When Preparation Meets Opportunity

There is an old saying that ‘luck happens when preparation meets opportunity’. My experience has been that miracles occur when you prepare for what you want. I first read about this principle many years ago in Catherine Ponder’s book, The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity. Catherine said and I’m paraphrasing here, ‘You have to create a void so that there is a space for what you want to come into’.

I started reading Catherine’s books in the seventies and I still practice what I learnt then today. The moment I set any goal I start preparing to receive it. It’s a habit that has served me well. When I wanted to find my perfect work I would walk around the city of Sydney in my lunch break and pick out the buildings I wanted to work in. I thought about the type of people I wanted to work with. I decided on the type of clothes I wanted to wear to work and I wrote every choice down. Keeping a list of what I wanted enabled me to focus my attention on what I wanted to create rather than the frustration I experienced working in a office full of office politics where you never knew who to trust. At that stage life coaching didn’t exist as a career choice.

Keeping a list also meant that whenever a job opportunity came along I had a checklist to compare it against. The job I took at that time changed my life and matched every item on my list except one, it wasn’t my own business. However, within six months I was offered the opportunity to carry on that business under a franchise type agreement, so ultimately that choice matched every item on my list.  This job turned out to be my ideal job for a good number of years. It prepared me well,  and provided me with so many opportunities and credibility for the career of training life coaches that was yet to come.

Preparation can take many forms from creating a physical space, making time, studying, creating order, looking after your body, being coached, to acting like the person you want to be. Preparing for what you want is a way of allowing no doubt that you will achieve your dream. However, how you do this is vitally important because I’ve known people who have thrown in their jobs, or packed up their houses in preparation for moving to their perfect home and it hasn’t happened.

Any form of preparation needs to support you to keep your focus on what you want to create. If you gave up your job in order to make way for a job that you would love and you didn’t find that job straight away, it is more than likely your focus would shift away from your goal and onto worrying about money. However, by staying in that job and preparing your resume, making sure you have the clothes to match the position, being very clear on what you want to attract even if you don’t know the job title are activities that will support you.

If you want to achieve a financial goal, save some money specifically for that goal that you use for no other purpose. It is never about the amount of money that you save what is most important, is that you are getting ready for the opportunity to arrive.

If you want more friends, create time to spend with them. Create a space where you can socialise, for most people this is their home. Is your home in such a state that you could invite anyone over at any time? Do you have enough clothes to wear out to social engagements? Are you fit enough to participate in some of the leisure activities you like?

If you want to share your life with someone look at your bedroom, is it full of clutter? Clear out your wardrobe, create a space for the other person’s clothes. Get rid of, or put away, mementos from old loves. Create a space for them to move into.

If you want more harmony in your life look at ways you can create harmony within. Choose values to act upon that make you feel good about yourself. Watch your thoughts, make sure they focus on what you want to create, not the problems surrounding you. Create pockets of harmony throughout your day, this could be in your lunch break or travelling to work, focus on how good it feels to be at peace. Make time to meditate every day even if it’s only for 10 minutes.

Preparation supports you to focus on what you want to create. It enables you to find a way where there appears to be no way. Preparation takes a lot of stress out of life. When preparation meets opportunity, miracles happen.

Building a Successful Life Coaching Business

I have been self employed for 40 years, of which 20 years has been spent running my life coaching business Hart Life Coaching. I have owned a recruitment business, a  couple of typing services, a bookkeeping business, a manufacturing business, a financial planning business and a magazine, all of which I started by myself with just an idea, and quite a few with no money. I sold most of those businesses for a profit and had one business failure. What I’ve learnt from those businesses has helped me to become more trusting, resilient, creative, resourceful and courageous. And even though marketing has changed dramatically since I first started in business the fundamentals are still the same.

Ask for help or guidance

Long ago I established the habit of asking for help and guidance from other people and the Universe. Before life coaching was ever heard of as a career I started two businesses, built them up then sold them. I chose to return to working in the corporate world and discovered that I hated it. I wanted to be self employed again but the problem was I didn’t know what I wanted to do and like most people I had become accustomed to the security of a regular income. I asked the Universe for guidance and it took me awhile to receive the answer because at that time I was focused on the problem. Once I got my focus back on track I was contacted by a man that I had applied for a position with twelve months earlier. He had been trying to contact me for 6 months but was never able to get through to me. I believe that was because I was so focused on what I hated about my job that I actually blocked this opportunity. The position he offered me was to head a women’s financial planning business and it matched everything on my wish list, except that I wouldn’t be self employed. I decided to go for it. Six months later I had the opportunity to take over that business as my own.

When you ask you need to be open to receiving. And when you receive answers you need to have the courage to act upon them.

You may think what does that have to do with life coaching? I loved my financial planning business but eventually I got bored but what I learnt along the way, and the media profile I built for myself during that time made it easy for me to move into life coaching when that career opportunity came along.

You need to have a product or service that people want

Before you even start you need to know if there is a market for what you have to offer. You can find out by conducting a simple survey, asking friends, acquaintances and most importantly your target market if they would use such a product or service. When I was interviewed for the financial planning role I was asked to establish if there was a market for a business that focused on women’s needs. I went out and surveyed 100 women. The results of that survey helped me get that job because I established what the needs of my market were.

Be innovative and courageous, and act as if you expect to succeed

You need to know who your target market is. Some of the life coaches that I train often say how much they want to earn. but they often don’t know who their target market is. You need to know who wants your product or service and what this market is willing to pay. Knowing your target market means you don’t waste time and money on marketing by targeting the wrong people.

Ask yourself where you would find these people? What would appeal to them? If you are not sure experiment by offering your services for free to this segment of the market before spending any money.

Feel good about what you offer

To get people to pay you for your product or service you need to feel good about what you have to offer people. When I first took over the financial planning business as my own, I rented an office in the heart of the central business district that was cheap and unattractive. I felt bad about the office because it clearly said I wasn’t very successful. I would have been better off to move outside of the city and get a better looking office for a lower rent which I eventually did. Not surprisingly when I did this my business  improved significantly.

When building a life coaching practice you need to feel good about yourself as a life coach.

You need to be the coach that you would go to 

And the only way to get to this point is to ensure that the training you undertake will provide you with the tools you need, then you practice, practice, practice. I wasn’t a great coach when I began, but I loved it and I made the commitment to work for nothing if I had to. That commitment to myself helped me to develop my skills and build a business. Be prepared to work for nothing at first. That’s the type of commitment you need to succeed.

Tell people you are in business

What surprises me is how many people don’t want anyone to know they are in business. This fear of what other people may think of them prevents them from achieving their goal. You need to be able to tell people clearly and succinctly what you do. This is all about believing in yourself. You have to back yourself. Be proud of what you do.

Focus on what you want not the obstacles in front of you

This is so important. It’s easy to get caught up in concerns about ‘not having enough money’ to promote your business, or a lack of time. As I said before I blocked the opportunity to work in financial planning because I was so focused on the frustration of my job at that time. Create a daily routine that enables you to focus on what is most important to you.

Take action

Until recent years I never had a marketing plan, yet my businesses grew and that’s because I have always used the law of attraction. You need to remember that you can visualise, affirm, use vision boards, keep yourself motivated but you have to act whenever an opportunity presents itself otherwise nothing will change. Action comes first – feeling confident follows.

Commit to your dream

What do you need to do, or have happen, for you to commit to your dream? One of my book readers took on a second job so that she could pay for coaching (from one of the coaches I trained). She then went onto to establish a very successful business for herself. If you are promoting a business such as coaching, you should be prepared to pay for coaching yourself to get you to where you want to be. After all if you won’t pay for the service you offer why should anyone pay you?

I firmly believe that business success has very little to do with marketing. It’s about how you feel about you and your skills. Work on yourself. Know your market and give them what they want. Practise. Practise. Practise. Coach for nothing so people know you are in business. Commit to your dream and act as if you have no doubt.

When You Discover Your Calling You Never Have to Work Again

A growing trend globally is for people in their late sixties and seventies to be a vital part of the work force. While this is a bonus when you love what you do, imagine having to spend an extra 5 – 20 years doing a job you don’t like just for money.

Most of us have fantasised at some stage about winning the lottery but fantasies are usually a way of escaping from a reality that doesn’t fulfil us. To never work again is a fantasy for many, but it doesn’t have to be.  The key is to do what you love.

I consider myself fortunate to have had many careers that I have enjoyed but it wasn’t until I started life coaching, nearly 20 years ago now, that I found my calling.  A calling is something that you don’t need to retire from because it doesn’t feel like work. Some of us find our calling through our work, while others find it through volunteer or leisure activities. However, I’ve found that the more you go in search of your calling the harder it seems to be to find and that’s often because it’s often something we don’t expect.

We find our calling when we share our gifts. Gifts, in this context, are commonly thought of as skills or attributes, but a more accurate way to discover your gifts is to focus on what you love doing. I love meeting people from all walks of life, helping them to be happy, and working out what motivates them. I also love sharing what I learn. If we were to translate those loves into gifts they are optimism, resourcefulness, curiosity, love of learning, and my willingness to do whatever I need to do to be the best me I can be. The skills, which I have developed over time, evolved from doing what I love.

It’s so easy to waste so much time and energy trying to work out how to do what we want to do, and worrying about whether we are making the right choice, when what serves us best is simply doing things we love.

A woman who trained as a life coach with me loved life coaching but was concerned about how to build a full time business, she also felt a little lost working on her own all the time. I suggested that she continue working with clients and allocate some time to volunteer work. I suggested she choose a cause that she was passionate about. She did this and within a short period of time a paying role arose in that organisation which enabled her to use her life coaching skills and all her gifts.

Sharyna Sharman knew she wanted to help people but as a country girl used to spending her days in paddocks with horses, she didn’t want to do spend all her time in an office, so she combined coaching with equine therapy to assist people to build confidence and leadership skills.

The Universe knows exactly what you want and there is a role that is perfectly suited to the lifestyle you want to live just waiting for you,and you claim it by doing what you love, as much as you are able to, right now.

It is very easy to get caught up in all the reasons why you can’t have what you want and one of the biggest excuses that people make is ‘I don’t have time’. To live a life where you never work again you need to make time because doing what you love energises you, it changes everything in your life, whereas working for a living drains you.

You have unique gifts to share, isn’t it time you found out what those were and started being true to yourself?

Understanding Your Work Values

Do you know what your work values are? Only a small number of people do.

When I had my last child I moved my financial planning business from a professional office to home and I was totally unprepared for how big an adjustment that would be.  The worst part about working from home was the lack of companionship, and trying to fit my working day around a demanding baby and clients was exhausting. With the benefit of hindsight, I now realise that working from home was so stressful for me at first because I didn’t understand what made me happy at work.  It took a financial crisis before I became aware of what my work values are.  That crisis turned out to be a wonderful opportunity that enabled me to start my life coaching and training business which is more suited to my interests and lifestyle.

Whenever you say you want more money, less debt, more financial possessions, a job you love, what you are really saying is that you want a feeling.  So in order to determine your work values you need to determine what feelings are most important to you in the workplace. One, sometimes more than one, of these values is your motivating force.

What some people love about going to work is the companionship they share with others. The camaraderie, friendships and social aspects of the job are more important to them than the actual work they do.  For others their personal values are their highest priority.  Working for an ethical organisation, being able to work in a harmonious environment, or making a difference, has a greater priority than the actual tasks they perform.

My hairdresser’s son, who is in Year Seven at school, wants to be an actor. He is so passionate about performing he clearly values work content. People who value work content often know specifically what they want to do from a young age. Was there something you wanted to do as a child? One of my clients told me that as a child she used to go from door-to-door offering to sing for money. She grew up and became a very successful singer.

For some people where they work is most important, they value the environment they work in, this could mean working outdoors, or in a variety of different environments. I have a lovely young man who assists me with my garden. After finishing school he went to university and obtained a business degree. When he finished his degree he couldn’t face the prospect of working in an office and so he works as a landscaper and gardener. He has two passions, surfing and travel. His work allows him to work intensively, and then take off overseas every few months. He never experiences winter as he always follows the sun. He said, “It’s a wonderful way to live”.

If you don’t know what you want then think about what you don’t want and write it down. Then when your list is complete write down the opposite of what you don’t want.

For instance, if you don’t want to be around negative people you know you want to work and socialise with positive people. If you don’t want to worry about money you know that creating financial security and possibly freedom needs to be a top priority. A lot of the time most people know what they want, they just don’t have a label for it.

ASK FOR GUIDANCE

When I experienced my mid life crisis I started walking each morning, usually at around 5 – 6am when it was quiet. On those walks I’d talk to the Universe and ask for guidance, help and sometimes for answers. At that time I didn’t feel happy and I didn’t know what work I wanted to do. However, over time as I asked questions and received answers I gained clarity as to what made me happy. The answers I received and then acted upon literally changed my life and became a large part of the life coaching process I teach today.

I still continue that habit of asking questions, the only difference being that now I usually ask my questions before going to sleep at night. Answers come to me in many different forms. Sometimes I’ll watch a TV show, read a book or magazine and the answer is right in front of me. At other times someone will tell me about someone, or say something that answers my question. Or, I’ll wake in the middle of the night with a flash of insight, or have a dream.

Knowing and understanding your work values can open up a lot more opportunities that will ensure you will be happy with the choices that you make.

Mother Theresa a Role Model for Unconditional Love

At one time Mother Theresa was unable to pay the rent on a run down building she and the sisters used for their mission work. When the landlord walked in he took what little food the sisters had towards the rent. Instead of fighting and arguing Mother Theresa blessed him.

When Mother Theresa was building a city of peace to house people who had leprosy, the town council ordered bulldozers to knock down the construction site. Instead of blaming and complaining Mother Theresa sent them love.

When others criticised or unjustly accused her, she simply focused on helping the poor and the sick.

Mother Theresa is probably the most powerful role model of our times for how to love unconditionally. She placed no attention on anything negative or judgemental and believed that God would provide. And because of her unwavering faith she always managed to manifest what she asked for.

When our energy and resources goes towards protecting ourselves against attack, as the western world has been doing for a long time, then the majority of people suffer. When we focus on retaliation and punishment, crime and acts of violence increase.

One person extending kindness and compassion to another starts a chain, then as more people join together the chain grows and strengthens. The more we attention we place onto caring for each other, even those we dislike or fear, the more we become a force for positive change.

Allow life’s challenges to become your motivating force for love and compassion as Mother Theresa did, and you will contribute towards creating a better world.

Life Takes You to Where it Wants You to Go

Many of us is resist what is. We insist that life goes according to our plan and when it doesn’t, we often use our will to try and make it happen. That’s when life goes out of balance. We often think of balance as time, but living a balanced life is much more than that. It’s about meeting all of our needs, not just the the most obvious ones that are unmet.

My late twenties was a challenging time. I had two young children and lived on the poverty line. My friends were either married with children, or single and looking for love. I didn’t seemed to fit in anywhere. I was lonely, bored and poor. I thought that if I had more money a lot of my problems would go away so my focus was always on how I could make more money, what study could I do to make more money, something external to change my situation.

One day I read an article about a charity for single mothers who were helping each other. I went along to one of their meetings and it was a life changing event that taught me that what we are seeking is not always what we need.

I got involved with the charity, eventually becoming a committee member and I did a lot of fund-raising and discovered that this was something that I was good at. I established a social life with women in the same situation as I was, and some of those friendships lasted for years. I nearly freaked out when I discovered that one of our meetings was being filmed for a TV segment, and another time I was asked to do a radio interview and some talks. That was my first brush with the media which was incredibly scary at the time, but it stood me in good stead for the media work I was to do.

One of the worst times in my life turned into one of the best when I allowed life to guide me in the direction it knew would make me happiest. That time supported me to develop the skills to do the work I was born to do.

Sometimes we get stuck in our logical minds when we try to work out how to achieve our goals but if we do our bit, be responsible, look by all means, but don’t get caught up in ‘the how’, life will take us to where we want to be.

I gained so much from that time in my life. I filled my need for companionship and realised that I needed to go back to work part-time so I could interact with others. My confidence grew. I was stimulated by the challenge of raising money and discovered I was more creative than I realised. I discovered that I feel happiest when I give. And I overcame my greatest fear of speaking in front of others which meant I felt good about myself.

If I had succeeded in my goal to make more money I may have attained that goal but I wouldn’t have learnt about all of those other things, and not surprisingly because I felt happy opportunities started flowing into my life again. My part-time job turned into my first real business venture (apart from typing) as the company I worked for went into liquidation and I took it over.

Here are some simple tips to help you through the tough times:

  • When life is not flowing check to be sure that you are focusing on what you want, not how to get what you want.
  • Look for where your life may be out of balance. Are you focusing on one goal and ignoring your other needs? Look for ways to be happy where you are right now.
  • Look for ways to can make someone else happy.
  • Stay open to opportunities.
  • Trust.

I have always found it helpful to read about successful people like Oprah. You will find that many of them got to where they are without a plan, they took responsibility, did what they could and followed where life took them.