need to, I can’t help but wonder about one thing:  Why can’t Oprah just apply the success she’s found in her career to finding success with weight loss?

I don’t mean to put her on the spot either, I personally love Oprah.  But love her or hate her, it’s an interesting question that we all might be facing.  Some areas of our life may be exactly how we want them but others never seem to come together or it’s a constant struggle. 

What I find interesting is that if we can’t replicate out own success in other areas, what’s to say we’re capable of replicating another person’s journey?  Even Queen O has trouble replicating her own success just in a different area of her life.  So what is it that makes us think that other success stories will relate to our own?

Perhaps it’s that Oprah can’t see how losing weight and growing a milt-billion dollar company are related.  Maybe it’s more likely that you see a correlation between your business and Elon Musk’s journey, rather than comparing how Oprah loses weight.

So all success isn’t all the same?

So then why are those lists of “Things Successful People Do” and “Top Ten Ways to Be More Like Richard Branson” so popular?

I guess I just like the idea that a formula for success is out there and that I will eventually find it. But Oprah has made me see that trial and error and being ready and in the right place and timing are all part of this equation.  I mean, if she can find it, but not duplicate it, then what hope do we have of duplicating anyone else?

But as I said, maybe it’s all about categories.  Business success is different from successful weight loss.  But that seems not quite right to me either; I think that it’s more about where you put your focus and priorities.  Oprah focused on her career – a lot!  And there were times when everyone knew that Oprah was losing weight again because we saw her in jogging suits on the cover of People magazine and there were health challenges with Dr. Oz on her show all the time.  During those times, she did lose weight so I wonder how she lost her focus…

I can’t speak for Oprah, it’s bad enough that I would die to just speak TO her, but her journey that she’s on, in front of everyone, is worth a look to put our own successes and failures into better perspective. 

The message here I think is: “Lessen your focus on others’ success and focus on your own; only you know how to make it there.  Focus, and you’ll reap the rewards.”  My other biggest believe is that you have to keep trying, testing and failing and eventually you’ll have a Euraka moment.  Everyone knows this quote by now:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Thomas A. Edison on inventing the lightbulb

So where does your focus lie for 2016 and how will you be persistent in discovering your unique success formula?  I’d love to hear all about it in the comments or on Facebook!

To find out how you can uncover your unique formula for success, get in touch to find out more about one-to-one coaching, visit ashewoodward.com.

How to Survive the Holiday Scene As an Entrepreneur

If you’re an entrepreneur as many thirtysomeones are these days [it’s a GenX/Millennial thing…]), you’re always ready to talk about your new project and share it with the whole world. Maybe the holidays seem like a perfect time to practice your pitch on family and friends, tell people about what you’re doing and get the word out.

But there is a delicate balance we as entrepreneurs and business owners have to consider. Sure, we’re excited to talk about everything we’re doing and how our great ideas can help so many people, but we also have to remember that family gatherings may not be the best place for doing business. Here are a few traps to look out for this season and some tips I’ve developed over the years to keep the balance and not end up with egg…nog on your face.

Mingling Question #1: What do you do?

There’s really nothing worse than listening to someone ramble on and on about his or her latest venture to end up on the other side not knowing what the person is talking about and wondering where the last 10 minutes of your life went. Sure, for most people, their job title says it all. ‘Lawyer,’ ‘Manager’, ‘Baker,’ all crystal clear. But ‘Entrepreneur’ needs some explanation and expansion.

What kind of entrepreneur? What do you do all day? How do you actually make money?

So where do you start to answer so you don’t end up on a roller-coaster of explanations and examples that go nowhere fast?

I’ll pass on some great advice I got from another coach, Christian Mickelsen. He says to do away with the titles altogether. For example, if you design software I’m sure you know by now that the average Joe has no idea how you do what you do. Instead of ‘Software Designer’ you could say, ‘I develop computer programs and programming to help people do their taxes themselves from their home computer.’ Instead of ‘Coach’ I’ve been practising saying that, ‘I listen to the common concerns of thirtysomethings and lead them to solutions that will help them achieve their goals and live a more abundant life.’

This is even good advice for non-entrepreneurs because it makes your job more understandable and relatable. Even as a Baker you can mention your specialties or holiday favourites: ‘I’m a baker who specializes in vegan and gluten-free yule logs this time of year’. As a lawyer you can talk about your ideal clients and who you really like working with. For more examples, see Christian’s full post HERE.

We’ve all been faced with the guy who’s a ‘Data-reconfigure analysis statistician something or other for a multi-national logistics something something corporation’. We try to keep an interested face but sometimes the egg nog starts to kick in and there’s no hope. On a more personal note, I was recently baffled when I was introduced to a ‘Solutions Integrator’. Instantly, a load of self-doubt for not knowing what this was arose and an awkwardness settled on the conversation because I was too embarrassed to ask for clarification. All of which could have been avoided by him simply saying first-off that he ‘sources technology and programs to make his company run more smoothly.’ Ahhhhh… the simplicity…

Basically, the holidays are no time for extra thinking. Be a doll and take the guess work out of it for your relatives and they’ll not only be thankful but probably more interested in what you ‘do’ rather than being confused by your title.

Mingling Question #2: What have you been up to?

For entrepreneurs and free spirits that may be nearer to the beginning of their journey, this question can be as nerve-wracking as taking your driver’s license test in the middle of a snowstorm. You can’t see, your palms are sweaty and you’re not thinking if but when you’ll swerve off the road.

Sometimes at the beginning of a venture, the idea is there but articulating it might be a danger zone. Just because you understand it and have the vision, doesn’t mean everyone is going to get it. So consider these options:

  1. Don’t mention the project. This could seem like a cop out or a middle finger to the Law of Attraction, but it could also be a way to protect your idea from scrutiny in its incubation period. However, this isn’t the advice for someone who has an idea that is ready for sharing. I’ve also seen entrepreneurs shy away from sharing their ideas in fear that they’ll be stolen. Trust me when I say, nobody can steal your idea. Even if they had your basic elevator speech memorized, they couldn’t put your unique spin on it. Plus, contrary to your sceptical mind’s beliefs, not everyone goes to holiday parties for a great place to find the next best thing.
  2. Mention the project. But practice first. If you think you’re ready to reveal your plans then go for it. Do some research on effective elevator pitches so you get to the point. Practice your pitch so it sounds natural, but convincing.  And, own the complements that come your way for being so brave and going out on your own. Check out one of my favourite videos on nailing your introduction HERE.

Pitching to ‘The Fam’

It’s great to let your family in on what you’re doing, but it could be best to allow it to happen naturally. If you decide to not mention much but there are still a lot of questions, answer them as honestly as possible (Santa’s watching you know…). Also, keep in mind you could also say that there’s going to be an opportunity for them to hear more about it when you officially launch.

The launch is where you can do this with full transparency. I recently had a Christmas dinner at my house and told a few guests to arrive early to be my guinea pigs for a practice launch of a new business I’m starting. I didn’t surprise them with it and hold them hostage, I said come early to support me on my new venture if they could. Luckily, they were very supportive. I talked for about an hour, letting them in on all I’ve been doing and how they can support me if they like. Then, after all questions seemed to have been asked, we let it die and dinner got started. It’s important to not only drop the subject but allow people to feel comfortable after a presentation by making it clear that there’s no pressure to invest or buy, just to be open-minded, listen and then move on.

Finally, if you are worried about what ‘The Fam’ will think this holiday season as you reveal your new ventures and projects, go in with a little preparation and awareness for what you are ready to put out there. Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean your project knows that – it may not be the right time. There will always be another chance to reveal your project on your terms. But do plan ahead. They will ask, and that’s a wonderful thing too because it means they care. Awwww….

Have a wonderful holiday season to all you thirtysomeones out there with budding new projects. I’d love to be YOUR guinea pig if you like – Practice your pitch in the comments below! Or get in touch at support@ashewoodward.com for more success tips and advice!

Being Thirties – Podcast with Natalie Edwards

No new posts, just as promised!  I’m working away at my own goals at the moment to bring you more great content for 2016.  But here is one of those projects already- an interview done by Natalie Edwards of natedwards.co.uk.  

Natalie asked me some great questions on creative thirtysomethings and entrpreneurs as well as my thoughts on family pressures and standing in your own decisions and power.

This was a fun chat for me so I hope you enjoy it and get something from it.

http://www.natedwards.co.uk/2015/11/26/success-coach-ashe-woodward/

If you’d like to experience the power of coaching first-hand, get in touch for a FREE 30-minute consultation/exploration.

support@ashewoodward.com or get more info at ashewoodward.com