It’s 2020 and I am 100% certain that you want this year and decade to be different, right?
Are you ready to fulfill your potential, achieve your goals and create the life you always dreamed about?
Well fantastic news, this episode of my Untapped podcast brings you exactly that!
I’ve brought my dear friend Natalie MacNeil on the show to set your year off in the right way. In fact, it’s becoming a bit of a ritual that we chat around New Year’s because Nat’s work in this area is extensive and powerful.
In our interview Natalie shares how she’s created her dream life by implementing powerful rituals into her business and personal life – in fact, it’s what her brand new book Rituals is all about!
That’s why I’m so thrilled that ‘Natalie Squared’ AKA the two of us, talked extensively about the rituals she uses in her business, how to connect happiness in business with your life and the ways you can feel completely aligned as an entrepreneur.
If you want to learn from the best, I always say you should model someone who walks the talk and has had the success you want. And Natalie is definitely one of these people.
Just check out some of these accomplishments are:
Handed in the manuscript for her fifth book, and getting signed to the most influential publisher in the world, Penguin Random House.
Created wealth and made millions of dollars doing her soul’s work. She also won an Emmy Award!
Traveled to 100 countries and has gone on the most epic adventures.
Contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to making an impact in the world and to causes she cares deeply about.
Episode 48: How to Get in Flow and Create Successful Rituals in 2020
In this episode you will learn:
The process, practices, and tools that helped her make it all happen.
How to overcome mindset blocks in our business.
How to create automation and flow.
Where we should implement routines and rituals first.
Some of Natalie’s favourite rituals to use in 2020.
Natalie MacNeil is an Emmy award-winning media entrepreneur, four times best selling author and go-to coach to thousand of soul-centered entrepreneurs.
It’s almost the end of 2019, and before we dive into a new decade, I wanted to share my 2019 Annual Review with you, where I highlight my epic fails, lessons learned and all the awesome things that came out of this year.
This process of reflection is something I highly recommend BEFORE you dive into your 2020 goals.
Why? Because in order to know what will work for you in 2020 you need to first understand the why, what and how of everything you did, didn’t do and who you became this year.
I also did it as two separate vlogs on my YouTube channel if you prefer to watch my entertaining videos.
And for the first time ever since putting it out, I have just looked back at these.
And I’m not gonna lie, it’s not pretty.
I think I pretty much missed almost everything and there’s a very good reason for that – because I never reviewed them!
So let me run through these quickly, and then give you a recap of what actually happened this year. And why it’s totally fine with me that I missed so many of these 19 things.
I also reveal to you what really happened this year, I think you’ll probably have a pretty decent understanding.
And I have a lot of compassion for myself in this moment as to why so many of these got missed, and even reading them now, I must admit, what the heck was I thinking?
In this episode you’ll learn
Why reflecting on your year can help you envision what you want for the next year
What worked and what didn’t work for me in 2019
Why it’s okay to not achieve every single one of your goals
How to plan your ideal 2020
If you prefer to read the full review, then here it is!
How did I actually fair on the 9 things I opted NOT to do in 2019?
1. I will not sign up to any more newsletters or opt ins.
I actually have to say that this was pretty much on target as for the first half of the year, I didn’t. And then as the year went on, I found a few people worthy of my email and reading time.
I also continued to unsubscribe ruthlessly from lists I had been added to without my permission or were not adding value to my learning.
Top Tip: Only sign up for something that is absolutely useful and going to move the needle on learning for your business or your personal growth.
2. I will not check my email every day.
I literally want to snort out loud, what a joke. If anything, I think I did more email checking in 2019 than ever.
In fact, I’ve been quite frustrated at my lack of ability to disconnect from my phone.
It’s become such an extension of my hand and such a trigger to just flip through the apps, particularly email but just flip through stuff as if I’m achieving something when I’m usually not.
I mean, I’m pretty specific about what I’m doing on my phone, but it’s gotten out of control.
So not checking email everyday – that didn’t happen.
Lesson Learned: Put the damn phone away and use an app like Freedom to limit when you check your email, Internet and any other platforms you frequent too much.
Also tune in to the very end of my podcast episode where I reveal the ONE game changer I’m introducing next year to put an end to much of this.
3. I will not sign up for any webinars.
I did really well on this and believe I signed up for three in total and attended part of one.
But on the whole, if I registered I did it to watch people’s sales funnels and how they created the flow from the registration as well as follow up.
The ones that I did sign up for were quite useful.
Full disclosure: I had forgotten that that was one of my goals!
4. I will not buy any more online courses.
I did awesome on this until the last four weeks, when I intentionally bought courses on topics I want to master in 2020 and beyond.
One of these was during the Black Friday sales (total bargain) and the other ones came pretty much in the last four weeks in November, when I specifically enrolled in courses on SEO, Facebook Advertising and solidifying your offer and funnel.
I then put them ALL into Asana under learning, and have earmarked all seven of them to go through over the next 30 days.
In January I’m going to absolutely blitz and go through these courses and upskill like crazy and implement and test so that I can then transfer that knowledge to you.
So that felt really good.
I must admit I did pretty much stick on course with this goal (pun intended)
Amusing moment: This one was a bit ridiculous looking back on it now since I’m an educator and I’m a prolific lover and advocate of launching courses and supporting people who launch courses.
I’m especially excited about the SEO course through Shane Melaugh who was actually a guest on UNTAPPED earlier this year!
“I will not. This one’s gonna be tough, as 2018 I fell into a hole of comparison and it was not pretty.”
I must admit it was better this year, and that was in huge part thanks to you and my community for believing in me and all the beautiful feedback I’ve received, that has absolutely restored my faith in everything that I do.
So even though I still had imposter syndrome, I definitely was doing a lot less comparing.
Lesson Learned: This is something that I think we constantly need to work on because fear, comparison and imposter syndrome will never leave your side as you continue to stretch and challenge yourself to grow.
6. I will not spend more than one hour a day on social media.
However, I think the main culprit for my social media time spent has been Instagram and I have been putting in a lot of effort this year to understand that better to get better engagement.
Given I’ve made sales from Instagram and gained new clients, new community members and even new friends from it, that time I’ve put in as been pretty well invested.
Facebook I dropped off for most of the year for ethical reasons, and only near the end of this year did I start reengaging with my friends and community. I don’t think I was alone.
From what I’ve read there’s been a general drop off in engagement and activity across the board. Next year I’m strategically upping my game on this platform.
For LinkedIn, it’s been sporadic.
YouTube started off well at the beginning of the year but videos were the hardest thing to keep off with my almost full time role, triathlon training and other business.
But, I’ve got big plans for next year because I’ve missed it making them – plus my channel and engagement continues to grow without me doing anything (and I want to get that CAN$2K in Google Adsense revenue I recently found, into my bank and then make more of that in 2020!).
And then outside of that, I hired a lovely lady Kaila to do my Pinterest so I don’t do anything on there. But she’s doing a great job in driving more traffic and getting more engagement.
So I certainly do not spend a lot of time on social media and it’s quite specific, but it was a heck of a lot more than hour a day.
Fact: The stats on your phone for screen-time and your computer just don’t lie. Look at how much time you’re spending and radically reduce this for your own benefit!
7. I will not buy any coffees.
I am unsure where this came from.
I think I’d been reading a Dr. Libby book at the start of the year, which was about how, especially as a woman, going without coffee for a month was a fantastic way to reset your system and give your parasympathetic nervous system a rest, reduce your stress levels and anxiety and improve your skin etc.
I also knew I’d probably be starting an experiment in a job, and that as a business development person in that role, I wouldn’t actually be buying the coffees – the company would!
Which, in effect, did actually happen quite a lot.
I didn’t buy as many of my own coffees. We also had a coffee machine at work and you could make barista quality coffees.
But you simply can’t NOT buy coffees in New Zealand.
It is the land of amazing coffee and there’s a cafe every 50m that sells great coffee.
So that one was interesting and not my smartest move. And I think a few people commented on the blog post about that one saying, “Are you sure?”
I did, however, reduce my coffee consumption for the first three months of the year.
Lesson Learned: There’s a theme here that a lot of these goals and intentions I set at the start of the year fizzled out in the first three or so months because if you don’t come back and regularly revisit them you forget them!
And if you don’t have an action plan and reflection process like we do in LifePilot, you won’t achieve them or make them a reality.
I should know this.
If you haven’t yet, make sure to sign up for my Plan Your Ideal Freedom Year workshop! Life Pilot is included in this mini course, and this will make coming up with and staying on top of your goals super easy.
I’ve shared quite a lot this year about the trials and tribulations behind juggling all this work, taking on too much, getting burnt out, triathlon ups and downs, getting my ass kicked with training, having the dream home and then selling the dream home, and finding another lovely home.
A lot of things actually that went on this year that I think I put out there.
I’d love to hear from you if you feel that I was sharing enough of that because that would be really useful feedback for me.
I’m going to give myself a five out of 10 on that because there were many pockets of time I think I did a pretty damn good job of this.
Then there was a point midway through the year and later when I was constantly busy in my mind and in the huge work load I’d taken on, which led to my burn out.
By that stage, I was definitely not doing deep work.
I was doing just way too much work.
2. I will meditate daily.
I meditated almost every single day of January, continued on solidly in February and March and regularly through until May – so I did pretty well.
Then for whatever reason, probably over winter, things being a bit colder, more work on my plate and less ‘time’, I slackened off for around one to two months where I was doing it more intermittently.
Then I picked it up again around August and was pretty damn decent with it.
And right through until this last month around when the final Launch Your Damn Course cohort started and I got a little bit burnt out…up until then I was really enjoying meditating and getting a lot of benefits from it.
In the last month however, I have not been able to keep up with it that regularly – big work targets, competing in my first Half Ironman, selling our house, buying a house and moving house – all pretty MASSIVE things.
Yet ironically, making time for meditation during all this would have been hugely beneficial.
That said I’m very proud as this was the best year for me meditating
But, it is probably my best year for meditating regularly.
Top Tip: Use the Insights Timer app to enjoy guided meditations and meditation courses right from your phone.
My stats on this app say I’ve done 200 days of meditation this year, which is freaking awesome!
I have so much more that I can learn about this and understand and implement and master.
And I definitely felt like it was more fun for me this year.
It was particularly useful around my time of burnout, as I listened to and used a meditation course specifically related to easing stress and anxiety that made a huge difference in my life.
3. I will write down three things I’m grateful for each day.
I didn’t write it down, however I said it almost every single day.
Josh and I would say our three things to each other when we first woke up in bed or before we went to sleep.
And a big part of that is going to change in 2020, because I share with you how I’m going to read more books, right at the end of my podcast. In fact I’ve already started doing it and it’s going to make a huge difference to my life.
I’m loving the feedback that I’m getting from people.
And in particular, in the last probably four or five episodes, I’ve upped my game about the quality of people coming on, how I’ve interviewed them, and I have been getting that feedback from you.
So thank you. Really glad it’s resonating.
I already have some awesome guests lined up for next year.
And I think big guests too, but even though big names are great, what’s more important is that I’ll have people come on that I’m really excited about.
So let me just check the stats for this entire year.
This year, my friends, we have had 1264 episodes short of 100,000 downloads.
So thank you so much.
That is incredible, absolutely incredible.
It’s around 7,500 downloads a month and when I started at the beginning of this year after having a little bit of a break from it and sort of switching over from the other podcast, it was down around at 3-3,500 downloads.
So that is huge.
Thank you so much!
Expect more goodness coming to you in 2020 with more amazing guests.
And if there’s anybody that you would love on this show, please comment below and let me know.
Incidentally, my podcast is also going to be much more strategic. I appreciate it’s called UNTAPPED and that it’s about how to tap into your potential.
And I think there’s a beautiful mix between the mindset piece and then the specific how do you get paid to be you and grow an awesome income and life that you love, with more inspirational interviews merged in with some of the highly practical episodes teaching you the how.
9. I will get a professional qualification or certification in 2019.
I could still hit this actually!
I did actually go through a brilliant course on Coursera by the University of Sydney about the future of work and designing for that.
I did the whole course but I have still have to do my essay part so once it’s written, I will come out with a qualification in that.
So that has lit a fire under my ass to finish that off and get it done this year, which will be really exciting.
So yay. Good for me to review!
10. I will LIVE write a book in 2019.
Ha, that was an absolute epic miss.
And I’m not going to say fail because I just did not have any intention of writing that book.
I think that became pretty clear early on once I got my job and I was doing four days a week.
I was barely able to manage my business in a day a week so writing the book on top of that and training for all triathlons and other various things that I took on this year, there was too much going on.
That was just not going to happen.
However, I love the idea.
You know, I’m going to give myself a nine out of 10 for just having the kudos to even write that.
There is a famous saying of how people often overestimate what they can achieve in a year, but underestimate what they can achieve in a decade (there are variations where some people say on what you can actually achieve in three years).
Either way, it’s very true.
So I am holding back on saying when the next book will be out, but I kind of like the idea of not pressuring that because a book is a very personal thing.
And you have to be 100% willing and ready to write it.
And I’m not meaning you have to have the most amazing idea and that you have to have all the space in the world because you’ll never get it written in.
But it does have to be a gut instinct and a very much a motivational piece from you inside in order for you to turn up and write that.
Then I think you could write it in 30 days or 60 days or 90 days easy.
But you have to really want it.
And I’m not feeling that right now because I haven’t quite got the core of the next message, but it is bubbling away!
Have you done your 2019 Annual Review?
We’re heading into a new decade.
This is exciting and this calls for more celebration.
I think it’s fantastic for you to reflect on the year that you have had, and I’ve been working my way through the lovely Australian Leonie Dawson’s, My Shining Year workbook.
And the first third of that book is the closing ceremony for 2019 before you even get into planning your vision for 2020.
It’s a little in depth, I’m not gonna lie.
This book is like 120 pages and it’s all beautifully illustrated, and there’s lots of fun pictures, etc.
So, thank you for reading to the end of this and the one thing that I wanted to reveal because I said I would is what I am going to do in 2020 that I think is going to dramatically changed my life for the better.
1 Thing I Will Do in 2020
I am no longer having my iPhone at the side of my bed.
It is already being put on the shelf in my new walk in wardrobe, which is approximately two and a half meters from my bed.
It sits on a charger there in airplane mode with the beautiful new bedtime alarm that comes on.
That means I’m have to get out of bed to switch off that alarm.
And I’m not going to take the phone back to bed with me in the morning. In fact it’s my cue to go and do yoga or get moving!
But more importantly, every evening, it gives me time to rest, to meditate and to read and to not be connected.
Because I found myself especially for the last six months or so just aimlessly checking apps and checking in on things in the evening for sometimes up to an hour.
What a freakin waste of time of my precious time that I really value.
So that may seem really simple to you.
But if you’re nodding your head, I would encourage you to try it out for all of January.
I am super pumped. I’ve actually already been instigating it.
And it felt so weird the first night.
Then the next night, there I was reading a book, and I slept better.
And this is only like two days into my experiment.
So I know that is going to make a huge difference.
That is just one of many small but hugely significant changes I’m going to make in 2020.
And I’m not going to stack them all in there. I’m going to do one at a time.
I’m super excited to share more of the goals for 2020 and how I can help you make your dreams a reality in the next episode.
I hope you enjoyed and learned at least ONE thing from my 2019 Annual Review.
I frankly cannot believe we’re heading into a new decade, but 2020 has the best ring of all about it.
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
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Last April I did a complete 180 degree shift in my life and learned three valuable life lessons from it, that I want to share with you here.
You see, I went from being the ultimate digital nomad, traveling the world, being single for almost 6 years and running my online business I loved, into a completely different life.
This included buying and moving into an amazing ‘lifestyle’ property with 5 bedrooms, 2.5 acres of land and a 240sqm modern barn!
I did this with my life partner Josh, even though we’d not been together that long, we were both up for an adventure. Soon after moving in we got our adorable puppy Kayla, the White German Shepherd and I started my three month Business Sabbatical.
In short, a massive amount of change in a very short time frame, not only in my life, but to my very identity.
I’m not sure I recommend it. I mean I love change but this was a bit too much, all at once. But it knocked me down on my ass and forced me to get back up again, and again and again.
The Six Human Needs in Life
Many years ago I read Personal Development ‘Guru’ Tony Robbins book. Awaken the Giant Within. Regardless of what you think of Tony, I can’t speak highly enough of this book.
In it he describes the six human needs we should fulfil in order to be happy and successful.
No 1. is Certainty — you know a roof over your head, food on the table, stability, security. Basically assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure, which in many ways I now had.
No 2. is Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli. I definitely had that too as this was a whole new lifestyle for me and now I had a fur baby that challenged me in more ways than one.
What I realized I was lacking pretty early on, that I had when I was traveling the world and running my business and helping people change their lives to have more freedom, was No 3. Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed.
I was no longer feeling unique as a digital nomad living life on my own terms, as I had technically ‘settled down’, I didn’t feel important, in fact I felt like I’d become an overnight stay at home Mum!
It was winter, and the first one I’d experienced in six years, and we had a puppy Kayla, that I would stay at home with for the first 2 months full time as my partner Josh was finishing up a teaching stint at his business so commuting into town each day.
On top of that ‘Project House’ as I called it lasted around two months and was pretty intense, as you could imagine after living out just a suitcase. But when it finished, I didn’t have a project to keep me feeling on purpose.
Sure I had trees to plant and gardens to establish, a community to build in a new town and so much newness to get used to, but I had lots of time on my hand as I was taking a break from my business, which really had been my life (in a great way) for so long.
I did have No 4.Connection/ Love: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something — with Josh, Kayla, my family who I was finally in the same country as, and our new lifestyle.
I did also have a personal version of No 5. Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding as I was learning a lot about ‘lifestyling’, gardening, permaculture, rural life, puppy training, being in a relationship and not traveling.
And, after too many years of dabbling, I was deep diving into yoga and meditation properly, to give me a foundation and feeling of being grounded in amongst the change. Yoga with Adrienne was a godsend!
What I didn’t have was No 6. Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others.
After years of coaching, mentoring, advising, teaching, creating and helping others to find their own version of freedom in business and adventure in life, I felt like a bit of a phoney.
I felt personally disconnected as I’d deliberately taken time off my business to recharge and prove that everything I teach and stand for — automating your business so it can run without you, is true.
Turns out it was, but not at a cost. My identity was too tied to my brand and my work. That meant my significance was not linked to being of service, but to being important and needed.
Basic human needs sure, but when all is said and done, and you’ve had your success, fame and glory, people will forget you unless you leave a legacy, unless you change lives, unless you take actions that really matter and make an impact.
Unless you show up in this world and lovely deeply, both yourself and everyone else.
Lesson 1: Significance is not about you, it’s about who you serve in life
A few months into my new life I went into a rare dark state of ‘not muchness’. It wasn’t depression but a deep sense of feeling lost, unworthy and as if all I had achieved in life, all the skills I’d learned and shared, everything I’d spent years working so hard to build, simply didn’t matter.
Of course none of this was true, I was just feeling sorry for myself and deliberately wallowing in this feeling.
This is probably one of just two periods in my life where I’ve felt this way, for which I feel blessed, and I drew on the lessons I’d learned from reading Awaken the Giant Within when I was in my early 20s.
I purposefully lingered in this uncomfortable place because I know, and you know, that growth and learning come from being uncomfortable.
Of the 6 Human Needs stated above, each of us puts these six needs in their own unique order of importance. That said, the first four shape our personality, but growth and contribution shape our spiritual needs according to Tony’s blog post:
“The problem is, if you have significance or certainty as one of the top two needs of your personality, your life is guaranteed to have problems.”
Yep. I was having them.
Ironically not because I had no certainty, which means you like to keep life the same so you have to artificially control your environment, control the people and control yourself.
According to Robbins, “the only way to achieve that is to lower your expectations or just be stressed out all the time, neither of which are a good option.”
I had too much certainty, and more than I was used to. I’d say uncertainty would be in position 1, and all those years of travel and moving about and constantly making decisions about everything catered to that.
But my real problem lay in significance, and “if it’s one of your top two needs, you always have to be competing with someone else. More than likely, you have to lie to yourself about your real abilities or surround yourself with people that are less skilled.”
I’m not sure I went that far, but I had certainly been lying to myself. I had become stagnant in a world where growth is a constant. Many people I had mentored or coached were outgrowing me.
I’d relied too much on my earlier success and had stopped learning — well not completely, but not with the voracious appetite I had before.
I’d become tired, jaded and disenchanted with the industry I was in and longed for something fresh and new. But deep down that wasn’t totally true.
It was up to me to fall in love with what I stood for, with what I already knew, with what I did well, all over again, but this time with a renewed energy, mission and outlook.
Apparently “all dysfunctional behaviours arise from the inability to consistently meet these six needs. But, if you are able to reach them, in a healthy order — meaning significance and certainty are not at the top — you will have fulfillment.”
And if you go even further to understand them, you can start to create new patters that stop any self-sabotage and create new patterns.
So that’s what I set about doing. And it wasn’t easy and it certainly was a long, slow process compared to what I’m used to. I tackled it in two ways:
I revisited everything I knew to be true, and threw out what was not serving me, to come away with a fresh perspective. I sent emails to five people I trusted and respected and asked them some specific questions about how they saw me, what they thought I had that was unique and valuable.
Then I went back over four tests I’d done, in some cases, years before like Wealth Dynamics – to reassess my entrepreneurial superpower, Strength Finder, How to Fascinate and The Four Tendencies and dug deep into the results to relearn about myself.
Then I focused on what I loved most about my work – which was helping people to achieve their own goals and dreams.
Luckily I had kept an email folder full of wonderful feedback from my community over the years. This is something I recommend everyone to do, because on those days when you’re feeling down it can bring you right back up again.
These loving messages, praise, testimonials and simple shoutouts, meant the world to me. Not because they made me feel special (which they did), but because they reminded me what happens when you put yourself out there to make other people feel special.
That was my why. That was the reason I had to continue on and giving of myself, day after day. These people needed me, and I needed them. Together we are making the world a better place through our actions and intentions.
Lesson 2: Create fake constraints in your daily life
One thing that has never wavered throughout this major life change is my commitment to understanding, nurturing and having true freedom.
The thing is with this new lifestyle, peace, quiet and nature surrounding me daily, I’ve done an almost too good a job of prioritizing life and fun!
That may not sound like a bad thing, and I agree, it’s not, we all need to recharge, take time off and be present on a daily basis.
The thing is, too much of a good thing is a curse not a blessing and I got a little lazy. Not in the physical sense of the word — I got fitter with all the dog walking, gardening, hiking, tennis, boxfit and outdoor activities, but in terms of my own time management.
It’s incredible how quickly a day can escape from you when you don’t have any pressing engagements or real priorities.
In a bid to fully embarce my business sabbatical I’d removed all constraints, yet as I have preached to all my clients and customers, friends and family, discipline gives you freedom.
I had lost my discipline. So I set about taking it back to get more freedom — sounds ironic but it’s true.
I created fake time constraints every day.
If you’ve never used this technique, and find yourself procrastinating a lot, or you work from home and get distracted by ‘other’ to-dos, then try this out.
Simply create hard stops in your day that you have to stick to, like lunch with a friend, a gym class, an art exhibition you want to see and then stick to it.
That act alone will force you to condense your available time into a shorter period, instantly making you more focused and productive.
I did it by using a powerful morning routine, including yoga to get up early and get in a daily rhythm. I made sure by 9am I was doing something of purpose — training the puppy or doing several hours of learning of a course I’d enrolled in online to learn new skills.
I created ‘meetups’ in town to get out of the house and out of my familiar surroundings (still sounds so strange to say that after 6 years of being nomadic, where everything was strange and wonderful all the time).
I put them at 3pm in the afternoon or earlier so I had less time to ‘faff’ about and do odd jobs around the house and garden that were nice but not truly useful.
Before I knew it I was pumped to get back into work and reinventing my business and brand over at nataliesisson.com
It started to work. My spirits lifted, the funk I was in receded and I felt more in flow, and as if I was moving towards my new found purpose.
I could now see that true joy lies in richness of experience in all areas of life and that not all of them can realistically be in balance at the same time.
The beauty lies in accepting that and owning it while always correcting course. Luckily I had been working on that too.
Lesson 3: We are all our own Life Pilots
In June last year, deep in the heart of my ‘funk’ period, Josh and I flew to Melbourne as he had a conference he was speaking at and I needed a change of scene and to travel again.
It was exactly what I needed. Simply a change of scene sparked my creativity, drive and imagination as to what I wanted to work on.
Josh and I walked and talked, sat in cafes and dreamed and schemed on life’s possibilities. We came up with several businesses I could choose to pursue.
He wisely knew that if I could find one thing to focus on I’d be off and running.
He was right. What I chose wasn’t the right thing at all it turns out, but it led me to think deeply about what excited me, what this next stage of life could look, feel, smell and feel like.
Together we got thinking about purpose, missions and goals. Something I thrive on but had been missing since I took time out.
Before I was like a ship out at sea with no wind, letting the waves take me whereever they wanted, with no real purpose or direction.
And now I was full sails ahead with a chart to guide me and a journey I had chosen with destinations to arrive at along the way!
Unbeknownst to us, that day was the start of Life Pilot, a system we developed together that we’ve been using for over 12 months, that lets us envision our best lives, set and track our goals and hold each other accountable.
But it’s more than a damn effective life planning tool, it’s become a compass for whether we’re being present, courageous and focusing on priorities.
It shows us if we are aligning with our values and putting our time and attention into the causes that matter most.
What started as a simple, yet slightly geeky colour coded spreadsheet and a deep and meaningful chat about life back in June 2017, has turned into a system that sees us setting our 3 most important actions every day together.
Each Sunday we make time to reflect on our weekly goals and ask ourselves important questions. This ties into making sure our monthly and quarterly goals in 8 areas of our life, are in line with the three year vision we set for ourselves.
We plan holidays and adventures around this too to turn it into something fun and even magical.
I think the reason it works so well is it’s not just me setting goals and trying to meet them, it’s both of us building a life together and helping each other dream and take purposeful action.
We think this could be a system you could use in life and benefit from immensely, because unlike the plethora of tools, journals, books and apps out there, this one works as you have someone you’re sharing it with.
Yes you can use it by yourself, but it’s even better if you do it with your partner, spouse, best friend, peer or simply someone who’s willing to hold you accountable and ask you the right prompts and questions, to help you achieve what you really want in life.
The more we’ve told our friends and community, the more interest we’ve had to share it with them. So we ran a small pilot throughout the month of July and the results have blown us away.
We had no idea whether our system would work when used by other lovely humans, but it has and more effectively than we could have imagined.
That’s because everyone has dreams and desires and needs, and yet ‘finding time’ to make those a reality is so much harder than we realize.
There are many reasons for this but the primary one is that if we haven’t take the time to dream, scheme and visualize our ideal life, there is NO way we are going to get there if we don’t back it up with a plan and focus and daily actions.
That’s what Life Pilot solves, the rest is all up to you.
Each month we open up a new Life Pilot 10 Day Challenge to take people through exactly what we do, and give you the system we’ve created that’s made a massive difference to our lives.