It was a beautiful sunny morning as I stood on the edge of Lake Taupo, in the township of Kinloch, ready to start my National Sprint Triathlon championship.
I’d spent three months preparing for this event – but in reality, this was just one of many events that will be part of my lifelong love with this sport.
That’s because triathlons are a way of life, and one of the fastest growing sports in the world, particularly for women who are leading the charge in taking to it, like ducks to water….and cycling and running.
Yet, this event was the one I picked out to train for back in October 2018, as a point towards which I could focus my efforts and gear up to as something that was achievable in that time frame.
Oh how wrong I was. Yes I did compete and complete my sprint triathlon and hit two out of my three goal times, but I also had my ass handed to me by a younger, fitter and far more experienced field of triathletes.
They inspired me with their skill and speed, and their years of commitment to becoming so good at a multi-disciplined sport.
From young to old – yes 80+, these people were all there because the sport of triathlon is such a challenging, yet rewarding one, that it becomes addictive.
It also is the perfect example of a way to push your personal limits, to go to your edges, and to tap into potential you may not have even known you have!
In this podcast you’ll learn:
Why triathlons are experiencing phenomenal growth
Why everyday people spend so many hours training for them
How my Sprint Triathlon race actually went at Kinloch
What I wish I had done better
Why comparison IS the thief of joy and how I let it effect me
The psychological factor of competing against yourself vs others
I’m both excited and nervous for this sprint triathlon.
It seems insane to think for the last three months, I’ve been consistently training 5-6 days a week, doing what my awesome coach Nathan Martin tells me to do.
All that training for a sprint race, that should be done in less than 1 hr 45mins (if I’m on pace)!
A Sprint Triathlon is made up of a:
20km bike (with hills)
And ONLY in the last 3-4 weeks have I noticed the compound effect of all that triathlon training.
What I know to be true is that consistency and daily habits lead to micro improvements that turn into bigger improvements as you get better and adapt.
Along the way I’ve done multiple events I’ve like the Splash n Dash or Super Sprint tri or the Wellington Classic Ocean swim.
During several of those I was on a high one moment, wanting to quit the next and then wondering why the heck I was attempting to be a triathlete the next!
The very first Splash n Dash was painful and made me wonder what on earth I was taking on.
The most recent one I competed in, while tough, was my best performance. It brought out this inner strength that I was waiting to emerge, and a sense of competitiveness to do and be better that I felt was hiding up until that point.
Then this weekend gone, I smashed my training doing the 3 disciplines at race distance and pace and got a bunch of personal bests!
The point of this story is to encourage you to NEVER give up.
Rewards and results come through showing up and doing the work. Always.
There’s TONNES more I can and want to do to get better but for now I’m proud of where I’ve got to.
I’m in this for the journey, to find my next finish line and the next.
In this podcast I share
1. How my training has progressively stacked to build a better, faster, stronger me and how you can apply that in life
2. The power of mind over matter to get you through the tough times
3. The 3 key things I’ve layered into this journey that have led to my success so far
As we near the end of January 2019, I want you to ask yourself how those New Year goals and resolutions are going?
If you’re like 92% of people, you won’t have stuck to your resolutions, because you likely set vague ones or had unrealistic expectations like:
“I’m going to become a celebrity game show host” or “I’m going to break a world record in gumboot throwing”.
Champagne can do that to the best of us…
There’s another factor here, that has likely led to you not succeeding…yet, which is that you probably didn’t have a plan to make your lofty goals or resolutions a reality.
That’s where you need intentions to go along with your goals, to ensure you will actually succeed.
What’s the difference between goals and intentions?
Goals are focused on the future. They’re about a destination or a specific achievement. For example I am aiming to compete in the Kinloch Sprint Triathlon on February 10th.
I’ve been training towards this for almost three months now, up to six days a week, so I damn well hope I hit my goal time on the day.
My big hairy audacious goal is to qualify to represent New Zealand at the World Champs in September this year. Eeek!
Intentions are in the present moment. Intentions are lived each day, independent of reaching the goal or destination. They are about the inner relationship with yourself.
What I know to be true, is that the journey of getting my level of fitness up to speed (pun intended) to be able to compete in this event, has been the really rewarding part.
Everyday, I’ve turned up with intention to make a micro improvement in my run, bike or swim. No matter how tired I feel or what my last result was.
The actual event, although it matters, is not going to replace all the hard work, commitment and dedication that I’ve put in to my training since October.
The real intention is to get into peak health, and maintain that for the rest of my life!
Why Goal Setting Sucks On Its Own
I’ve always been an avid goal-setter. For most of my formative years, I used my competitive nature and Upholder tendencies of always doing what I say I will, to achieve my goals.
And I did achieve a LOT of them over the years. I was determined to.
The thing is, once I’d achieved a big milestone, I was often left feeling pretty empty.
What I’ve noticed over the years, as I got older and thankfully wiser, is that I was putting all my eggs into one basket, and setting myself up for a let down, rather than focusing on the journey of continual improvement.
And I know I’m not alone. I’m 99% certain you’ve experienced this in life too.
But, if all we focus on is working long and hard to reach this one monumental goal, when you finally hit it, all those links you’ve created between yourself and your sense of worth disappear.
So now you can’t define yourself the way you did. And you have all this time on your hands that you don’t know how to fill.
I felt like this after I won my Regional Body Sculpting Championship – something I dedicated myself to for 9 arduous months, I felt a severe lack of identity.
I had a bright shiny trophy, some bling and a tub of protein powder, but my quest to be the best had now passed, and I didn’t know what to do next!
She notes that added to that is “neuroscience kicking you in the face while you’re down.”
In short, your brain releases dopamine, a hormone associated with both motivation and happiness, in anticipation of reward.
That’s what keeps you working towards your goals, especially where each milestone you set towards achieving it gets hit, it gives you more reason to keep going, and a biological position to feel good.
The problem is, when you reach your goal, that release of dopamine drops and it’s harder for you biochemically to have joy.
The other reason goal-setting leaves you disappointed is that it moves you towards what you think you want, and takes you out of enjoying the present moment.
So instead of being grateful for the here and now, you’re left feeling like what you currently have isn’t enough, and you must strive harder to get the ‘next big thing’.
Which leads to you being stuck in an endless cycle of goal setting to fill the void.
Living your intentions, on the other hand, is much different than having a goal-oriented focus.
That’s because it allows you to focus on how you want to be in the moment, how you want to feel right now, and everyday.
It’s not about winning or losing, hitting or missing, it’s about tuning in to your moment to moment focus.
This means you live life by your values and what matters most to you.
And that’s a beautiful way to live, right?!
How to combine goal setting with daily intentions
The key thing to understand is that focusing on your intentions does not mean you give up your goals.
It actually means you’ve found a great partner to achieve your goals with.
I like to think of intention as your personal trainer. It gives you the daily rhythm, motivation and accountability you need to transform yourself.
By being intentional you’ll enjoy the journey as much as the destination, and therefore bring more joy to everything you’re doing.
Intentions really act as a reminder on how you want to show up in the world and live each day. They give you the purpose to show up to meet your goals!
That’s why my partner Josh and I baked in intentionality into our Life Pilot tool and methodology.
We’d both had enough life experience and exposure to all sorts of methods, strategies and frameworks, to know that goals are devoid of joy, unless they’re backed by daily intention.
That’s why when people join our Life Pilot Challenge, we ask them to set no more than 3 goals OR intentions – each day, week, month or quarter, based on their chosen life categories.
This takes some getting used to, but once you tune into it, it makes life planning way more enjoyable and ‘sticky’.
My real life example of intentions supporting goals
If you’d looked at my Weekly Tab in my Life Pilot spreadsheet last week, my ‘work’ category goal was to Finish first quarter of Content Editorial calendar.
I smashed that by Friday afternoon, because when I planned out my week in advance, I had set ‘working on my content calendar and brainstorming topics’ as one of my three ‘Daily’ actions on both Wednesday and Friday.
I didn’t just hope that by our Sunday Reflection time that it would have magically have happened. I had stated it in my daily actions and scheduled it into my calendar!
My intentions backed up and supported my goal.
Same with my triathlon training. Last week’s ‘health’ goal was to Plan / prepare and nail swim event.
When I turned up on Sunday morning to choppy ocean conditions at Oriental Bay in Wellington, I was tempted to not compete.
Thankfully, I’d set several daily intentions throughout the week to be fully present at my swim trainings.
As a result, I knew I was more than prepared for the event and just needed to stop being a wuss and get to the start line.
Once I stopped swallowing water from the barrage of waves, I actually enjoyed it!
How to apply intentions to your life goals
Let’s say you wanted to finally develop a meditation practice, so you go with:
Monthly intention for January – Deepen my meditation practice to improve my appreciation of life.
Your weekly goal might be: Commit to doing at least 4 guided meditations.
Your daily action then could be: Use Insights Timer App to do a guided meditation
Each morning you look at your journal, notebook, whiteboard (or your trusty Life Pilot spreadsheet) where you’ve recorded this, check your daily actions, then schedule in time to make them happen.
That night you check back and record whether you hit, progressed or missed your action.
Doing that alone, often reveals, after several days and weeks, trends and patterns of what you like to do and what you avoid.
That way you can break the pattern by getting an accountability partner, setting a different goal or figuring out whether your values are aligned with what you’re setting.
Like anything in life worth doing, you need to always remain curious as to why you do some things easily and put off others.
You need to ask better questions to make sure you are digging into these patterns, behaviours and habits, so you can continually be working on being your best self.
Now, what do you intend to do next?
Want to test out our Life Pilot tool and methodology for yourself? Join our next 10 Day Life Pilot Challenge starting February 1st. Details at lifepilot.co
I fund this podcast’s content, production and publishing. If you enjoy the podcast please become an UNTAPPED supporter!
This year, I want to help you to do something that you’ve been putting off for way too long, whether it’s a vlog, a blog post, writing a book chapter, launching a website, going on your first run, or going out on your first date.
If you want to show up and tap into your true potential, the key is to ask yourself better questions.
So I took the ten questions and answered them for myself, and I’d love you to do the same because they are juicy, and they WILL help you unlock your potential:
1. If I could write a letter to the 2009 version of myself what would it say?
Grab a piece of paper or a journal and write a letter with advice to the version of yourself that is 10 years younger than you now. What would you tell yourself ten years ago that’s going to help you through this period?
What I like about this is the author actually is pretty funny. In his version he was still a teenager. So he’s like “when you go to have your first tequila, don’t have any more. Just trust me on that.”
For me, ten years ago I would have been 31. Almost.
I was in Vancouver and this was the year that I was in my first ever startup, a tech startup called Connection Point Systems and launched FundRazr. We were about probably only three to four months in, and I was diving deep into the world of entrepreneurship for the first time.
That was a pretty formative year for me!
I learned how to be an entrepreneur. I learned how to raise finances. I was playing Ultimate Frisbee and skiing in Vancouver, Canada. I was learning a lot about this new country and the city I was in.
I was also starting to blog. I had a blog and I was starting to blog more consistently and it was around the end of that year that I started realizing I think I wanted to just turn this blog into my business …but that’s a story for another day.
So what would I tell ten year younger self?
I would tell myself to not drink so much coffee, to not stop playing Ultimate Frisbee… even though you’re working like crazy because you’re in the startup and you’re hustling.
I would say it’s good to hustle but life is short and you can’t spend all of it working. I think it would have given me more perspective if I’d had that advice back then.
Everything else was going pretty well that year probably that I should always believe in myself and then I have more skills, experience and knowledge than I realize and then I should put it into action.
That I should trust in myself. That I should be using the fact that I’m a female founder in a tech company to my advantage.
To not be intimidated by the lack of women in this area and to really use it to stand out and to make the most of it.
I probably will give myself some romance advice. So I will say, you will find some awesome men who are ready to man up, be a great friend and potentially an awesome partner.
Don’t be put off by the Pacific Coast attitude of being too chillax for their own good and just focus on enjoying yourself, going on dates with hot men and just being in the moment.
The rest of the year was pretty damn good.
I think it would just probably be to go easier on myself and not take life too seriously, to not work so hard and have more play.
I would love in the comments, if you wouldn’t mind just sharing a little bit of that letter to yourself.
2. If I could only accomplish one thing before I die, what would that be?
Think of one thing you want to achieve, accomplish or experience more than anything else.
The reason for asking that question is that once you figure that out, you will pursue that with every ounce of hustle you’ve got because life is just too precious for regret.
I’m pretty thankful that I’ve accomplished a lot of things that I really wanted to do in my life.
I’ve done a lot of travel, written two books. I’ve created a six figure business from scratch which has been pretty epic.
And now I’ve had the chance to be a puppy parent which I take pretty seriously and freakin’ love – the best role in the world.
Also, I have the opportunity right now to be a triathlete and to really continue on that journey so that I can represent my country in the future or just become the best version of myself.
There’s a lot that I feel I’ve done over the years – crazy challenges, body sculpting, dragon boating, world record breaking, gold medals and Frisbee. It’s been epic.
I would love to be a prolific author whose book has sold a million copies and touched the lives of half a million plus people. Even if that’s a 10 year journey.
I’d like to write a book that has massive lasting presence, because I’ve been touched by so many books and I just think there’s kind of no greater honour than writing something that resonates with so many people and makes a difference in their lives.
I’m listening to a great audio book right now, The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape. It has sold a million copies to date, but it’s also been out since 2004!
You can tell by the feedback that he includes in his book and the case studies of people he’s helped, that he’s genuinely changing lives and making everyday people more financially astute.
Books change lives and when they are written in such a way that they just spread and everybody talks about them, that’s a beautiful thing.
There is something really special about that because I think it means you’ve really mastered the craft of fantastic writing, empathy, compassion and also covering a topic that so many people are challenged by and need help with.
That would be one thing I’d love to do before I die.
I’d also love to achieve a world record in something. That sounds so vague doesn’t it?
So what is it for you? What is one thing you want to accomplish before you die? What would that one thing be?
3. What are the top three things that make me feel happy and fulfilled?
#1. I am absolutely at my happiest when I’m out in nature.
I could spend all my time wandering around our garden, spotting new flowers and buds on trees, listening to the birds, looking at the grass and off into the distant hills.
I mean nature just brings me so much joy and it’s free!
It’s worth protecting, it’s worth nurturing and growing and I really love here where we’re at our house and in New Zealand.
We’re planting trees because we’re stewarding this land for the next generation of people who come to live here and they’ll do the same for their families and their children.
#2. Another thing that makes me feel happy and fulfilled is hands down animals. My dogs just light me up. I’m so surprised at how much joy they bring me.
Giggles, laughter, love, cuddles, surprises, learning, patience and so much awareness around how they live their life, how they view the world, how everything is fun, adventure and exciting.
Animals in general make me appreciate them and what they bring to this world.
#3. Being in the company of fantastic friends and awesome people who just give me a fresh perspective on life, who challenge me, who make me laugh, who hold space for me, who make me appreciate and understand different perspectives and who just get me.
Those are my top three things that make me feel happy and fulfilled.
Once you’ve figured out your top three things, then you really should be building and scheduling around them for a happier existence.
4. What are the top three things that distract me from enjoying my life?
#1. My own inner thoughts, especially on days when they’re negative and I find myself getting down on myself, or in a headspace that doesn’t serve me.
On the whole, I’m an incredibly optimistic person but I have noticed that my attitude, thoughts and beliefs have got the better of me a lot more in the past year than I thought.
Thanks to 20 days in a row of meditation and yoga right now, I can already feel me becoming the master of my own ship (mindset) and getting control back.
#2. Getting caught up in the mundane details of things that are not important – getting stuck in to dos and things that are simply not a priority.
I noticed that even just last week, I put off doing some really important pieces of work because life admin got in the way and I put a whole lot of other things in front of me that were not my core needs.
I was the one who let them take me away from doing the really important work and also experiencing more joy in my life.
Some of them are necessary. Some of them though, I prioritized because I felt I needed to be responsible for them.
Such as looking after our WWOOFers, making sure our dogs were happy all day long, organizing events and activities, rather than actually getting onto the things that I had put into my weekly Life Pilot plan.
#3. Negative people or getting caught up in other people’s stuff.
When it comes to closer friends and family, I’ve been noticing recently that I care more than I’d like to about some of the stuff going on in their life.
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to care about people you love and value! But you don’t need to own their crap. You don’t need to get caught up in some of the stories they’re telling themselves.
You get to be there for them. You get to support them but you don’t need to take that on.
So those are the three things. I’m curious to know what yours are?
5. Am I in control of my thoughts or am I at the mercy of them?
On the whole, I do believe that I do a really good job of being super grateful every day. I am incredibly present in the moment. I’m always looking at things that light me up.
I get so much joy and pleasure and happiness from the simple things in life. I appreciate them. I talk about them. I thank them. I’m grateful for them.
And then every so often my goddamn mind goes to something that’s just so unhelpful. And it’s usually a belief or a thought or an idea that is not true and is not serving me.
And it’s typically around not being enough, or having these ridiculously high expectations that I’ve had all my life, and thinking that I’m not meeting them.
I was looking back over some notes from my first ever coach I hired, when I was in Vancouver, and he wrote that I was too hard on myself …and he’s so right.
What’s the verdict for you? Are you in control of your thoughts or are you at the mercy of them?
I’d say it’s probably a combo and we want it to really be that YOU are controlling your outlook on life.
6. Am I in control of my eating decisions or am I at the mercy of them?
Now the reason for this question is that your thoughts influence your perception of reality yet your eating decisions influence your mood and energy levels.
Happy, healthy people consciously choose to eat foods that make them feel alert, focused and energetic.
We all know when we’re unhappy and maybe unhealthy, we unconsciously allow our mood and social surroundings to dictate our eating decisions.
I’ve been keeping a food diary for about two weeks and I’m going to continue to do it because it makes me conscious of what I’m putting in my body, and keeps me honest.
I showed it to a nutritionist who I hired the other day, to specifically help me with my training and fueling my body for my upcoming triathlons, mainly because I hit a bit of a wall this week.
Turns out that I’m eating all the right things, being really healthy, but I’m not eating enough and I’m not eating at the right times before a workout and post workout.
She was like “I’m not changing anything in your eating habits, I’m just getting you to get your timing better.”
The fitter I get and the more training I do, the leaner I get, and the more energy I typically have.
The more I can handle the training load, the more focused I am, the more vibrant I am, the more disciplined I am around my work as well as my personal life.
It just had a massive positive knock-on effect to every area of my life.
When it comes to eating and fuelling your body and viewing your body as a vessel, are you on the good side of it or are you on the not so good side of that?
Be honest with yourself. Do you need to improve your relationship with food and love yourself more?
7. What strengths did I use to achieve three major goals in my life?
Think about three of the biggest achievements of your life.
That could be when you graduated from college. It might have been when you got a really big pay raise at work.
It might have been when you started your business and you never thought you would. It might have been publishing a book.
It could have been winning a competition. It might have been marrying or being in the relationship that you’re in. Getting your first house.
Think about all the major goals.
Then think about what are the personal strengths you use to achieve those things?
Do you see any trends there? Typically if you do, that’s the road that leads to success and it’s right in front of you.
For me, buying my first house at age 21 was a pretty damn big deal. I’d always been really keen on real estate.
I’d watch my parents do a very good job of buying these houses, doing them up, selling them, taking that investment, putting it into another and doing better each time.
They built up capital that way and secured some financial stability for the family.
I also just was fascinated by property portfolios and real estate and how they were such great investment if you bought right.
Another big major goal in my life would be starting my business in 2010.
I used my strengths, I backed myself, I believed in myself. I took a chance. I’m really good at taking big leaps and taking chances.
I thought screw it, what’s the worst that could happen? I could always go back to a job.
I made things happen and I took action every day. When I had fears and doubts and I just kept hustling and kept experimenting and kept staying passionate and curious.
Those were some of the strengths that served me there.
Again just major belief in finally having a story and a message to share. A real desire to get that book out there and to go through the journey of writing it, publishing it, marketing it and making a difference in people’s lives.
I think the discipline, combined with the motivation, and the pure desire to make a difference – made it a reality.
So those are my three major goals and strengths that come with it.
I would love to know what your three major goals are in life that you’re really proud of and also some of the strengths that used to achieve those?
8. How can I use those strengths more often?
Which of those strengths are lying dormant right now, which of those you are under utilizing, which are those of you’d like forgotten that you had?
Was there anything you can think back to when you’re a teenager or even younger that you are really not utilizing, that you’re really good at but you’re not tapping into.
Now is time for you to tap back into that potential!
I would say a couple of things for me right now probably are:
Speaking is a strength that I do think that it is something that really brings me to life and I can do a really good job of and touch a lot of people’s lives in.
Another strength that I’m tapping into more now is coaching. I’ve been slowly focusing on getting clients again, bringing that in back as an arm that supports this business of content creation in my business.
I am also really enjoying diving deeper, learning more and adding more strings to the coaching bow which I think is always a great thing to do.
But I look forward to exercising those muscles even more and stretching myself more so that I can stretch my clients more.
9. How do I want people to remember me?
So rather like question one, which was what advice you would give to your younger self, in this instance, my question to you is – how do you want to be remembered?
You’ve probably seen examples or read articles where people have suggested that you write almost your own eulogy for your funeral of how people would remember you.
In many ways it’s a chance for you to step up and claim who you want to be – right now.
For me, I want to be remembered for being passionate. For being kind. For being motivating. For being inspiring. For being a little bit crazy. For being adventurous and for being a lifelong learner. For somebody who loved deeply, who gave her all and who generally tried to leave the world a better place.
In my eulogy, that’s how I’d want people to remember me. And also that I love to freakin’ dance and sing and that everything should be celebrated with champagne!
10. Why do I exist?
So now that you’ve done quite a lot of thinking and answering all these other questions hopefully this will come to light a little bit more.
If you could write your own biography, what would it actually say about you? If you could write your entire life as the author of your own book, what would it say?
For example, are you a humanitarian? Did you win a Nobel Peace Prize? Did you invent something crazy? Or did you just live a really good humble, purposeful life?
You gave, you contributed, you educated, you learned, you maybe raised some amazing kids.
You lived a quiet yet peaceful, environmentally, friendly low carbon footprint and you always listened to people and saw their side of the story.
That would also be an absolutely beautiful reason as to why you exist. So I would love you to answer that question.
I think for me, I really believe I exist to be a shining example to others of living a very good fulfilling and purposeful life.
One where freedom, adventure and being present in every single moment trump everything else and that any work that you do do is rewarding and purposeful and helps people immensely.
So those are the 10 questions that you can ask yourself to unlock your potential. What did you learn about yourself? Share it below!
Sigrun Gudjonsdottir is one heck of a woman. She’s the type of woman who turned down the role as CEO of Nissan Sweden, to follow love to Switzerland.
Once there, after a lot of soul searching, she figured out how to leverage 10 years of Corporate CEO experience for several major companies, an MBA in Entrepreneurship, and a whole lot of passion, into an incredible online business mentoring women.
In no less than four years, with absolute transparency, she built her business up from five figures in her first year, by offering 1-1 coaching.
Less than four years later, she scaled her business model to hit seven figures in revenue with group masterminds, retreats and her signature (and legendary) program SOMBA.
She knew there needed to be a better training out there for women entrepreneurs, so she created it and boldly named it Sigrun’s Online MBA.
What’s more, this Icelandic powerhouse gets amazing results for her clients through her laser sharp coaching instincts, straight up advice and genuine love for seeing women entrepreneurs succeed.
In This Episode of UNTAPPED:
Learn why Sigrun’s Icelandic heritage gives her an advantage
How Sigrun has turned being a feminist from a young age into a force for good
Why one event with Tony Robbins changed her life
How she’s turned her favourite colour into a ‘flag’ her clients fly with pride
The lessons she learned as a successful CEO in other peoples’ businesses
Why a growth mindset has been so important to her continuing success
How she started growing her online business and then changed the model to scale it
The grand vision she’s prepared to take a big risk on in 2020
My biggest passion in life has been pursuing my potential, and also seeing potential in others and helping them to recognize it for themselves and do something about it!
Little did I know there is a whole movement dedicated to Human Potential, that sprung up the 1960s around the concept of cultivating extraordinary potential, which its advocates believe to lie largely untapped in all people.
I whole heartedly agree!
And hence why the idea for a podcast show called UNTAPPED leapt into my mind in late December and simply wouldn’t let me go until I did something about it.
I’m so curious about how to develop more potential, how do we live up to our potential and go beyond it.
What even IS potential? Are there different types of it? Who are the foremost experts in human potential, in personal development and what can you and I learn from them?
Then how can we apply this across all the areas of our lives that matter – relationships, health, wealth, career, personal growth, spirituality and contribution?
I figure I may not be able to become the best in the world, but I can become the best version of myself.
I feel like I’ve given this a great shot over the years, like in 2004 when I took myself on a 10 month journey to understand the weird world of body-sculpting and compete in my first, and only, competition.
Lots of weightlifting, learning, sacrifice and chicken and broccoli later, and there I was standing on stage, all bronzed in a tiny blue spangly bikini costume, holding a trophy for first place in the NZ Regional North Island Novice ‘Tall’ body-sculpting Championships.
Weeks later, less than 10% body fat and hungry as, I was on stage competing at nationals, doing a routine to ‘What a feeling’ from flashdance.
Or in 2007, when I trained with this fantastic group of women called the Sisterhood, and by 6am three time s a week, I was out to on the River Thames paddling with them…and for a few times Kate Middleton – well before she became royalty.
In July that year we smashed a World Record dragon boating across the English Channel to France.
Months later, I was in Brazil playing World Championship Beach Ultimate Frisbee with the Great Britain Women’s team…and somewhere in amongst all the training for that, hot sand under our feet, dancing, caipirinhas and too much sunshine, we won a gold medal!
To 2012 when I decided that cycling 6,500km down the continent of Africa, from Nairobi, Kenya to Capetown, South Africa, was just something that sounded like fun and a great challenge.
Incidents with hyenas in our camp, sightings of elephants running away from us, majestic giraffes on safari, 160km + days of cycling and a new nickname of Flatalie, for the most flat tyres in a given period…later – and that was the experience of a lifetime.
And several more adventures and proud achievements in between, and it’s time for the next evolution.
To untap my potential, to live up to my own high expectations…and go beyond.
And to frankly explore a new level of being and living that stretches me to moments of pure joy, lots of discomfort and a whole lot of fun.
Want to explore human potential with me?
I regularly take on tasks that cause me to grow and stretch. I like being in over my head because it keeps me sharp and pushes me to give my full effort.
But I fear, somewhere in the depths of 2018, I lost sight of that. I wasn’t learning enough, I wasn’t applying new things, I was instead, in some sort of unhelpful holding pattern, waiting for the airport control tower to give me the all clear to take off.
I might even be so bold as to say, I was doing what Seth Godin told me I should never do…waiting for permission to be chosen, instead of choosing myself.
So, I thought to myself, enough is enough. It’s a new year and I’ve got a fresh new perspective, while at the same time being back to my normal self – which is a self I typically quite like!
Here are a few key ways I’m going to live up to and even beyond my potential throughout the course of my life, this podcast, my vlog and as I live write a book on this very topic, that I hope you can apply to.
#1. Focus on today.
Not tomorrow, not yesterday. But right now. It doesn’t matter whether yesterday was good or bad. It’s over. So don’t get stuck there.
And don’t focus on the future too – sure you can think about your big goals and dreams, but more important is what one action can you take today that will make a difference in the future.
Because you can influence what happens right now so give the present day your full attention – for want of sounding cliche, it’s called the present because it’s a gift.
#2. Focus on my priorities.
If I want to continue to untap my potential, I need to focus on my priorities and I can do this by protecting my time and my calendar.
You and I both know that it’s all too easy to have your day dictated to you by someone else’s agenda, requests (some may say demands) or priorities.
No more putting yourself second to others. If we want to be our best selves, in order to impact and help more people, we need to prioritize ourselves first.
Be selective about what you do because you can’t do it all. We all have the same amount of time in the day, it’s not lack of time that’s the problem here, it’s lack of direction and focus.
Choose your priorities and use your precious time to accomplish them.
#3. Focus on my strengths.
I know what I’m really good at. I know what I’m mediocre at. And I know what stuff really doesn’t light me up and feels like a drag.
I could focus on improving the latter two, but I’d prefer to focus on improving the stuff I’m already good at, especially things I’m naturally good at, because those are the areas where I have the potential to become great, or even the ‘best’, if I put in the effort, time and training.
In other words it’s a good use of my time to focus on my strengths.
#4. Focus on my results.
This one has been really apparent to me since I committed to training for triathlons in October 2018.
I’m doing my best not to focus on the professional athlete’s times and results, and just focus on whether my personal results are improving.
And even though I felt like I trained 5-6 days a week for two months for no real gains, it suddenly started showing up in my physique, in my strength and my performance.
It’s easy to become tired or frustrated when you feel you’re working hard, putting in the effort and not seeing the payoff.
But by sticking with it, measuring your progress and continuing to turn up and make small, consistent improvements, you will see the results and payoff.
Of course you need to know what you’re working toward – what result or outcome do you want, what’s the purpose behind it, and what are the processes you’re going to take to achieve it…more on that in future episodes.
By doing this you will stay focused on the big picture – visualizing where you are wanting to get to, without losing focus on the present – and what action you need to take today.
I’ve been doing a lot of what he’s been doing his whole life too, creating and testing different processes to make me more effective, then showing up and doing them consistently, until they become habits – things I do unconsciously, that really work.
As James states:
“The effects of small habits compound over time. For example, if you can get just 1 percent better each day, you’ll end up with results that are nearly 37 times better after one year.”
And this nugget:
“Habits are not the only thing that influence your success, but they are probably the most important factor that is within your control.”
Which leads me to….
#6. Focus on what I can control.
I realized late last year, when many things were turning to custard – predominantly in my business and therefore finances, that I’d been focusing too much on things that were out of my control.
You can’t set goals or intentions that aren’t directly within your control – you just can’t, and not be disappointed if things don’t come off.
So focus on what you can control, and set daily actions or weekly goals or monthly intentions to achieve those things that don’t have any external influence.
I have Life Pilot – our life planning tool, to thank for helping me do that way more effectively – every day, week, month, quarter and beyond.
For example I set a priority for how much time I dedicate to studying, painting or triathlon training and I schedule it in my calendar.
I can’t, however, control for the weather, for my a friend being late, or for their being a power outage and therefore no wi-fi.
So with these in mind, I bring you UNTAPPED. The podcast that will tap into how I can live up to my potential, and even go beyond it.
I’ll be doing the research and experimenting on myself, to bring you what works, what doesn’t and what just feels good, fun, silly or outrageous.
This basically means, that if I commit to a goal or if I say I’m going to do something for myself or for you, you can damn well be assured that I’m going to do it.
Which is typically fantastic but sometimes can cause problems, because I don’t let up on my own self!
So here goes.
#1. I will not sign up to any more newsletters or optins in 2019
I am really excited about this. In the last two months of 2018 I ruthlessly unsubscribed from hundreds of e-mails that I was getting, these included:
those I never read or I no longer wanted to read
those who I never remembered signing up
those spamming me with crap, who’d likely bought my email from someone
The result? I now get between 10 ten to 15 emails over the space of a couple of days in my personal inbox..
And in my business inbox, which is separate with it’s on gmail account, I still love using Sanebox which automatically filters newsletters into SaneNews, and other emails into SaneLater.
This means I only get the important emails in my inbox, from people I actually want to hear from and emails I want to action.
This makes a massive difference to my sanity.
#2. I will not check email everyday.
I am going to attempt to stick to only checking emails three days per week and I’ve decided on Monday Wednesday and Friday.
This one I think is going to be particularly challenging because we all have a tendency to use our inboxes to distract us and make us feel like we’re being really productive – when we’re not.
We use it as a form of procrastination, because when we process all emails and achieve inbox zero, which I do almost all the time, we feel like legends.
It makes you feel like you’ve achieved something, when really you’ve just given your time and attention away to other people’s problems or demands.
So three days a week is when I’m going to check email. I am most likely going to check it at 10am after my deep work sessions.
I have also put an autoresponder message on to let people know this and my response time, so they know what to expect and get trained to know when to get in touch with me.
Also my lovely virtual assistant Angeline, who is still with me after six years, goes into my business inbox each day to clear out anything that’s not important, or answer any customer emails.
Unlike people like Pat Flynn, I do not get thousands of emails in my inbox. I have really really streamlined it.
I think people know not to contact me unless it’s really necessary – thank you folks!
I’m really curious to see how much more efficient this new habit makes me and, whether in the hour or so that I’m allowing myself to go through my emails, whether I am actually more focused and doing a much better job of responding and actioning what matters?
Use the ‘Getting Things Done’ Method by David Allen.
If you can’t answer the email you’ve opened in five minutes or less, you:
Delete it (if it’s really not important and most of the time, let’s be honest, their not)
Delegate it (forward it to a team member to take care of, a colleague or the right person)
Defer it – use Sanebox to ping it back into your inbox at a more appropriate date, for example say it’s a task that’s not needed until a week from now. Or use the new Gmail ‘Snooze’ settings to pick the exact time and date you want that email back.
#3. I will not sign up for any webinars
Back when I started attending and hosting webinars in 2011, people used to offer up tons of valuable content and webinars were really entertaining and educational.
After sharing all that value, they would naturally have a call to action to join sign up or buy from them, which was totally legit, after teaching for 45 to 50 minutes of solid content.
Then, over the years, as more and more people jumped on the webinar bandwagon, the Internet marketers basically spammed you for an entire hour, and then pitched you for 50% of that hour to sell you their thing.
Typically the first 50% was usually taken up by them telling their story and putting up photos of them sitting in fancy cars and making lots of money.
As a result, I think people are much more weary of webinars, yet the work to actually put on a really high quality one is, well a lot!
So for those people who to still do great webinars, like Amy Porterfield who’s a great educator, then you know you’re going to get a high quality webinar.
Those folks deserve to be heard and you deserve to show up to them, if you’ve registered for it and give them your time and attention.
For myself, I don’t want to sign up for any webinar ever again. I’ve already reduced that a ton over the years.
Ultimately, what you’re seeing here is this trend towards being very very ruthless about where I do spend my time and who gets my attention.
#4. I will not buy any more online courses.
As a course creator, I do have a caveat here. Or perhaps a clearer definition of this new rule.
I will not buy any more online courses UNLESS, they are extremely relevant to what I want to learn or experience.
In other words, I’m not buying any courses for the sake of trying them out, or testing out that person’s sales funnel or software setup, or because I want to support them.
#5. I will not fall victim to the comparison game.
I will not. This one’s gonna be tough, as 2018 I fell into a hole of comparison and it was not pretty.
We all do this. The comparison game is just a really tough thing to move past, but all I’ve realized is how futile this is to do to yourself.
All it does is make you feel less worthy less awesome less skilled less experienced.
Most of the time you’re doing it because you’re looking at social media feeds that are completely unreal and don’t show the true picture of that person’s journey.
As Oscar Wilde wisely said,
Comparison is the thief of joy
And in 2019 I want lots of joy.
No thieves so no thievery and therefore I want to disrupt this pattern.
How I’m going to do this, is by actually reducing the amount of time that I am on social media which leads me to…..
#6. I will not spend more than 1 hour a day on social media.
A little like email, I am gonna be massively reducing the time that I’m on social media.
To be fair I don’t think I’m on it that much, but the new iPhone ‘screentime’ feature, which lets me know how much time I spend on my phone each day, and on which app, will keep help keep me honest.
When I’m on social media, I want to be really strategic and engaging in the right way.
Given I’m bringing back my podcast and vlog and blogging more in 2019, that hour should technically include my time to post, share and promote my content.
However this is quite a tall ask, so that time on social media will fall under marketing as my focus is entirely different.
Overall, this new habit/ rule will also greatly help with the comparison-itis – mainly caused my Instagram!
#7. I will not buy any coffees.
This might sound extreme, but I live in New Zealand. The land of coffee.
We make the best coffee in the world. There is no denying it.
For those of you crying out ‘nooooo, that’s not true’, come to New Zealand and try out one of our coffees for yourself, then tell me whether I am lying.
Coffee is an art form in this country and a National pastime. Baristas are immensely proud of their creations, as can be seen in the beautiful images created in the milk froth topping.
I have never seen so many coffee shops in a country with a population of four and a half million, as we have in New Zealand.
What’s more they are often right beside each other and the best ones, in our cities, almost always have lines out the door each morning.
The milk here is amazing. The coffee is made with love and it is all too easy to get coffee wherever you go.
Along with this comes what I consider to be a hefty price tag of $4.50-5:50 for a coffee.
I worked out that, over the space of the year, if I had coffee five days a week that’s $1200 a year towards coffee that I could be putting towards other things.
It’s also really not so much about the money, it’s about the fact that I don’t need to go out to buy coffee when I can make perfectly great plunge and filter coffee here at home.
I also don’t contribute to the plastic cup consumption and I will inevitably drink less coffee, which, as Dr Libby and others have proven, is something we don’t actually need, and should take a break from, of at least 2-4 weeks, more often.
I want to experiment with having more herbal teas and turmeric lattes too.
My final reasoning, for everyone who thinks I’m insane, is because so many people are obsessed and drink coffee all the time and ‘can’t do anything until they’ve had their morning coffee’.
I kind of want to rebel against the coffee movement even though I enjoy it so, I’m only going to buy a coffee when I absolutely feel like one and I’m going to enjoy it immensely.
8. I will not hide behind any preconceived identity.
I will not hide behind any preconceived identity that I have for myself or that I think you have for me.
I actually saw speak about seven years ago and he was incredible, as is this book.
Deep Work is essentially the art of doing work that is incredibly focused and not distracted, which is getting increasingly hard to do in this very connected and distracted world.
In order for me to be able to write another book this year, I want to understand and research a lot more about and tapping into your human potential.
Therefore I need to be writing reading researching on a much more regular basis – and intensely .
What Cal suggests in the book is two to three hours at least, but preferably even days at a time, of deep work, where you take yourself off to a place where you can just be completely undistracted and focused.
So I have a couple of places I’m setting up in the house, with a desk that looks at a blank wall. and I’m going to fine-tune this rhythm to be the same days as I check my email, from 7am to around 10am.
#2. I will meditate daily.
No matter how short I will do this. My intention is for 30 consecutive days, and my bigger goal is for an entire year and beyond.
I first came across meditation on a retreat with friends in Costa Rica in 2009. William, a larger than life, energetic character, was sitting still, by the pond edge just meditating.
I joined him and couldn’t stop fidgeting or swatting away mosquitos. So I sat watching how calm he was, marvelling at his ability to just breathe and be aware.
He told me he’d been doing it for years and it took time to develop this conscious awareness, but that it was so worthit.
I did nothing further.
Then when I was living in Amsterdam back in 2012, I happened across a lecture happening in a gorgeous theatre, attended by thousands, on the benefits of meditation.
Enough is enough. As an upholder, I said to myself before New Year’s “Natalie, if you can’t even meditate for five freakin minutes a day you are not worthy of all the amazing benefits of meditation”.
I’m happy to say I’ve done 7 days of consecutive meditating (at the time of writing this on January 9th), and sometimes two in one day.
I am using the Insights Timer app on my phone – best free app I’ve ever had, although I’m going for the pro version to access them offline and also all the useful courses.
I’ve been much more clever about it this time and I’ve booked mark my favourite five to fifteen minute meditations, so that I can easily get to them.
I will continue to extend the time I meditate, and look to try different ones through the app – some of my faves are the well known loving kindness meditation, and of course the simple awareness and breath meditation.
#3. I will write down three things I’m grateful for each day.
In my journal by my bed, I write down three gratitudes each morning, at the very least I say them out loud.
Doing it first thing in the morning always brightens my day and sets me up with an attitude of gratitude.
Then I tend to then go into a bigger list, and throughout the day I simply stop to appreciate the amazing garden we have, the stunning beauty of flowers and nature in general.
It also makes you appreciate all that you have and leaves you feeling abundant, rather than in a place of lack.
I know it’s going to come in particularly helpful when I’m in a noisy, busy airport with a cancelled flight, as I’ll draw on all the things, in that moment, that I’m grateful for…that’s the aim.
To better handle my emotions and behaviour, so that I can act from a place of compassion and love, not impatience or selfishness.
#4. I will read everyday.
I don’t mind if that is reading a brilliant blog post, a chapter of a physical book, listening to an audio book – so long as I’m learning.
Preferably the goal is a chapter or more of a book.
Right now I tend to do more than that as I listen to audiobooks while out training for my triathlon, or while traveling.
It’s also a great habit/ rule as I have so much great content to consume which ties in with the deep work.
#5. I will paint once a week.
We have a little art studio on our property that I created for the sole purpose of creating.
It has a window that looks out onto the field and hills. An easel I bought second hand online. A collection of acrylic paints and brushes.
The easel has a canvas on it, with this beautiful background that has been there for about nine months, which I haven’t finished!
There is no excuse not to pull out my creative side, walk down to the studio in the barn and paint!
I also know how important making time for creativity is. It will impact every area of my life…plus our living room wall deserves a large piece of art on it.
#6. I will write every week on my personal blog no matter how brief.
I am excited and ready to get back into the habit of putting out regular, valuable content.
So I want to get into the habit of writing and I want to turn a lot of my content into a book by the end of the year. That is my big goal for this year.
I initially had write every weekday on my blog, which is a stretch goal, but for now it is just to get back into the habit of writing which I really miss.
#7. I will join at least one mastermind in 2019
I have run many masterminds in the past. I have been part of masterminds and last year I was part of none, which made me really appreciated how important they are.
If you haven’t heard of this term mastermind before, essentially it’s a meeting of minds, that together, can help you personally go further than you could on your own.
With more minds looks at your challenges or opportunities and sharing their advice and wisdom on what you can do, you naturally go further, achieve more and are held to higher standards.
It’s best with four to six awesome people. You don’t have to be in the same space, industry or even location, so long as you but you have similar goals and outlooks on what you’re wanting to do.
It helps if you get into a mastermind with people who are ahead of you and where you want to be, that will stretch you further!
You meet regularly every week, every two weeks, or every month at least and you basically champion and challenge each other.
You share information, knowledge, tactics and resources. You are there to be each other’s advisory board.
It is a beautiful thing when it works really well. Everybody has to commit you have to turn up and it can be absolutely amazing for you personally and professionally.
I’m pleased to say this one is underway already with a local women’s mastermind I’m pulling together.
However I’m keen for masterminds across different areas of my life.
As someone who prides herself on taking action all the time, I find this a really powerful time of year to simply slow down and reflect.
Every year I do an Annual Review of sorts and share it publicly on my blog. I find this cathartic and really valuable to share with you – because my default is share and teach what I learn with others.
I also personally love learning from others, and what worked for them during the year, what they’d do differently and what their key takeaways from.
Typically it makes me feel more connected to them as a person and to appreciate that we’re all human, we all make mistakes, screw things up, have our doubts and fears.
And that despite all this, we act in the face of adversity, we commit to create value, we strive for meaning, we meet challenges head on and we turn up to the important tasks, day in and day out….
Aside from those days where we simply lay around snoozing, reading and lazing because we can or we decide to head out into the sunshine on an adventure and let loose.
This year, I’m giving myself more space than ever to reflect as 2018 has been a year that really served up some tough challenges for me professionally, which then hit me personally.
Over the past few weeks, Josh and I have been carving out time to do our end of year Life Pilot reflection and then setting our intentions for the year ahead, and our goals for the first quarter.
A Simple Process to Close Out The Year
I wanted to share the process that Josh and I are using to close out 2018 and make sure we celebrate it.
Step 1: Consult our Life Pilot Spreadsheet to get a visual on our entire life for the year.
It’s simple yet powerful and it’s been made much easier thanks to our Life Pilot spreadsheet.
Being able to scroll back through our 3 most important daily actions, weekly goals, monthly and quarterly intentions has given us an instant look at how our year really was in 2018.
And there ain’t no hiding from that data!
The colour coding on our Life Pilot spreadsheet also gives us a great visual summary of how we did across all our areas of life too – did we hit, progress or miss those important actions and goals?
Which areas of life showed up most and did any of them dominate?
Our areas we chose are: Personal Growth, Relationships, Health, Impact, Lifestyle, Financial, Work and Habits.
From this we’re able to deduce what went well, what we did and jog our memory about what really mattered, or what we may have forgotten that we experienced or achieved.
Step 2: Do a walk and talk reflecting on the year and summarize, reminisce and share.
We love to walk and talk, it stimulates our minds being out in nature and we both like to talk things out. I then like to capture this in a tool like Evernote.
And here’s exactly what I wrote down, no edits:
Jan/ Feb – Gold Coast, wedding, friends
Feb – Angel (as in getting our second adorable White German Shepherd Puppy!)
Mar – E-commerce idea of Poochable
Apr – Launched $3K in 3 Months e-commerce lab.
May – Brisbane trip for Michelle’s 60th. Book project resurrect.
June – Portugal, Frisbee, Life Pilot first launch.
July – Life Pilot second launch, book prep, Better Work Together book. Enspiral winter retreat – walk with Anna to commit to becoming triathlon training buddies.
August – Freedom Plan book and program focus, second e-commerce course run, Life Pilot.
September – Freedom Plan course Launch and operational fail. Tri training.
October – Freedom Plan Accelerator horrible launch, Rotorua seasonal dreaming. Financial focus, book prep. Tri coach start.
November – Book launch, denial and work through, confidence crisis. Tri coaching start. First Splash n dash event.
December – Slump, discussions, clarity, job parameters, refresh of attitude. Gisborne scope trip. Total reframe. Happiness.
There’s a lot more that went on in the year obviously but at a high level these were the highlights and lowlights.
Step 3: Do the deep introspective work and learn the lessons.
Had I stopped there I think the process would be lame. I would be stripping myself from all the gold nuggets I can take away from a year that on every front apart from business (and therefore finances), was quite wonderful.
The fact that I let the business front so dominate my end of year thoughts on how the whole year went, was saying a lot in itself.
With more digging, I got to stand back and celebrate more than just coming through a tough period. I also got to take the lessons learned and really truly use them as a force for good in my life.
In keeping with the ‘no more than 3 things’ Life Pilot methodology, and in reviewing others’ processes (hat tip to Marie Forleo and Denise Duffield), we simply ask ourselves the following three questions, and write out our answers:
What things did you do this year that you’re proud of?
What were the biggest lessons you learned this year?
What one limiting story are you ready to let go of before 2019?
What things did I do that I’m proud of this year?
Had I answered this question at the start of December the list would have been limited and I would have been hard on myself.
But as I’ve reflected and released, and got told by a coach to create a brag book, many more things came to light.
Spending 5 months rewriting parts of my book and working on the launch plan for it
Publishing and launching my new Freedom Plan book and complementary Accelerator
My book becoming a No #1 New Release in Amazon’s Women and Business Category, and a Top 10 Kindle book in Entrepreneurship
Launching an eCommerce course while taking my first attempt to launch an eCommerce business selling ethical dog products – starting with the Poochable Frisbee
Deciding to end my podcast after 7 years and knowing what an impact it made
Turning our Life Planning tool and methodology that Josh and I created into an experience, challenge and course others could transform their life with – which was also the first thing I’ve done jointly and launched with Josh
Learning how to work with Josh in a way that felt enjoyable and harmonious
Playing my fave Beach Ultimate Frisbee tournament in Portugal with dear friends, and seeing Josh enjoy his first ever time playing – so proud of him.
Continuing to learn how to be a great puppy mum and committing to building a great relationship with Kayla and Angel (while simultaneously falling more in love with them)
Contributing to the Gift Economy by volunteering more of my time, energy and experience to projects and people including Enspiral, friends and mentoring through the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women
What one limiting story are you ready to let go of before 2019?
My past identity does not predict my future success.
I’ve battled with this one all year. If I’m really honest, this has been the root cause of a lot of my challenges ever since I ‘stopped’ being the Suitcase Entrepreneur and made a 180 degree life change.
When you get comfortable with something, you have to give it up. When you think you know something, you have to toss it out. When you walk through life with concepts, you have to let those concepts go and see things with fresh eyes.
That’s why I’m open to there being more lessons that I need to learn and am happy to experience them fully!
This year I realized that I can be soft and accepting of myself (and others) while being motivated and driven. I just need to keep those parts of me that are true to me but balance them better.
To close out this year, I am deeply grateful for all the wonderful experiences and quality people who I’ve spent time with and learned from.
I’m thankful to have rediscovered parts of myself that were laying dormant and I appreciate, more than ever, that I shall always be a student of life.
Here we come 2019. I’m ready for you, more than you will ever know!
Do you want an awesome hack for the holidays? One that could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars for about an hour’s worth of work?
Looking back, it seems so simple and obvious that we should all be doing this. So here’s how it all came about.
Two weeks ago I took a long-ish hard look at my business expense lines in my Profit and Loss Report on XERO (awesome accounting software – made here in New Zealand) and I was like:
‘Wow. Why am I spending so much on all these things?’.
This report scared the bejesus out of me. It very clearly showed me that my software costs alone each month were around $700-1,000.
Now normally this might be fine, but none of these were actively contributing to revenue I was making. Turns out I had blown out my costs for team, tools, software and technology for no good reason!
I immediately asked myself if I really needed to be spending all this money on tools and technology?
The answer was NO!
It all started because I got an annual bill for tool I’d previously been using for years, and I was like Why am I still paying for this because I haven’t used it since the start of the year?
When I dived deeper, I realized this was happening across the board.
How to dramatically reduce your business expenses
Step 1. Take it down a level
I looked at the tools that I use all the time to see whether I could drop the plan down from a pro plan to either a more basic plan or even a freemium free plan.
For example I downgraded my Zoom account. I adore Zoom and use it everyday for calls, interviews, team catch ups and more, but since I’m not using it for group coaching or programs for now, I went back to the free account.
What I love about Zoom is that they offer you a monthly contract, so you can upgrade and downgrade whenever you like, and add on features like their Webinar Platform for a few months, rather than being locked in all year.
Then I looked at Typeform, a great service for being able to collect surveys and use conditional logic depending on peoples’ answers.
But I didn’t need to be on the super pro version as I’d finished collecting responses for the surveys I’d run for feedback. I simply exported all my responses and went back to the free account.
Plus Google Forms works perfectly as a free survey tool, without the fancy functionality.
Another example is I pay for Google suite and apps so that I can have my own separate email domain. At some point I’d put eight emails under that one account for various courses that I’ve run.
I didn’t realize that every single email address that I created cost me about US$6 a month. It doesn’t seem like much but I didn’t actually need to to that, I could have simply made them alias addresses within one account.
Just like that, I have saved US$40 a month and cut down the complexity of my email accounts!
For almost all of the tools, it was possible to downgrade or switch to the free version without losing any of the functionality I used.
Top Tip: When you login, simply navigate to Account Settings or Billing. They spell out your options there.
I was surprised to see several of them even offered up multiple months of refunds if you let them know that you’d be inactive or not using their tool/ software. Bonus!
Almost all of them had a contact email, form or one click downgrade you could use. All up this took me about 10 minutes for four tools.
Step 2. Stop paying for nothing!
I then looked at all the tools that I’m not using all, that I’m still paying for.
I started with Shopify, even though it’s great and I think it’s the best option out there for selling products online, I’m simply not using it since my eCommerce experiment ended.
Why should I pay around US$30 a month for something that is not being put to use.
I did the same with Zapier, which is an awesome tool for connecting and integrating apps. We don’t need to use it anymore because we have a workaround with my email provider ConvertKit and my online course software of choice, Teachable.
And that was the only thing we were using it for. And they just billed me for a full year. So I got that back – their helpdesk was amazingly responsive and proactive too. Thanks Zapier!
I recently trialled some pretty cool educational software but it just wasn’t working for us. I approached the founder and they very generously gave us a pro-rata refund for 9 out of 12 months as I’d paid for a full year.
By this stage I realized that if I extrapolated all those monthly subscription fees out for a full year, plus the lump sum refunds I got, it was already over US$3,000 in savings that I’d reclaimed.
All of this took less than hour to do via email, forms or simply one click of a button.
How to reduce your life expenses
This got me thinking about what other services I was paying for personally that I’m not actually actively using.
Luckily there were very few. But the first to go – which had been on my mind for months, every time I saw the charge on my credit card, was for an online fitness program membership I had not engaged with since signing up.
So I simply emailed their support and asked to cancel, and here’s the thing, I also asked if they could retrospectively refund me several months.
I’m a big fan of the following motto, and a handy habit to get into, which is…
Step 3. Don’t ask don’t get.
I wrote an email that said:
‘I’ve not been using this membership for five months and you can see that through my lack of login activity. Is it possible to refund a couple of extra months?’
They said yes to two months. Better than nothing!
I don’t think most of us think about the simple act of asking for what we want.
If you ask for a refund, my recent experience is, almost every single software company or service is happy to do this.
Since I was on a roll, I then extended it when my car insurance renewal bill came through yesterday.
I had to change the address, so got on the phone to do that and while there asked if there was a way to reduce the premium.
Turns out they had my car value at $5,000 more than it’s currently worth – because cars sadly depreciate at the speed of light.
And POOF! $100 knocked off my bill that I was about to pay on autopilot.
I just wanted to share these as examples as quick and painless ways to add some extra savings (or reclaim your hard-earned dollars) back into your bank account, for very little time and effort.
What have you got to lose?
And I figure it’s about this time of year where it’s pretty nice to have some savings in the bank and a bit of extra money to play with to spend on the things that you do love, or the people that you love or the causes that you really support.
Step 4. Go on a cleanse
If you’ve been in a little bit of denial (like me) about your spending or you’ve signed up for all these things and forgotten to cancel them, or simply can’t be bothered, I hope this gives you the kick in the butt you need to take action!
Right now is a really good time of the year for you to take a bit of a cleanse on both your business and personal subscriptions that you may have been paying for.
If you were one of those people who’s bought a gym membership and you haven’t been at all yet, but you’ve been paying for it all year please please please cancel that.
Instead use that money to do something else, like hire a personal trainer, go to a CrossFit gym you actually turn up to, buy a piece of equipment that you know you’re going to use at home or partner up with a friend to train outside together.
We are paying far too much money for services or products that we just aren’t using.
You may find that with all the money you saved from doing the above steps I’ve laid out, that you’re now able to pay for or afford a subscription that you really do want or maybe even a course that you been wanting to take.
I encourage you to go ahead and declare you’re going to downgrade or cancel subscriptions and services in time for the holiday seasons, that are costing you money, with no return.
You deserve it!
Share what you’ve done recently to save some money or cut your business expenses in the comments below.
I recently attended a Tony Robbins event in Sydney called ‘Unleash The Power Within.’ It was an incredible event – I laughed, I cried, I had breakdowns and breakthroughs!
During the event he got us to really think through who we are, how we could be growing and learning, and what actions we need to be taking to be our best selves in all areas of life. It was inspiring and transformative.
I have narrowed down all my learnings from the weekend into the three key messages that resonated with me most, which I share in my latest vlog in more depth (plus some footage from the event to pump you up).
Three lessons I learned from Tony Robbins:
1. Always be learning AND aim to be learning from the best
2. Invest in working on mastering your mindset and rewiring your brain!
3. Build your Dream Advisory team to help you grow beyond belief
I’ve realised that while I’m proactive about continually learning and growing, I need to make sure the people that I’m learning from really are the best of the best (aka Tony Robbins!).
Mastering your mindset is NEVER a one-and-done sort of process; it’s something that we all need to continually work on, re-shifting how we think about ourselves, others, and life.
I’ve also now made a goal of creating my Dream Advisory Team by the end of this year.
Because no matter how wise or knowledgable you are about your business, you absolutely need people to give you advice, encouragement, and critiques.
No one has the answer to everything, but when we help each other grow and share our knowledge and skills we can truly become our best selves!
Another thing that fascinated me at Unleash The Power Within was learning what the #1 fear was out of all those 8,000 amazing, excited, and driven people attending. Can you guess what it was?
Money. It’s frustrating that this continues to be a fear and source of worry for so many of us (really, who hasn’t been worried about money at one point in their life?!). But it needs to stop. Money shouldn’t be such a strain on so many people!
That’s a topic that I want to tackle with you right now.
What would it feel like to YOU to wake up every morning and see $200 of recurring revenue landing in your bank account?
Would that ease some of your financial stress? Would you be able to enjoy life more, going on fun excursions and trips with friends and family? Would an that $6,000 in income each month make a difference to you?
Perhaps you’re thinking to yourself that creating that sort of recurring revenue simply seems impossible right now.
But it’s not! It’s totally doable and people do it all. the. time.
How do I know? Because since starting my blog back in 2010, I’ve created an incredible online business, writing books, releasing podcasts and vlogs, and creating courses, workshops and retreats.
I’ve seen my revenue consistently grow to multiple six figures, while enjoying more and more lifestyle and business freedom! It’s been an amazing dream, and something that I’d love all of you to experience as well.
So as part of my new FREE Video Workshop I’ve released a video training on how to monetize your skills and talents and grow your business.
I show you how to do this with my 1 Page ‘Miracle’ Business Plan, and walk you through the steps within it to help you get a real handle on your goals, objectives and current and future revenue streams that will bring you financial freedom.
I’ll give you plenty of real-life examples of how to add more revenue streams AND show you how quickly they can add up to 6 figures and beyond.
Plus you get to download the template and use it for free!