Leaving your every day and attending events and conferences has a significant impact and you and your business. Add in traveling alone and you have a melting pot of an opportunity for personal AND business growth!
I just got back from such an adventure in Canada and I’d like to share the insights and lessons that I uncovered that will be valuable and useful for you as a Next Chapter Businesswoman. There were so many of them, I am breaking this down into a two or three part series.
Investing in your education. With a twist.
A few years ago a couple of dear entrepreneurial friends and I made a pact to find somewhere to travel to each year for our businesses. We were keen on attending events overseas that would expose us to new ideas, reinvigorate our energy, enrich our education and the perfect twist – offer us a great tax deduction at the same time!
And we did – Bali, Las Vegas and San Diego were our destinations for different events and it was fabulous. Our cups were well and truly full. Our individual vision of just what is possible for us expanded significantly. We were hooked!
But then, like it often can, life got in the way and our plans were set aside for awhile. Family challenges. Illness. Doubt. Financial pressures, We all had reasons as to why travel was off the agenda for the time being.
I finally hit the reset button last year and got to the fabulous We Are Podcast Conference in Brisbane.
And then this year came Canada…
The best-laid plans
One of my afore-mentioned business buddies messaged me late last year and said “You’ve always wanted to go to Canada, right? There’s a great event on – Shine Live with Chantelle Adams - let’s go!” With barely a check of the sales page I was booked and ready to go, counting down the months, then weeks, then days.
And then that damn thing called LIFE intervened once more and my traveling partner had to pull out. Barely 10 days before we were due to jump on the plane.
How did I feel? It was a bit of a rollercoaster, to be honest.
But convicted. I was going anyway…
Then a wee bit of trepidation kicked in – I’ve not traveled alone since I was 25.
Then I reassured myself – how hard could it be, it’s Canada for goodness sake!
And so off I went.
Lessons from a traveling businesswoman
I was away for 16 days, exploring Vancouver, Vancouver Island and Kelowna, which is where the event as held.
It was glorious.
Here are some of the key insights and lessons I’d like to share, covering both business and personal angles.
Disconnect externally to reconnect internally
Without my usual constant connection to the internet, I felt more relaxed then I have in a very long time. I think we underestimate the impact living in a digital age has upon us. The compulsion to check in and see what’s happening on social media and in your inbox is almost irresistible (unless you have the impressive levels of self-discipline which I lack). And so when the ability to do so is removed (I had only phone calls available on my phone, not data) the contrast is tangible. And refreshing, well, FREEING actually!
When you disconnect, when you stop taking information in, it allows you to hear your own ideas. And as a Next Chapter Businesswoman, with your business intrinsically connected to you and your creativity, wisdom and experience, that’s pretty darn vital. Staying offline also has the added bonus of protecting you against the Comparison Trap.
- Consciously choose blocks of time to stay offline.
- Create more then you consume.
- Commit to hearing your own voice more, listen to what it has to say of its own accord, rather than in response to what you see, hear and read.
Become aware of what fills you up. Then do more of that.
On reflection, I found that I felt most serene when I was in nature – hiking out through forests to see waterfalls. Walking alongside lakes. Sailing around the island looking for whales, soaking in the spectacular scenery. The sense of awe and wonder revitalised me. I also adored taking my time in Museums and Art Galleries, with no one telling me to hurry up!
- Simple really. Be aware of what feels fabulous to you and do more of it.
- Block time into your diary just for you
- Notice how more productive you are when you do take creative time out of your business and life – I guarantee you will feel the positive effects
Notice your true nature. And nourish it.
I’m an ENFP and amongst many things, that means I need more alone time than the usual extrovert. I enjoyed plenty of that, but I also noticed that after awhile I needed connection. Really needed it!
I befriended people on ferries and was invited to their home when I return to Canada. I met couples in Hotel Lobbies and went out for dinner with them (and found myself advising and encouraging them about their Next Chapter Business dreams!). I invited several women out for a group dinner before the conference so there would be familiar faces at the event for all of us. I even got collected from the airport from a woman I met in the Facebook Group associated with the event – that was a delight.
I loved the fleeting conversations I had with a great many people, but I especially loved the deeper connections I forged.
My true nature is an extrovert, without a doubt. But what I value the most is deeper connections with fewer people rather than lighter connections with many people. This understanding of myself allowed me to relax at the actual event and really appreciate the small number of women I did deeply connect with and not fall prey to the “I have to run around and make loads of connections at this event, after all, I’ve traveled 12,000+ miles to be here, I MUST make the most of it”.
FOMO (the fear of missing out) can run us ragged if we allow it too. So relax into your true nature and enjoy it, you will feel so much more fulfilled that way.
(If you don’t know your style, you can take the test here > https://www.16personalities.com/ it’s fun and insightful.
FYI: ENFPs are warm, enthusiastic people, typically very bright and full of potential. They live in the world of possibilities and can become very passionate and excited about things. Their enthusiasm lends them the ability to inspire and motivate others, more so than we see in other types.
That’s very true – one of my sayings is “you can borrow my belief in you until you have it for yourself”.
- Honour the way you like to connect – deep or wide, which is it for you?
- Follow up your new connections after the event – keep the conversation going, as it is too easy to be back at the coalface and lose the spark
Embrace new ideas (and people) but know that it’s also ok to keep the old ones too
When you choose an event to attend, take some time to work out why. Are you looking to close particular skill gaps? If so, check the agenda carefully. Google the speakers. Make sure the content is at a level that meets your needs. Don’t be afraid to email and ask the organisers questions.
And I also recommend being open to serendipity. The second Business Coach I hired for myself about 5 years ago I met at an event where I had avowed NOT to invest in anything at all, but she resonated so strongly with me I took the leap.
Perhaps, like I was, you’re seeking more of an inspirational burst? If so, I think it best to find an experience where you will be surrounded by like-minded people as the presentations you see and the conversations you’re likely to have will help you to reconnect more strongly to your values and perspective and your work in the world, the contribution and impact you want to make. Like-minded souls weave your purpose web a little stronger, reinforcing your views.
But don’t forget to pepper this with conversations outside of your “field of usualness” as I call it. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, at least a little. Chat with that person who seems different on the surface. Trust your intuition – if there is potential resonance, lean into it. I approached a few women I did not know at all and started conversations because my gut told me too. A couple of these ignited and we’re in touch today, back in our respective wee corners of the globe. A few just didn’t. There was not a spark of commonality, and that’s perfectly ok. We’re not meant for everyone.
And neither is your business.
Your business purpose is personal.
I had a moment at the event when we were all at our table discussing and sharing our missions, purpose, vision – all that good stuff.
And it hit me.
We were all doing “the same” thing.
We were all talking about our desire to contribute, with a commonality of helping (often women in particular), to empower our clients to live with purpose, to design businesses with their values at the core, to encourage and teach and lift and stretch our clients, to get back in touch with their desires, to act with courage and conviction, to share their stories, clarify their messaging, expand their spiritual selves… or some combination of these components.
I had one heart stopping moment where my Inner Critic (I’ve talked about, Horrible Helga in High Heels, my Comparison Queen in the past) smirked and tried to sideswipe me with the thought “SEE you are SO unoriginal”.
But then I smiled.
Leaned into self-awareness (your superpower, by the way, the very first building block of self-leadership, but that’s another story for another blog post or Podcast episode!) and consciously chose to celebrate this realisation instead.
WE ARE ALL HERE TO CONTRIBUTE AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
How grand is that?
What a phenomenal worldwide movement to be a part of!
Yes, all the women on our table, and likely, most of the women on the other tables in the room, 150+ of us in total were all speaking a similar entrepreneurial dialect.
The desire to leverage our life and business experiences to help others.
That fact had the potential to have felt like I was mired in an overwhelmingly competitive environment. You might well feel that you are in an overwhelmingly competitive environment, especially when you are deep in the world of social media (if so, see point one - Disconnect externally to reconnect internally)
But realise this.
For every person in that room, for every person in that Facebook Group, at that networking event, pushing publish on that blog post or Linked In update, Podcast episode or more, there are thousands, even MILLIONS of people who aren’t. Who are searching for a solution to their challenges.
People who aren’t yet in the room, so to speak.
People who have the chance to find YOU and to deeply resonate with your message, style, personality and services.
The world has cracked right open. Barriers have been removed. Individuals like you and I have the power and possibility to connect with the people who need us, directly. To invite those people to transformation.
How amazing is that?
I know that might sound a little “oh D’OH, yep, not exactly new information Angela”. But for some reason the absolute truth and power of that realisation hit me whilst I was sitting at that table, in the midst of the steady hum of wholehearted, sincere and uplifting conversations. There really is no competition.
There really is no one at all in the world like you, who can draw upon your unique set of circumstances, skills, perspectives, and experiences.
And thus your business is unique and it is also a part of a united movement to improve the world.
The key question is, what’s your mission?
In the next session a phenomenal young man sharing spoken word poetry anchored in the inspiration for my renewed sense of clarity, and the simple iteration of my purpose arrived. When it popped out of the end of my pen, I held my breath a moment.
I’d wanted a clear, simple, succinct description of my mission for myself for a very long time. And there it was. Finally. Beautiful in its simplicity and yet so wide and roomy to allow expansion.
“I share the stories and facilitate the conversations that inspire Next Chapters”.
Having that sentence provides a container for all that I do – my Podcast, Salon Dinners, Mentoring Sessions, Masterminds and Retreats.
All of it.
I got what I came for and I felt quietly elated.
My advice? Take yourself OUT of the everyday to find a fresh perspective. It really does make all the difference.
There’s a whole lot more to share from my adventure, many insights I gained from the speakers and exercises and the workshop I booked with a Podcast Coach who just happened to be in Kelowna (another story of synchronicity that blew me away) and I’ll cover those in my next post as I’ve almost got typists cramp right now!
But I’d like to finish with this thought. I traveled all the way to Canada for my latest bolt of clarity and inspiration, but you don’t need too. Come join me on the Central Coast of Sydney for my final Next Chapter Business Retreat for the year.
I take just 4 women away to a gorgeous location in a beautiful private house for one of my Next Chapter Business Retreats.
Vision and goals, what to let go of, what to refine and what to introduce into your business model. Evaluation of the ideas and development of the strategies and initiatives that best fit you. Fresh perspectives and frank discussions in an atmosphere that both supports and stretches you.
I typically host 2-3 retreats a year, most often with the theme of "What's Next" and they include a pre-retreat group call to discuss goals so I can develop the most suitable agenda for the experience and a post-retreat call to help ensure alignment when you return to "the real world".
You can read more and register your interest here and I will contact you for a chat when the next one is open in 2019 > > http://bit.ly/YNCBR
I’d love to welcome you and be on your support team.