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Small Business Revitalization Blog

Small Business Coaching: Revive Your Profits, Revitalise Your Perspectives, Reinvigorate Your People

The Breakthrough Moment

The breakthrough moment... is that moment when you come up against everything that IS possible... and you either choose it (even if it is REALLY uncomfortable) or you back away, hiding amongst the excuses that have kept you from going beyond it in the past.

How many times have you almost got there, only to stop yourself?  Is it time to stop it... or do you love stopping you?

Are any of these scenarios familiar to you?

“I know I can do this, but before I do, I just need to.....(insert big thing that is your current ‘unsolvable obstacle’ here).....”

“I would love to do this, but I’m just going to..... (insert small, unimportant list of busy work here).....”

“I am procrastinating because I am not ready, I need to learn..... (insert your personal ‘less than’ comparison to as many guru’s in your industry as you can find here).....”

“I know this is really important, but I have to do my client work first... (insert long list of client work and excuses for not working ON your business here).....”

“I can’t. I am afraid of..... (insert your favourite set of fears and doubts that you use to distract yourself from moving forward here).....”

I have coached hundreds of people in getting over the personal limitation that is stopping them from breaking through to creating what they truly desire - in business and beyond.

And here’s the thing... it's never about needing more, learning more or doing more or waiting for something else to show up first. It's always about BEING more! 

Sound crazy?  Here’s how it works. How many people do you know who are ‘wasting their potential’?  You know it, everyone around them knows it, in most cases they know it too.  And they are as frustrated as hell about it.

If this is you, there is a really simple solution.  You make the demand of yourself that this changes NOW.  That you aren’t going to listen to your brilliant but oh so limiting excuses anymore.  You are going to take the action that will move you forward in leaps and bounds, rather than going round in circles. 

And then you do it.  Not from the space of doubt, lack or fear; but from the space of “I’m kick-ass and I’m going to rock this!  What do I need to be or do different that will allow me to create this with ease?” Notice that being this energy puts a totally different spin on what’s possible?

That’s what I’m talking about when I say BE more.  The truth is, you don’t need to be anything other than what you truly be.  If you stop ‘wasting your potential’ you’ll make a much greater demand of yourself to deliver beyond your excuses.  

You are ready.  There is no better time.  You know enough.  You are more than enough. Go be everything you can be!  Your life (and business) will have so much more ease when you embrace and acknowledge your true capacities rather than pretending they don’t exist.  What could you play with today, that would change all possibilities with ease?  It takes courage.  And it's SO worth it!

How do I know what to do with this particular entrepreneurs dilemma?  I’ve been there - stopping myself by most of the options above and then some... and I’m not allowing myself to be pathetic or side-tracked anymore.  Just so you know... You’re not alone here.  AND also know there is a greater possibility available! Are you demanding it?

If you’d like some more tools for going beyond your breakthrough moment, you can contact Lisa Murray for a personal Breakthrough Session or listen in to her free New Energies of Business show on Blog Talk Radio. 

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Creating Your Business Out of Control

How much energy do we use trying to never be 'out of control'?  And what if it is the energy of 'out of control' that actually allows us to create dynamically?

Join Lisa Murray for an intriguing exploration of what 'out of control' actually is... and how you can use it creatively in business and life.  What if 'out of control' could be the best thing that ever happened to you?

Listen below:

Traditional business is about control. There is this assumption that if everything is under control then everything will be okay. But what if it's not? What if this idea of control is actually the energy that is limiting the possibilities in your business?  When we start to operate from awareness rather than control, doors open where there were only walls.  Creativity and innovation become the norm!

Listen to the show and then take this week's business coaching challenge.  Find the area of your business that is the most tightly controlled.  Ask: What could show up if I stopped controlling this?  What else could be possible if I remove the controls? What contribution could it be to take this area out of control?

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You Don't Have To Be Tired!

If you are finding yourself saying ‘I am sick and tired of.....’ a lot, have you noticed that you are getting sicker and tireder... that those symptoms aren’t disappearing the more you say it?  That’s because when we say ‘I am sick and tired of.....’ that’s what we are creating.  More of the same!  

Or maybe your favourite phrase is ‘I’m too tired to....’  Whatever it is, you can be sure that if you are talking about being tired, that’s what you are creating.

Why am I writing about this?  Because two clients have asked me in the last 24 hours: ‘How is it you don’t get tired when you work with lots of people?’  At the end of my three-day Creativity Lab LIVE! event, I was still like the energizer bunny!  And I am an introvert, so technically this should not be possible, except that it is!!

So, here are a few of my secrets...  I work a lot.  I love it.  And there are moments when I’m tired.  Moments, and sometimes an hour or so.  Not days, or weeks or months.  I used to have burnout.  I know exactly what intensive tiredness feels like.  And I know what exhaustion is too.  And I’m just not willing to have that be part of my life anymore.  So I work in a flow that not only works for me mentally, but physically as well.

Get Enough Sleep

Note I am not saying ‘get 8 hours of sleep’.  It says get ENOUGH sleep.  I can go for weeks or months on 4 - 5 hours sleep a night.  With ease.  And right now, my body needs about 9 - 10 hours a night to feel good.  The number of hours is always changing.  When my body tells me it’s different, my sleep patterns change.  

What is different about this from me to most people is that I don’t have a number that is ‘right’.  The number of hours of sleep that is right for me is the number that makes me feel great.  Today.  It’s not a number that is relevant to any research or any study.  How could anyone else possibly know my body better than me?  And when I choose to go with what my body tells me, we are both happy.  And there’s lots of energy to play with!

Quit With The Expectations

Have you noticed that the more you (or others) expect of you, the more you feel you need to deliver and the tireder you become?  When you remove the expectations and just be with ‘what is’ you can start to unravel what’s actually possible.

Many times in my career I given my bosses some variation of choice that would work for me:  “You can have this or this... or all of it with more time, what would you like to choose?”  Allow someone else to assist with the priorities.  And if you work for yourself, find a good sounding board.

Know What Energises You

For me, sitting in the sun for a while pours lots of vitamin D goodness in where it’s needed.  When I add a little time playing with horses or watching clouds go by, I receive even more space. It can also be laughing with friends, a house-cleaner, or a few nutritious meals in the freezer... anything that makes your life easier and gives you energy! 

What is it that creates space and energy for you?  Those are the elements you need to make a priority.  And sometimes you just have to take a ‘joyful living’ day - some people call them mental health days... I prefer to allow myself to have a really really good time on those days.  Guilt-free time off from your business is essential!

Can you imagine how much more would be possible if you weren't tired anymore?

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Flexibility or Structure?

One thing is for sure.  Since I’ve been asking to outcreate myself every single day, I have had to up the ante on flexibility!  It’s an energy that isn’t so present in business.  Most businesses are looking to put form and structure around everything.  Over the past few weeks I’ve been creating flexible systems.... that is systems that move with me as I expand my ideas, rather than stifling business growth.

And it’s a learning curve. A giant, steep learning curve, given the speed of change I am embracing!!  And that’s not to say it isn’t fun.... it is!  And it’s lucky I love change!!!

Traditional business loves structure.  It loves the solidity and the conclusions that a structure provides.  “Here are the rules.  Follow them.  Blindly.  And your business will run perfectly.”  seems to be the accepted approach.  Except that it rarely works anymore.  

Why?  Well it was probably great for the industrial age, when most production could be done by machines - they don’t think much...  But now, we are swinging wildly into an age that is all about creativity, about craftsmanship, about possibilities and the unknown.  Seth Godin talks about it in The Icarus Deception. It’s the difference between playing it safe and forging your own path.  We are in the age of going beyond what is commonly expected now... so what are you going to do?

If your business is set up so that the blind follow the blind, it is going to lead to lots of lemmings falling off the cliff!!

So how do you create your business so that isn’t limited by structure?  You embrace flexibility and you embrace awareness.  And you choose people who are willing to work in this way.  Anyone who joins my team is invited to do so because of their awareness and their flexibility.  Without those two energies, they aren’t going to thrive!

So what does this look like?

My host for an overseas event not getting the flyers printed in time for a big event that we could have been promoting at... and not being sure why... and then realising that the dates were wrong - everywhere!  That’s awareness.  Me not being the least bit upset about this, actually being grateful!  That’s flexibility.

What if procrastination could be about awareness?  What if you know a whole lot more than you cognitively recognise?  What if instead of being frustrated by ‘stupid’ people in your business, you start asking for people with awareness to show up?  And by stupid I don’t mean intellectually dim, I mean having a lack of awareness - they are not the same thing!

So, if you are going to put “rules” in place, make sure they are flexible systems that allow for growth and expansion, rather than limited structures that encourage lemmings to mindlessly jump.  You know what happens if you jump off a cliff blindly... there’s a big SPLAT at the bottom!   

So let’s get practical.  Where do you start in turning your business into a nimble, flexible, expansive space?  You start with the one simple thing in front of you.  What is the structure that is limiting your business the most?  Or what is the (non-existent) flexible system that your business most requires to create a more profitable future?  That’s where you start.  Change or create that... and then go onto the next one!  

Renaissance polymath, Leonardo da Vinci said ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.’  And the Renaissance movement changed the world, with less than 1000 people! So what difference can you create in the world by making your business simpler, more flexible and more ease-filled - for you, your clients and your team?  What if this simplicity and flexibility could also decrease the stress seemingly inherent in business?

Have fun exploring!!  And if you’d like to know more or talk your ideas out with someone independent, did you know I am available for one-off business coaching sessions via phone or skype, as well as longer coaching programs?

Oh and one more thing... how many policy manuals would you need to create if you had awareness and flexibility as the core of your business?  And yes I know some things are required by law... do those of course!!  And save your energy and time for creating something much greater for anything that is not essential!!

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Conscious Business: Are You Moving Forward?

I woke up obsessed with taking a walk through Noosa National Park to Hells Gate.  When I got into the car it was raining (again!)  By the time I was halfway there the rain was coming down in sheets and visibility was pretty much zero.

I almost turned around, but I really, really, really wanted that walk! I could see the tiniest piece of blue sky to the south and I wasn’t allowing a bit of water to stop me.   Arriving at the National Park the rain stopped and midway to Hells Gate it was sunny again! I truly was one excited little bunny!

So what's a walk in the rain got to do with doing business consciously? 

Have you noticed how often we are tempted to give up when we are just a few moments from the thing we truly desire?  What is it you are almost about to give up on, that if you would keep going, would come to fruition faster and sooner than you can imagine?

It’s easy to give up in business.  Sometimes so much has to change beneath the surface before we can see our creations come to life…  That wait can be longer and harder than we desire if we are trying to force something into existence.  If, on the other hand, we go with the flow on the projects that are moving forward and we keep creating and generating lots of different possibilities, our choices expand exponentially.

If I had gone home this morning, I would have spent the whole day looking out the window, wishing I’d been for that walk.  Instead, my willingness to go with my instincts (despite gloomy surface appearances) gave my body some much needed creative impetus and I’m settling in to write for a while!  

And that’s the other part of moving forward to be conscious of… I’m once again working on my book The Mojo of Flow – which I thought would be out last year… but sometimes the flow just isn’t there… so I’ve done a few other projects in the meantime and the last pieces of information that I was ‘waiting’ for have shown up this week – how does it get better than that??

I could have beaten myself up for not finishing when I said I would… but really I always know there is a reason if something isn’t moving forward in the way I would like.  This last chapter will make it the book I knew it could be… that it wasn’t… until this topic came into my conscious awareness!! I am so grateful for consciously allowing the joy which made it all flow with ease (rather than going into the wrongness of me)!

So, let’s do something together…  Would you be willing to stop beating yourself up for anything that’s not working in your business right now… and start playing with whatever has some energy and some momentum? 

And would you put the 'stuck' or 'stopped' projects aside and keep contributing your energy to them, without a point of view as to what will happen next?  What if they could create and generate themselves with an ease you haven't experienced before?

As you do this, ask each project to let you know when it is time for you to play with it again… and know that everything happens with perfect timing.  

I see this ease of moving forward show up over and over with my business coaching clients.  We talk about a strategy, there’s no action, then all of a sudden everything falls magically into place, with an ease that is still astonishing each time it happens!  When we let go of our expectations and just keep moving forward, so much more becomes possible.

Are you willing to operate your business consciously?  Or would you rather do it by force?  How is that working for you?

Have you ever experienced how this flow creates such ease? Tell us about it below!  Or if you are wondering what the hell I am talking about... feel free to ask a question!! 

 Love your work! xox Lisa

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Being Present with Your Strengths

Like many perfectionists, for many years I chased the ever elusive ‘fix your weaknesses’ story, always putting myself in places where I could work on my weaknesses. Sadly this strategy did not bring me or my employers a whole lot of joy and I eventually got smart enough to avoid choosing the jobs that were too focused in those areas of weakness.

At one point I graduated to telling my employer why it would not be a good idea to give me certain tasks… I explained these tasks were not a natural talent and ability for me and they would be wasting their and my time given my capacities in other areas!  Of course, most people ignored this, preferring to squash the square peg into the round hole until they created a big mushy mess of misery for them and me.  Imagine if Frank Gehry had become a bricklayer instead of the magnificent architect he is?  The world would be much the poorer and he would be finding a whole lot less joy in his work!

I see this often with business owners – instead of allowing our team to shine in ways that are natural to them, we create a set of expectations and conditions that create the exact opposite.  And then we wonder why the business is not performing!!  As a business coach, it’s my job to sometimes deliver a little tough love to either the employee who is not loving their work or the business owner who is not creating the possibility for that in the workplace.  

Performance issues are almost always a result of the manager and the employee not being present with the strengths of the person who is not performing.  When we are truly present with our own strengths, talents and capacities it allows us to choose or create a role that is perfect for us (rather than twist, bend and mutilate ourselves to become perfect for the role!!)  

When we are present to our capacities, we work with ease and can easily outcreate and outdeliver almost anyone else… When you have a whole company full of people being present with their capacities and those people are in the roles best suited to their strengths, competition becomes irrelevant because you have a massive peak performance advantage!

Having this presence embodies a confidence, a connection with self and the willingness to be a contribution far beyond what most people see as possible.  Owning this inner presence individually and as a business builds in a set of distinctively different competencies that are incredibly difficult to copy well.  If you desire to build a sustainable, peak performing business, this is a great place to start! 

At the next New Energies of Business events we are bringing you two amazing speakers who live this strategy in their workplaces and beyond… what if we could have peak performance as the norm, instead of wading through the challenges of performance management way too often?  Would that make your business more blissful??  

If you’d like to know more, join us for an adventurous day of uncommon insights into what’s working right now!!  Bookings and more info at  (Upcoming dates:  November 2011 in Brisbane and February 2012 on the Sunshine Coast)

(Guggenheim Bilbao image via Pinterest)

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The Work/Life Balance Myth

Recently a journalist asked me a whole lot of questions about balance. I found myself resisting the questions and realised that for me, balance is a myth! We have been sold the idea that balance is the Holy Grail and if we attain it, all will be well in our world!  I have two businesses and a life I love… I KNOW that is SO not true!!  Are you with me here?  When was the last time you found balance and how long did you keep it for?

When you have balance you have inertia.
  When you have balance you are always precariously waiting for something to shift and then you have to go off in search of balance again.  A healthy work/life balance is a cruel joke – it doesn’t exist in the way the media would like to portray it.  We are human BEings – not human balances!

So, what else is possible here?  I choose to BE flow rather than chase balance. Flow is living the life you love underpinned by an essence of bliss and joy.

When there is flow, we can find an ease to everything, possibilities arrive effortlessly and there is clarity around priorities and creating the life we desire – we thrive!  

With balance, we are always striving to fit everything in, always trading off self, home, family and work commitments.  

A healthy ‘balance’ to me is when flow is achieved on a daily basis – there is room for fluidity, flexibility, creativity and new potentials – we are open to possibilities rather than having things be a specific way and only that way!  When we stop controlling everything it opens up paths to our desire that may look illogical but actually offer the shortcuts to success we have been searching for.  

When in flow we operate from a space of expanding what’s possible, rather than limiting our life to ensure we can achieve balance. (I add choices to my life, rather than making either/or decisions which limit me).

When in flow we have awareness of what is required and what is possible, and we are willing to have freedom of choice, rather than a long list of ‘have-to, must-do, should-do’ items that derail us from our flow.  

What is the worst thing that could happen if you didn’t fulfil the list?  Who could help you with that list?  What could you stop doing that no-one would notice?  What’s next?  These are all questions that will help with creating flow.  And none of them require you to have balance – just the willingness to choose ease!  

Awareness creates choice. Choice creates flow.  Flow creates ease. Balance does not create choice, awareness, flow or ease!  The quest for balance creates structure and rigidity and limitations.  

What would it take for us all to have more awareness and more flow?
  Discover more through my free 'Festival of Flow e-class… I desire to create a Festival of Flow in the world… sounds way more enticing than balance don’t you think?

Love your work!

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Do Less. Raise The Bar.

When in need of inspiration, I often randomly open books.  Today two ideas arrived within seconds of each other.  Seth Godin suggests we need to Raise The Bar – as that is where great progress occurs.  Jason Fried from Rework is adamant we need to Do Less.

Putting these two ideas together sounds incongruous, until we see that in doing less, we create the space for seeing where exactly we should raise the bar (and how high!) if we really want to create profitable change in our business.

When I look at my project list for my businesses, I can see the two or three projects that totally raise the bar.  That make everything else I do look, well, not so important.  I can see the 30 or so projects that would be nice to do, if I had the time, resources or inclination… and I can see the 10 projects that need to be taken off the list right now because I already know that they won’t deliver the world-changing impact I require when I invest my full energy into a project!

What could you do less of that would allow you to have more impact? 
You don’t need to spread yourself thinner, you just need to make the hard choices that allow you to be phenomenal!  We get caught up in being nice and saying yes when really we mean no.  What if you saying no gives that opportunity to someone else who does have the energy to invest – would that allow them to raise the bar in their own unique way?  Could the world be a better place for that?

This is one simple tool for looking at everything you have in front of you and seeing what is truly important.  What will make the biggest difference?  What raises the bar and makes your business more enticing and more enchanting for the people you serve?  Choose that one thing.  And do it with everything you’ve got!  

Less is More.  LEAP forward, don’t crawl!

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The Cult of Done

I have a co-mentoring arrangement with another coach and we have a quick session by phone every Friday.  One of the things that makes us giggle are the multiple and creative avoidance mechanisms we have for (not) getting things done.

Whilst lots of progress is made, it's often not on whatever we've discussed the previous week... so when I came across this I knew it would make lots of small business owners feel infinitely better immediately!  Read this and you could probably take a long weekend or two starting right now ;-)

So here it is... the cult of done manifesto... a great recipe for overcoming overwhelm (momentarily at least!)

(via The Manifesto Project)

Yes, it's slightly tongue in cheek, but there were a couple of tips in there I'm really tempted to play with!  And I loved 'Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.'  That sorts out quite a few projects that I was getting back to later... (of course, failure doesn't really exist, it's just a big hint from the universe to change something!!)

What are your biggest challenges in getting stuff done?
  I'm a great starter... and I'm working on the 'done' bit with my awesome co-mentor!!  Do you have any other ideas you would add to the above manifesto?  Share in the comments below...

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Are Your Foundations Firmly In Place?

Building a business happens with ease when our foundations are in place, but can be a struggle when we are missing the basics.  When did you last sit back and take a good look at the castle you have built?  Did you check out the foundations while you were at it or did you just admire the shiny turrets and gorgeous environment you have built?  Did you look to see if it is getting a little top heavy... are some bits quietly falling over?

As business people, we are often full of ideas and there is always the temptation to build castles in the air.  In fact, many a great business starts off this way – with the outward facing structures.  Sooner or later you will need to ensure your foundations are up to the job!  Sometimes a little renovation is required!

A simple place to start is to look at where your business is right now and look at where the structures are crumbling, and where they are holding firm and contributing to your vision.  

Sometimes it’s not easy to see that the marketing manager who was your answer to everything really isn’t working out because of their vile personality…. Or that much as you detest systems and processes, without them you just have a different variety of chaos everyday (entertaining for some, stress inducing for most!).  And it’s even harder to acknowledge that just maybe it is you that is the bottleneck between your dream and the current reality.

2011 is a foundational year… what you set in place now will provide the base for your future growth.  Are you standing on solid ground or do you still have a few castles floating about, waiting to be tethered and grounded in some sort of practical reality that will allow your business to grow?  If something's not right in your business, take a good hard look at the foundations.  When you have the fundamentals in order, all else will follow with far more ease.

If your current essentials are in great order, imagine your business doubling in size and ask:  ‘What foundations are required here for everything to flow with ease?’  Systems that work right now may not hold up under the pressure of growth.  Now is the time to create new possibilities.  In looking at your business in new ways, you open up doors for further growth.  

Think of it like an upward spiral… you create an idea, generate the energy that moves it forward and then you institute the practicalities that allow it to flow with ease.  If you keep all three processes in balance, your business grows up in an ever bigger spiral.  If you miss one, it always feels like you are starting at the beginning – no growth is possible!

Make April the month where you strengthen your foundations.  It will mean that May, June, July…. will all show up with greater ease and more capacity for profitability.  Not sure what to do or what to look at?  Arrange a free 30 minute business coaching session with Lisa Murray Seeing what you aren’t seeing comes naturally to Lisa!

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