What I Learned About Becoming A Wealthy Woman

Posted on March 29, 2015

money

Not an evening goes by in London these days when you can’t check in to some kind of event, seminar or lecture aimed at improving some aspect of your life. In addition to attending events in person, there is no shortage of life hack-ery online, in the magazines we buy and in the big piles of 10-step self-help books that, I for one, have accumulated over the years.

But if that’s the case, why aren’t we all model human beings? The answer is simple: because we don’t put the advice into practice. Not really. Not in any long-term way that gets results. Our attention is quickly taken up by the next new thing. So, having a small group of driven women get home last week after a Wealthy Woman Workshop session with wealth coach Terhi Majasalmi and immediately turning advice into action is pure gold.

This was Terhi’s second session with DrivenWoman, the first mainly looked at attitudes to wealth and how our adult behaviours are, more often than not, shaped by our parents attitude towards money. The result, as I am sure many of you will recognise, are often unconscious feelings of guilt,  unworthiness, or just simply a fundamental belief that we are unable to manage money.

In last week’s session, Terhi got down to the business of saving. In the financial advice classic  The Richest Man in Babylon, George Samuel Clason says one of the fundamental rules of wealth is to save 10% of your income. Terhi advises the same. Ok, so where’s the magic in that, you may ask?

The magic is in the mindset.

This is saving for investment. Not saving for a holiday, new outfit, a new bathroom or anything else that sees your savings go or depreciate once the thing has been bought.

Terhi was talking about saving until a critical mass is reached when you can put those savings into investments. The investments then generate income which you re-invest. That generates more income and so it goes on. It’s the conveyor belt effect; once that critical mass is reached and with some sound investing, it can’t help but move you forward, snowballing as you go. It’s likely to be a long journey but if you don’t start, how will you ever get there?

Next up was asset classes and asking the question, where should I put my money?  Terhi covered stocks and funds, commodities, property and business and managed to so in a way that was easy and accessible for the uninitiated. The answer turns out to be a personal preference based on how much time you have, how liquid you want your funds to be, your approach to risk, your investment timelines and mainly, what it is that spikes your interest. I went into the session with an idea of which asset class might suit me best and came away more convinced than ever.

Terhi says wealth creation is 20% strategy and 80% mindset. And she should know, she’s been building her wealth for two decades.

Do I wish I started thinking about financial security and freedom at seventeen? Yes, of course, but we can only start from where we are which is why it is important to start today.

By the end of the session we were all focused on our financial future with a sense of optimism. What had been daunting to many, myself included, now felt a lot more achievable.

And to keep our motivation topped up, Miisa and Jennifer have decided to hold quarterly DrivenWoman ‘Wealth Club’ -sessions so we can report back on progress and collectively hold each other to account.

I know from other areas of my life that this accountability will give me the extra motivation I need to stick with it and deliver results. I know it’s early days, but I certainly feel 2015 is the year that I turn a corner on the path to wealth and financial freedom.

~ Adzowa

Adzowa is a DrivenWoman member. She took part in the Wealthy Woman Workshop on March 19. 2015

How to Un-Label And Learn To Explore Beyond Your Current Identity

Posted on March 22, 2015

jam jarsDoes this sound familiar? You know you can get stuff done but the new goals you’ve set for yourself don’t seem to be coming any closer and weeks turn into months. Your friends talk about you as the ‘doer’, the one that makes things happen. So why is the new path you’ve decided to explore still greatly undiscovered?

After leaving my corporate career 8 years ago I had drawn up a vision to build a more flexible life where I would be in charge of my own time and able to shift easily between work, family and hobbies. The vision was clear but I had no idea how I would get there and what would be the work that I’d end up doing.

The biggest thing standing between me and my vision was the way I viewed my own identity and who I was.

I had labelled myself. I believed I was my work.

It’s so easy to do this. If you do something successfully for 15 years it’s easy to believe that that’s who you are. Forget that you were born a girl with plenty of facets, interests, values and talents. Then overtime it all got narrowed down under one sticky label, an identity.

To be good at something, be praised for our work, become useful or even indispensable may become addictive, a comfort zone. It doesn’t matter what the work is we end up doing over a long period of time or the environment we surround ourselves with, it often turns into one’s identity, a label. ‘A mother’, ‘a lawyer’, a ‘consultant’.

It’s easy to feel safe behind a label.

And to think that this is who you are because this is how all your friends know you. This is why your collegues praise you. This is what your partner expects of you. This is how your parents see you. This is how anyone who’d come to contact with you would talk about you. And this is what it says on your CV. Full stop. A label. No room for change. Or is there?

The stronger our current identity is, the more difficult it’s going to be to change it. To un-label.

The label stops you from dreaming

In the worst case the way we see our own identity stops us even dreaming about something new, something different, something more exciting. Because you do exactly what it says on the tin! And if the new adventure is not mentioned in the label how can one go about exploring it?

I remember when I left my big job and was free to do anything I wanted I wasn’t able to embrace my freedom. It terrified me. I kept referring back to who I was rather than boldly drafting ideas based on who I wanted to become.

This seems very typical, a lot of DrivenWoman members want to explore new avenues but find themselves almost paralysed unable to open new doors. It’s easy to fall back to old routines without even noticing. And how could we refer to something that may or may not exist in the future? But if you keep referring to your current identity it stops you from changing and keeps you stuck.

The label stops you from taking the first step

Can’t go on a mountain climbing trip because you aren’t that sporty (…yet). Or you can’t start a food blog because you are not a good food writer (…yet). Or you can’t go to a programming course because you are not that good with a computer (…yet).

You see my point. The labels are all in our own heads. The self-limiting identity keep us from even exploring something new. ‘What would my kids think if I went on a programming course, I can’t even use Twitter‘, you think.  And to feel satisfied with our day it’s best to keep to the activities we are familiar with, the ones we are good at and know we will be praised for by people around us. Keep performing to our label, make it to stick even harder.

When one’s identity is very strongly linked to one thing, to one’s work, it’s extremely difficult to start moving away from it.

Don’t re-label, add a sticker

Perhaps you’ve arrived to the point in your life where you think, right, new something else. I need to move on from what I’ve been doing as it doesn’t fully satisfy me anymore. It’s easy to get paralysed by thinking you need to completely re-label yourself, become something new, something different.

180 degree changes are very difficult to pull off and unlikely to work. Our past is part of our future. Change is a gradual process, not an overnight sex-change!

Try to think of it as adding a sticker next to the current label. “NOW WITH ADDED VITAMIN-C!”

This is what I did. My first step outside my ‘brand consultant’ label was to write a cookbook. So I added a sticker. A brand consultant who’s also passionate about food. Ok that works.

Writing the cookbook freed my mind to think that I can actually do anything I want. The next step was starting this network, which on the outset wasn’t really related to any of my previous labels (and was super scary for that reason!). But I just knew I had to go through that fear and simply see what’s on the other side.

What I found was a complete freedom to do anything I want. I don’t have to label myself anymore. And certainly I’m not my work.

I still love brands, but I’ve now got lots of labels sticked to my forehead, in no particular order. A brand lover. A women’s empowerment gal. A selfish mother. A design geek. A wanna be fashionista. A crazy friend. A super wife. A self proclaimed foodie.

And I have no intention to stop here. I’ll soon be working on couple of more prominent stickers to add to my collection!

I wrote a cookbook but I didn’t turn into a food writer. Just by taking up a new interest or exploring a new avenue doesn’t mean that you  will have to become that for the rest of your life. It’s simply just what it is, an exploration.

Do one thing that scares you this week. Something that no-one will praise you for. Something that your kids/collegues/friends will tell you that you are mad! Sign up to a course you know nothing about, go do a sport you’d never normally consider or finally start writing that blog you thought about for a long time.

What ever you are up to, have a great week!

~ Miisa

Why So Many Women Are Single

Posted on March 15, 2015

single woman

I must admit that since I’ve decided to “own it” and commit to being a Love Coach full time, I’ve met some very interesting people and heard some fascinating stories which bring new light to why so many women are single.

Just the other day, I was at a theatre event, with my boyfriend, that was preceded by some mingling time for guests. As I teach my clients the importance of chatting to people and mingling at social events (including skills for “working a room”), I decided to put those techniques to use in this real-life situation. So, after turning to a couple beside us and ensuring that my boyfriend was happily in conversation, I walked off and eyed the room for interesting people to speak to. Immediately, I caught sight of a woman who I thought was cute, but, from her energy and look, I figured was definitely single. She was standing beside another woman looking rather uncomfortable, her mobile clutched in her hands nervously as if she’d turn to it the minute that her friend found someone else to converse with. This happened pretty quickly as the friend was greeted by someone she knew with whom she began an enthusiastic conversation. As I expected, rather than looking for someone else to speak with, this woman began instead to scroll nervously through her phone.

I decided to rescue her. Walking in her direction, I met eyes with and smiled at a man I’d never met who was clearly eager to chat with someone. I introduced myself to the woman on the phone with an admiring line about her handbag. She seemed extremely relieved to have someone actually approach her and we immediately began to converse. She seemed very sweet and I liked her energy. Upon discovering what I do, she launched into a hurricane of just how difficult it was to meet men in London and how “she’d tried everything”. I listened attentively but didn’t offer any advice, as I would have normally a year ago.

My very supportive boyfriend encouraged me to follow my dream of helping to empower women to find love, and paid for me to be coached by a well-known “Supercoach”, named Judymay, who coaches other coaches on how to get themselves out there and succeed as coaches. Judymay explained to me the importance of “not giving free advice” to people I meet. Clients value much more what they pay for and will actually put that into action. It was true. My parents, who are therapists, had always told me that “if someone wants professional advice, they will pay for it. If they won’t pay for it, they don’t really want it or aren’t ready to hear it”.

Thanks to Judymay’s advice, I was able to avoid telling this woman that she would easily meet someone if she would just mingle rather than looking at her phone. At that moment, the man I’d exchanged a glance with came over and began speaking with me. The woman by my side was just about to shrink away and scroll through her phone again when I introduced her to this man who seemed very keen to chat. I noticed my boyfriend looking at me a bit warily, so I came over to him, gave him a reassuring pat and introduced him to another group standing beside us that I’d never even met before. He easily began to converse with the man in the group, so I moved on.

This time I spotted a woman sitting on one of the chairs to the side of the room reading a book. Yes, that’s right: she was actually sitting and reading a book during a mingling event. I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and consider that maybe she was married and didn’t want to meet anyone (though I think we should all be meeting new people all the time regardless of our couple situation). I sat down beside her and asked a question about the book, remarking that I’d heard the author’s name (I hadn’t) and wondering what she thought of it. She seemed pleased to have someone who actually came over to speak with her and spoke animatedly about the various books the author had written and how much she enjoyed his writing style. When she discovered that I was a Love Coach, she right away said, “oh gosh, I could sure use one; I haven’t had a date in years”. “Yes,” I thought. “That might have something to do with the fact that you are sitting and reading a book rather than taking the opportunity to mingle while at an event loaded with available men”. I said nothing but instead began asking her more questions about her. In fact she was easily engaged, very well spoken, and had a fascinating life. I was captivated and saddened by the thought of this fascinating woman not being able to find a man.

Just then, a man with an cute white doggy sat down beside us and I immediately went to stroke him and commented on how adorable he was. From my many dog-owner friends, I even knew some of the key questions to ask to keep a dog conversation afloat. The woman beside me was just about to launch into her book again when, instead, I introduced her to the man with the dog (who I’d never met before). As it turned out, she too was a dog owner and the two easily chatted about the funny things their two dogs did (that wasn’t so hard). Considering my job there done, I noticed the woman with the mobile phone was once again back on her phone as the man I’d introduced her to had moved on.

I was about to return to rescue her again when a man with a lovely knitted scarf beside me caught my eye. I smiled and commented on his scarf. He told me that his daughter had knitted it and we began a lively conversation about how lovely it was that children were being taught how to knit in school (my daughter’s school had a knitting club and she was eagerly knitting a scarf for her little sister). At that point, I noticed my boyfriend looking like he needed rescuing, so I introduced the man with the scarf to the woman with the phone. By the time I walked over to give my boyfriend a warm squeeze, the man with the scarf had moved on and the woman was back on her phone. Luckily, the performance was just about to start so we were all called to sit down.

During the intermission, the woman with the phone approached me eagerly and asked me if I knew the two men that I had introduced her to. “No, I just met them,” I replied. She seemed shocked. “But how did you talk to them so easily?” she asked. “It was like you’d known them for ages!” “Actually, that’s one of the things that I teach my clients,” I replied, shamelessly giving myself a plug as Judymay had instructed. She quickly asked for my card. I apologised that my new logo wasn’t ready yet, so I didn’t have any cards, but promised I’d email her if she gave me her email address. The woman with the book approached me as well at the end of the play and thanked me for introducing her to the man with the dog. It turned out that she and the man were almost neighbours and the two had a dog-walking date planned for that coming weekend. She was nervous, she said though, as she hadn’t had a date in years. I said that I’d be happy to guide her as “that’s one of the things that I do with clients”, and she gave me her card.

My boyfriend meanwhile had made a good work connection. There was a queue for picking up the coats on the way out so I took the opportunity to chat with a couple that was waiting beside us. We found out that all four of us were going to be at the same art exhibit the following weekend so we exchanged numbers saying that maybe we could grab a coffee there.

At the end of that event, I walked out with two perspective clients and some possible new friends. My boyfriend had made a good business connection; and a date between two complete strangers was arranged. All of that was made possible by some simple mingling.

So why are so many women single when it’s just a matter of an easy conversation? I asked some of my shier single friends that question. “Maybe we just don’t feel confident enough to try,” one told me. Or maybe they just don’t know the techniques for mingling in a social situation.

~ Julia

Julia Keller is a Love Coach, speaker, writer, and Driven Woman member. She helps women on mingling and how to get the love life that you desire.

There’s No Women’s Equality Without Proactivity

Posted on March 7, 2015

grow leaves

In Finland (where I’m originally from), all kids go outside on a break at school. It’s usually already quite chilly in October so hats are compulsory and teachers supervise to ensure rules are being followed rigorously. It was a surprisingly warm autumn day early October in 1981 and the sun was shining. I felt wronged to have to put on a hat, and decided to do something about it.

The process was cumbersome in those days. I had my mother type a letter with a typewriter and my dad to make copies at work. The ‘non-hat-wearing passports’ got quickly distributed at school and the next day many children presented a document declaring that they didn’t have to wear a hat until it got cold. Signed by one of the parents it announced that the child had enough understanding when to put a hat on. Oh boy was I in deep trouble!

I was only 11 years old back then, but to this day I’m proud of that day. I didn’t change the world or end poverty, but I stood up, raised my voice and did something to improve my situation and that of those around me. I didn’t take circumstances as given, I wanted to challenge things.

I wanted to share my childhood memory today, on the International Women’s Day. This memory was one element in me that inspired us to start the DrivenWoman network. The idea of proactivity is a corner stone of what we do.

Without proactivity women will never be equal.

To celebrate this important day of equality, I wanted to write about DrivenWoman’s role in the wider arena of women’s empowerment and feminism.

We believe that women should pick up their own reins and start pushing themselves forward. Yes the world is still very unequal in many places and there’s a lot to be fixed! The workplace runs on men’s rules. Women are not represented on the board level as they should. Women leave the tech industry in droves.

I’m so happy that things are slowly changing thanks to many wonderful organisations and individuals who fight for women’s voice to be heard and educate organisations and communities to minimise prejudice and sexism. I’d like to introduce you to the ones we’ve have had a pleasure to be in contact with, either in person or via Twitter.

Take the Lead Women‘ is an organisation that prepares, develops and inspires women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions across all sectors by 2025.

30% Club‘ aims to have 30% women on FTSE-100 boards by end 2015.

Gender Economics Lab‘ builds gender diversity capability within organisations interested in attracting and retaining the very best talent.

We work with a bunch of wonderful, empowered women who are on the same mission. They help women take their equal place within the organisations and take charge of their own wealth and confidence.

Voice At The Table‘ helps companies and the women who work there liberate untapped talent by empowering women to take the next step without fear, which builds their confidence and strengthens their voice at the table.

Wealthy Woman‘ aims to build a community of 10,000 wealthy women. Founded by Terhi Majasalmi, she helps women change their attitude and learn how to improve their personal finances, and even reach financial independence.

Roxanne Hobbs‘ is on a mission to transform the workplace via inclusivity. She believes women have their own natural feminine style and works with women to help them identify this authentic voice and make a step change in their careers.

Be Dynamic Coaching‘ works with both individuals and organisations to help women increase their self confidence and walk a little taller.

Most women’s networks and forums generally focus on building your career within the male dominated corporate environment and fighting to change it.

At DrivenWoman, we want to take a proactive approach here and now, regardless of the unfairness of the circumstances we face.

Rather than waiting for the world to change we want to challenge women to see how they can change themselves.

What can you do for yourself, right now? What does success truly look like for you? How can you start improving your skills and confidence? What small steps can you take every day to start moving towards the kind of environment you want for yourself?

For us the first step on the road to equality is not to be against anyone (the system, men, society etc..). It’s about empowering ourselves to take the time to know what we want and then act on it.

All of these campaigns such as ‘He For She‘ or ‘Ban Bossy‘ are very important in raising awareness and changing the everyday sexism culture we still live in. Government initiatives for helping women start up businesses is fantastic. The discussion and facilitation of change is paramount but nothing will change unless we women take a chance and change. It’s us who need to go an grasp the opportunity.

DrivenWoman’s mission is to build a global network where women can explore what success means to them both in life and in career and proactively make things happen.

It is a honest and friendly forum where women can be proactive about their own success. Women overcome fear of failure and everyday obstacles with the help and support of other like-minded women. It is a safety net and a team of your own cheerleaders that will push you to your goals. It’s a ‘personal trainer’ that helps you to implement those little everyday changes that you know in your heart has to be done but are often the most challenging. It provides accountability and structure for your journey.

A driven woman will not blame the circumstances and the imperfections of the universe but she will do her best within the current structures or she will start creating her own environment. If the corporate culture doesn’t understand her talent, she will seek to change her career or build something of her own. She will use the resources she has now and work hard to build more resources. She will take small steps towards a bigger goal and educate herself with new skills along the way.

Driven woman is ready to challenge her current status and strive to build something that’s better suited for her as a whole. She wants to live a fulfilling life and be happy, not only with her career but also with her family life relationships and within herself.

So while we wait for the structures and corporate culture to change we will not stand still. No board room quota or a government grant will guarantee us success. It is us women who have to build our own self confidence and be proactive to grasp the opportunities of success that are now offered to us in this increasingly changing world.

I’m so happy that I haven’t lost that 11 year old girl in me who’s ready to put her hand up and change things. I want to make her even stronger and silence any voices of self-doubt. And I know that together we can make ourselves stronger and find a way to get through the difficulties.

Join us celebrating The International Women’s Day and promise yourself to make your journey a more proactive one. What small things can you start changing today that will make you happier and thus more equal in your life?

~ Miisa

 

Stake A Claim On Your Self Confidence

Posted on March 1, 2015

feeling good

This is a guest post from personal development coach Donna Hubbard.

When I look back at my life I can see a clear pattern between how I was feeling about myself at the time and the type of events taking place for me. Focusing in on certain moments where I was feeling good and waking tall, I can see how good opportunities just seemed to appear. Compare this to times where for whatever reason I had lost my sense of self, and the opposite was true. Life just felt harder.

Life’s a journey and we’re all (including us very human & imperfect Coaches…) on a continual road of self evolvement. Something I’ve come to realise through my own personal experiences and hearing those of my clients, is that how we feel about ourselves is not only a result of what we experience in our life, but actually a huge contributing factor.

The Pendulum Effect

Challenging events can and do chip away at our self confidence. However the pendulum swings the other way too. If we don’t take the time to rebuild a positive relationship with who we are, then external events will continue to control us.

Reflecting on some of the more challenging times, I can see that the real problem was not in what was happening to me, but in how I was responding. Instead of taking care of myself, I turned on myself with self criticism. Instead of focusing on making me feel good about me, I looked outwardly for approval. Rather than staking a claim on my self confidence I abandoned it, I left it outside in the rain. Only when I began to invest time and energy into building a better relationship with myself, did things begin to improve.

Is it Time to Reclaim Your Self Confidence?

We usually receive warning signs when our self confidence needs some attention, such as worrying too much about what other people think of us or holding ourselves back in some way. When those signs are there it’s time to act. Phase one, ‘Feeling Good’ (below) is all about shaking up how you feel within yourself on a daily basis, so that this shift in your physiology can begin to open up a better outlook for you. Phase two ‘Making Waves’ will follow in my next blog coming soon.

Phase One: “Feeling Good”

Step 1 – Regroup

First things first, take some time to regroup with yourself by doing the things that make you feel good about being in your own skin. I have seen with my own eyes the dramatic difference jumping back on his bike (literally) made to one cycle mad client, it transformed him. It helped to bring back that spring in his step that he had lost. And that’s because doing the things that make us feel awesome changes our mind set dramatically. The physiological changes these type of activities evoke takes our minds from a place of “No I can’t” to “Yes I blimin can” almost instantly.

What things lift you to a place of “Yes I can”? Can’t think of any? Well ok let me ask you this…What one thing, if you started doing it on a regular basis from today, would make you like who you are more? Would make you respect yourself more? Whatever just popped into your head, go do it and keep doing it. Notice how you start to feel as a result.

Step 2 – Be On Your Side

Life is a lot easier if we can find a way to be our own biggest supporter. And not just when things are going well for us, but especially when the chips are down. The times when we make a mistake, fail or feel afraid, are those when our attitude towards ourselves can quite literally make or break us.

So how can you support yourself more? Is it a case of changing what you say to yourself? Is it giving yourself permission to not have to be perfect all the time? Start to notice when you are not being ‘on your own team’ and choose to think and act in a way that supports you. This way as long as you have you, you will never be alone.

Step 3 – Turn Up as the Real You

Do you ever find yourself not quite being the real you in situations? If you do, then you know how awful this feels. There is probably no more a draining and highly disempowering state to find yourself in than ‘situation acting’. When we do this we are hiding behind an edited version of ourselves because we have decided (whether accurately or not) that those around us won’t like or accept who we are. This coping strategy is incredibly corrosive to our self confidence because every time we do it two things happen;

1) It gives us further ‘proof’ that we’re not good enough – “How come everybody else can just be themselves?”

2) It feels fake and so puts us slightly on edge, making us less effective and more likely to experience a negative outcome.

How can you turn up as the real You more often? What small changes would make a big difference? Would standing in a way that is more natural to you help you to relax? Would it help you to be the real you in that next ‘scary’ meeting if you imagined all of your friends sat behind you rooting for you? The more you practice showing up as the real you the easier and more rewarding it will become.

Your Best Life Enhancement Tool

So what advice would I give to the me of yesteryear when she would lose her way occasionally? Most likely; “Press pause, do all things that make you feel good about You, and then when you’re ready, retake the reins.” In other words (and this is for you too) stake a claim on the best life enhancement tool you have – your Self Confidence.

~ Donna

Donna Hubbard is a Certified Coach and the founder of Be Dynamic Coaching, a coaching company who help individuals to increase your self confidence and walk a little taller. 


The Mind & Body Confidence Event, Sat 7th March, Hampshire

This March we’re celebrating International Women’s Day 2015 by hosting The Mind & Body Confidence Event. If you would like to take a well deserved day for You and focus on cultivating your self confidence, then come and join in the fun. Why not bring a friend and enjoy the day together? For more information or to book your place at this exclusive event, please click here.

The Record In My Head

Posted on February 22, 2015

the reconrd in my head

Do you ever catch yourself planning out your life, in your head? Do you try to imagine all possible scenarios in advance? Do you envision, with certainty, all possible consequences of your potential actions?

I catch myself listening to the noisy record of my thoughts every day and it’s driving me mad!

In the beginning of this year we all created ‘concepts’, our three guiding words, for 2015. Looking back, I really meant every word, but a recent event at one of our DrivenWoman meetings hit home one concept in particular. One of our members referred back to her three words and so eloquently explained why she wanted them to guide her every choice and movement in life. The word that stuck into my mind was – Present. In my own New Year’s planning I had used a different word – Focus. It was light years from where I wanted to be and so the idea of being fully ‘present’ really hit home.

The end on February is fast approaching, before we know it it will be June and we will be kicking ourselves for not accomplishing what we so diligently started out to do. Were those three words just words, or did we really summoned them to guide our everyday actions? And our thoughts?

So what stops us from fully appreciating and embracing our ambitions and plans, for this year or for life?

Here’s my BIG discovery.

I don’t think I can actually say when there has been a moment when I have been completely and fully present in myself.  I am the type of person who would constantly dress rehearse life before it even happens. I would create scenarios, characters, thoughts. I’d build the whole scene in my mind eyes long before it might happen, and to be fair, would never happen.  I must be potty! What a complete waste of time and energy.

I would work myself up without any proven facts or actions to back my silly thoughts and scenarios. My heart would race, I would be muttering to myself thinking, yeah and if that happens I would do that and if they said this I would react with this. Whole discussions, final results, relationship dramas. They could have made a whole series of soap opera from this material! And if there was a fly on my wall in the shower or in my car I would get the number one ‘nut job’ sign, for sure.

But the way this one member explained her goal, to be fully present, it really brought home just how significant it is to be present, to enjoy the here and now. Bath yourself with now, appreciate the moment and make all your decisions and choices based on the reality that is, rather than the scenarios in your head echoing what might be. And know wisely why you are here, look around and draw yourself back.

And this, my dear ladies, is the fact that most likely stops us from achieving what we set out to do this year. Not being present but wasting time and energy in useless scenario building.

I am going to try with all my might to stop myself with running away with my thoughts. At the end of the year I want to look back and commend myself for being present.  I want to deal with situations now and let the results take care of itself.

To achieve this I’m trying out couple of techniques to help draw back and stay fully in the present.

1. Counting meditation to quiet the mind. Count to ten slowly and breath calmly, especially when in an anxious or stressful situation. The breathing helps to bring your body into the moment. I have found this so effective.

2. Using an item to bring me back to the present moment. Some people carry an item in a pocket or wear a piece of as jewellery, so when anxieties rise or the outside world gets a bit too harried and distracting, touching and focusing on that item brings them back to the present moment. I carry a rubbing stone which I find quite relaxing.

3. Music. I recommend this to everyone and I am sure it’s done without a second thought. Playing your favourite music. The song that makes you smile gives you back that lost energy and creates warmth that fills you up and makes you form more positive thoughts.

I’m experimenting with these tools and it has help to quiet my mind. Staying in the present moment takes practice. Conditioning yourself a few moments each day is all that is needed to establish your mindfulness practice. Before long, you’ll notice that you’re much more aware and appreciative of things around you. And the best of all, it stops those silly future scenarios running wild.

Referring back to my sporting life “if you take care on now the end will take care of itself“.

Do share your experience here. What do you do to stay present?

Let’s be present ladies.

~ Jennifer

Woman’s Pound Is Equal To Man’s

Posted on February 15, 2015
terhi majasalmi

Niina Stolt /Studio Onni

The early 90s recession hit Finland very hard. My father was one of the lucky ones to keep his job during the bad times, but eventually he lost it in 1995. That was twenty years ago. Even at the tender age of 16 I realised that even if you are very skilled and eager to work you can lose your job and become unemployed. You can’t always decide circumstances in your life even if you can influence many things.

That time I noticed that even if your income drops you have bills to pay and lifestyle to support. Ever since, I’ve been thinking how I can have an income even if I can’t, or don’t want to, work. I decided that I have to have an additional income that is not related to the work what I do. This is why I started to study investing.

Since then I have been investing in almost everything: stocks, mutual funds, gold, real estates and businesses. Real estate is the love of my life. Investing in businesses has been the most difficult one and there I have made my biggest losses.

What the losses have taught the most is humility. Even if you get experience every day, you have to start many times with a clean slate in your life. With this attitude you don’t expect anything but you check everything. This way I have tried to be better prepared for the potential risks if they materialise.

As a woman I think it’s even more important to think how I will survive financially in the future. But I’m happy to say that my ‘euro’ or ‘pound sterling’ as a female investor is as valuable as male’s. Financial independence will give us the equality we need. So we women should really make use of being smart with our money!

See you in March in London,

~ Terhi

Terhi Majasalmi is women’s wealth coach, investor, author and public speaker. She is the founder of an online wealth coaching service ‘Vaurasnainen‘ that aims to make 10,000 Finnish women wealthy. Terhi is a regular visitor to DrivenWoman and runs our Wealthy Woman Workshops. The next one is on Thursday 19th of March. Find out how you too can become a wealthy woman and book your tickets here.

Temptation Of Being Busy (And My Best Productivity Tip)

Posted on February 8, 2015

productivity

Does this sound familiar… you are a doer, you get things done but still you feel you are not accomplishing the success you’d desire? Are you exhausted from the amount of work and feel like you are catching up all the time? There’s no time to think because there’s so much to do!

I know this feeling better than many as I’m a doer. I love to ‘get things done’. I kick ass. I make things happen. Attacking a to-do-list is a walk in a park for me. But as I’m trying to carve out my little piece of success in this universe I have come to question the benefits of my ‘doer’ attitude. I’ve noticed that I’m in my comfort zone when I’m getting things done thus I easily default into simply doing instead of thinking what I’m doing.

I’ve read every productivity guide and article there is, I know the best time to wake up in the morning ( 6 am ) and the ideal time to drink my coffee (between 9.30 am – 11.30 am), and can access list of the best productivity apps to kick start my productivity. Sadly none of this matters if I’m doing the wrong things.

It’s so much easier to be busy than to make a difference.

Therefore I’ve started to slow down. I’m eager to discover the smallest actions that will bring the greatest leverage and the biggest success.

What has changed?

I’ve started to question if I’m doing the right things.

I run two companies, one of which is a start-up and I’m also building this women’s network, DrivenWoman. I’ve got a family and 5 year old twin boys. It’s very easy to get lured into simply doing things as there certainly is no lack of things to do!

Lately I’ve started to resist the temptation of being busy.

Firstly, I didn’t get myself into this situation to stress myself out. I simply want to put my skills and talent into good use, do work that matters and make some money in the process. So I decided to stop being busy. (You can read my New Year’s concepts here.)

Note, it’s a decision. A decision to change your mindset, that’s all you need to stop being busy.

Instead of just picking up the tasks at hand (=the doing) I’m making time to do more thinking. What I have noticed, however, is it’s a good idea to separate the two for maximum productivity. Here’s how.

1) Think, Don’t Do

Create time for creativity and strategic thinking. This applies for your work and for your life. Make sure you stop, take a break and write down what you want out of life or your business or career and what is truly important. This creates clarity and helps to focus on the important stuff.

Don’t be disrupted at your thinking time. When you respect yourself and value what you are about, you will learn to value your time. And ‘thinking time’ is the most valuable time of all. So make sure you don’t let anyone or anything disrupt you. Put away the phone, don’t check emails or social media and don’t try to do any other tasks at the same time. Simply focus on thinking what matters, what is the big question that has to be solved next and write it down.

The aim is to only do the things that create value in your life or business, so don’t start writing a long to-do-list.

On Monday morning I give my week a theme and pick one or two topics or tasks per day I want to accomplish. These are ideally life/business changing things. Example; a to-do-list filler could be ‘Send out press releases to PR list’ instead I’ve decided to find top three journalists that are most likely to be interested in what I’m doing with Mink&Stone and find out what their angle is. A much more painful and time consuming process but if it works it should give the business a real boost.

I can’t do everything so I allow myself to drop everything non-critical.  Sure, there are some things such as paying bills you can’t ignore, but you get my point.

The problem is that it’s so much easier to do stuff, the shallow, fluffy tasks, than focus on things that really matter.

Why? Because the deep stuff is normally outside of our comfort zone.

I try to challenge myself to evaluate this weekly if not daily. I know what has to be done, but it’s often hard as it’s something I haven’t done before so I don’t know where to start. The more I do my ‘thinking time’ to more convinced I become of the importance of those things outside of my comfort zone and I’m able to identify ways to get started. And slowly I start moving to the right direction. But this happens only because I stop, think and don’t do.

A key rule for ‘thinking time’ is that you don’t do anything. No emails, no discussion, no nothing. Separate the time for thinking and doing. Get prepared. Line up resources, materials or people. And then make sure that you are well prepared when it’s time to do things.

2) Do, Don’t Think

I’ve discovered that when it’s time to get things done I must be so prepared that I can eliminate almost all thinking and simply focus on doing. Kirsten Gillibrand says the most important thing is to ‘know what needs to be done‘.

If you do your thinking time properly you will know what has to be done. And when it’s time to do it, simply start. Don’t think, just do. Don’t start questioning your thinking at this point. Procrastination and self-doubt are the worst ‘time robbers‘! Worry and anxiety can take up a lot of mental capacity and thus reduce productivity (Here’s a post I wrote earlier on this.).

The more relaxed and in balance I am, the closer I’m to my core purpose, the real me; and the less I worry about the outcome and stuff simply ‘flows’. When self-doubt is eliminated from the process I can pump out the stuff like a little bunny rabbit!

If you have to constantly question what you are doing it’s a good idea to go back to the purpose of your work and if it’s going to make a difference (Go back to step 1: Think, Don’t Do).

So simply just do. Focusing on the work at hand is liberating and meditating. When you simply do and stop thinking or over-analysing you can find stillness, balance and even happiness. If you have to dig, then dig. If you have to build, then build. Simple. There’s time to think afterwards. You can evaluate the quality of your work and see how you can improve. But that’s on the thinking time.

Separating ‘thinking time’ and ‘doing time’ is the single biggest improvement I’ve done to my productivity.

I used to think being more productive was about filling every little nugget of time with a productive activity. I remember some evenings when I was tweeting seconds before I went to bed! That was madness. I got myself stressed out and didn’t have very good ideas.

Your ideas are your greatest resource! If you have bad ideas it doesn’t matter how hard you work. Having good ideas and executing them half decently matters. Now that I’ve started valuing my happiness and being present in my work, I’ve started allowing myself to take time out and guess what, I have better ideas. (Well, it remains to be seen how good my ideas actually really are…eh.)

Try it out this week. Assign 1 hour (or 30 minutes if you feel you really are too busy) for thinking. Go sit on a bench. Don’t bring your phone (you can check your social media stats later!) just your note book and a pen. See what happens. And please report back here. I’d love to hear your comments!

~ Miisa

 

What I Learned From ‘The Daring Way’ Workshop

Posted on February 1, 2015

arena

This is a guest post from a DrivenWoman member Manisha Patel. She recently took part in our workshop and captures here what she learned about vulnerability.

It was a Saturday morning and I was up and out early, battling the cold weather and network rail engineering works. I should have been on a city break in Berlin. Why wasn’t I in Berlin having fun? I had made a last minute decision to book on to ‘The Daring Way’ workshop, an all day event held by DrivenWoman at their Soho HQ.

‘The Daring Way’ is a training programme designed by Dr Brene Brown.  Until now, I had never heard of Dr Brown.  I decided to look up her TED talk on vulnerability, to my amazement it had been viewed over 18 million times.  Her talks were in the top 10 of most viewed TED talks.  I was intrigued.  Watching Dr Brown, I was immediately drawn in, her Texan straight talking came across as honest and genuine.  But it wasn’t all just talk, Dr Brown has spent years conducting qualitative research, she has written three books on her findings and theories.

The workshop was led and facilitated by Roxanne Hobbs.  Roxanne is a certified life coach, she shared her own experience of leaving a successful marketing career to do something she loves.  Her own ‘Daring Way’ training involved leaving her young family and spending an intensive week in Texas with Dr Brown and her colleagues.

It was going to be a full day, Roxanne advised that we were going to have to dig deep to really get the most out of this day. Her style was very warm and open encouraging a safe and trusting environment.

Vulnerability and Shame

‘Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness’  – Dr Brene Brown

Our group consisted of six women who outwardly appeared successful, strong and confident.   Interestingly, all of us in the group had our own experiences of shame.  Our internal dialogues that continuously tell us ‘we’re not good enough’, we’re not smart, thin, popular … enough. Many of us, including myself, listen to this internal dialogue on a daily basis.  Dr Brown refers to this as ‘scarcity’ because ‘we’re never enough’.

We shared our experiences of social and cultural conditioning, having to always portray how strong and independent we were.

Vulnerability isn’t commonly seen as strong, or courageous in our society, but yet for us to feel a connection, we look for vulnerability in others.

Dr Brown’s research found that successful, happy people were also vulnerable but they knew how to deal with their internal dialogue, not to feel shame but to apply courage by knowing when and with whom to share their vulnerabilities.  These people were happy to say they’re not perfect. They had a strong sense of self-worth.

The Arena

So, how were we going to deal with our shame and vulnerability?

Dr Brown had developed the ‘Arena’ concept based on ‘The Man in the Arena’ speech by Theodore Roosevelt.

In order to set the Arena we had to get creative.  Roxanne asked us to draw our ‘Arena’s’ on large flipchart paper.  They were to resemble the outline of an ancient amphitheatre.

Where did we want to show up and be seen in 2015?  The answer to the question was to be our centre stage. Roxanne guided us towards setting a specific stage.  For me, 2015 was going to have to be about my body image and self-confidence.  With Roxanne’s guidance I was able to set a more specific stage around health and fitness.  Other group members had set their stages based on career, relationship and self-development goals.

Planning who was sitting in your arena was an eye-opening task.

Who was going to sit in the cheap seats?   Who criticises you?  Who makes you feel you’re not good enough?

For all of us it was clear that we had to sit in the cheap seat along with the other naysayers.   We were our own biggest critics!

The Box Seats – Who are the people who built your Arena?  In my case, it was the critical ex-boyfriends, PE teachers, extended family, The Media, and Me – all fuelling my shame.

The Arena Door

What keeps us from entering the Arena?   What are the messages we say to ourselves to stop us entering?  And what steps do we take to ‘armour up’ when we do show up?  My armour is my make-up, nice clothes and shoes and taking great interest in others.

 Self-Compassion

The second half of the day was focused on how we overcome the ‘shame’ in order to ‘show up and be seen’.  ‘Compassion can be a greater motivator to change than criticism’.  Filling our Arena’s with self-compassionate statements felt quite strange, it’s not something most of us ever do.

Why is being nice to yourself so unfamiliar?

Women are generally so kind and empathetic to friends, family and colleagues when they put themselves down but why don’t we apply this to ourselves? We had to learn to counteract the ‘never enough’ with ‘you are enough’, ‘you are beautiful’, ‘you are extraordinary’, ‘you can get that job’, ‘you can meet a great guy’.

Wholehearted Living

The day ended with us learning about how we could live ‘wholeheartedly’.  Dr Brown has developed her 10 Guideposts for Wholehearted living.   These are focused on concepts such as authenticity, self-compassion, creativity, gratitude and joy.

In pairs, we worked through the guideposts, applied our new knowledge and set ourselves six measurable tasks to commit to, in order for us to ‘show up and be seen’ in 2015.

For one of my tasks, I will be restarting my daily gratitude app and including one self-compassionate statement.

The Daring Way workshop was a thought-provoking, sometimes scary, emotional, but more than anything potentially life changing.  Roxanne’s guidance and facilitation was supportive as well as positively challenging.

As much as I would have loved to have gone to Berlin with my friends, I have no regrets about starting 2015 the Daring Way.

~ Manisha

 

The Wardrobe Secrets Of A DrivenWoman

Posted on January 25, 2015

minimalist closet

Do you sometimes feel you know exactly what has to be done but lack the initiative to finalise a project and take the necessary steps? You can pinpoint the little improvements to your lifestyle what would make a big difference but there’s already enough things on your to-do list.

The great thing about being a part of a community is that you get introduced to ideas that will prompt you to improve your thinking and get stuff done in a new way. For instance, let’s take a popular January topic, clearing out your closet. I started clearing out my closets some time ago but haven’t been able to completely finish the project. I simply have too much to do all the time, right?

Then yesterday one of our members shared a wonderful TED talk ‘The Ten Item Wardrobe‘ by Jennifer L. Scott. Watching this talk suddenly put fire under my backside and completing the wardrobe project became a priority.

That’s the power of a community. So today, here I was, completing the task long over due.

Whilst I was being brutally honest with the items I actually use and the items that have not seen the light of day for many years I remembered something image consultant Joanna Gaudoin from InsideOut said: “Do you own lots of clothes and accessories but they aren’t right for who you are now?

That’s exactly how I felt. After having my twin boys, oh – over 5 years ago – I’ve done a number of wardrobe clear outs, but still seemed to be holding onto items from the golden pre-child era. Why? My inside talk goes something like this… “But this was my favourite piece, I used it so much – back then. Surely I’ll still wear it at some point. It’s too expensive to throw out… I love that colour…

Does it sound familiar?

We express ourselves through what we wear. Therefore holding onto garments means holding on to the old expression of me. Why should I become the person I used to be? I’m becoming the person I’m meant to become and everything I love will take a new shape and form.

Giving up the old makes immediately room for the new.

It’s surprising how holding on to old clothes or other possessions can hold you back in the past.

If you have a need for a bigger household overhaul, get inspired and take the 30DayGetChuckedChallenge. The Telegraph’s Victoria Lambert chucked 465 items in 30 days. (Again, I can thank one of our members for sharing this article!)

Five reasons why you should make time for a lifestyle clear out, now.

1) Make clearing out your wardrobe (or the house/ office) a priority

There’s always a million and one other things that on the surface seem more urgent, but it’s important to make the foundation strong. And it’s time to start respecting your living environment, your lifestyle and you.

2) Your clothes should serve the person you are today

We express our personality, our values and who we are through our clothing, haircut and the whole package, it’s how we show up to our life. It’s important to let go of objects that no longer serve the person you are today, and stop thinking of the person who you were yesterday.

3) Be selective what you invite into your life

If you listened Jennifer L. Scott’s talk you are by now convinced you don’t need a lot of stuff and a big wardrobe. What you need is good quality. Choose items that make you feel great, increase your confidence and express self-love. Select clothing like you select people, only invite the best and the most positive into your life.

4) Less is more productive

I’ve talked about this before,  a well organised wardrobe improves productivity. It sounds like a cliche, but it’s true. You can cut down the time you need getting ready in the morning, knowing everything in your closet works, fits and looks great. And forget the days when the whole day is near ruined due to feeling uncomfortable in what you are wearing.

5) Show daily self-love

Looking good, showing who you are through what you wear, investing in a manicure or a nice hair colour, scented candles or a bunch of fresh flowers weekly is not vanity, a necessity. It’s about expressing self-love. Pay attention to this, even if you work from home. It’s about showing up to your life and enjoying your own company, not about impressing others.

Have a great week!

~ Miisa