The Stories we tell Ourselves

west cork oct 2016-38

“A people are as healthy and confident as the stories they tell themselves. Sick storytellers can make nations sick… Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart larger.” – Ben Okra

Greetings to you on this mid-November day, and a nod to all my US friends celebrating Thanksgiving.

Today I saw a little bullfinch and a pheasant. I fed donkeys and ducks. I had a conversation with an elderly man about his travels in the 60s. He told me stories of seeing a tiger in the wilds of India, and how when he was a child he used to memorise advertisements on buses to pass the time- he proceeded to recite one to me. Today I also had a conversation with a woman in her 60s about how, when she was younger, she spent 5 years sailing around the world, and how just three years ago, she sailed from the Marshall Islands to Vanuatu. She told me that living on a boat, with limited resources and space, has been one of her biggest lessons in life as now she can live almost anywhere and does not need as much space or things which has liberated her from her perception of need. She radiates joy and compassion.  As does he.

Those little stories and encounters have changed my day.

You see, I’d started the day tuning into the media, and we all know what happens when that door is opened. I soon found myself down that tunnel of darkness, threading the fine line of cynicism which has been chasing my tail these last few weeks. What I also know is stepping across that line is a conscious choice and I have a choice not to go there, and actively tune in elsewhere; to the stories around me, to the moments of beauty and surprise, and to the conversations and questions which point to another narrative, one which mainstream media does not broadcast.

There are stories everywhere and our stories matter. They matter more than ever. What we speak about, what we amplify, what we tune into, what we choose to respond to. I’ve been remembering that quote from Ben Okri – ‘A people are as healthy and confident as the stories they tell themselves. Sick storytellers can make nations sick… Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart larger’

We have another choice too- perhaps a more challenging and daunting one: to be part of creating a new narrative- one which will conquer fear and expand the heart- our own, and others. Like the best stories this new narrative will not have a linear or predicable plot, it will keep us in suspense and will have twists and turns and complex characters. Writing it won’t be easy, but write we can.

When I am feeling stuck I often take to me journal and ask my inner self or mentor, for answers. To the question of, ‘Well, what should I write?’ This time my inner mentor responded”

The question is not what you should write, but how should you serve. 

You serve by following the questions.
You serve by giving your talents, your gifts, your capacities.
You serve by being awake.
You offer what you know and then you let go of it again.
You learn, over and over.
You embrace this life fully and vibrantly.
You feel it all. All of it, and offer that.
You move deeper.
You don’t turn away.
You stand for something.
You shake it up until it rattles you.
You rattle.
And above all you create.
Above all that you keep going.
And most importantly you bring your love
And through that love is devotion.
And there is your faith.
Your faith is not lost.
Your faith is in action.
Your action is your question.
Your questions will lead the way.… 

So now I’ve a ton of questions about how I can be a part of creating this new narrative. Interestingly they are not Why questions but How and What questions.

  • What should I do next?
  • Who should I support?
  • What is the best use of my time and resources?
  • What is needed most?
  • In what ways can I best sustain myself?
  • Who should I be connecting with…
  • What can I offer..

So while the stories can conquer fear, so too can the questions, because the questions lead us onwards, into the story, and then beyond.

But right now, I hear the donkey’s calling. It is dusk and the ducks needs to be fed. This is the story of the way of the things and it needs tending too.

Clare xx


It matters more than ever…

blog it matters more than ever

 

This post originally started as a message to the Thrive School members. On the day after the US election was called, in a bit of a whirl, I wrote this..

Have you been in a bit of a frazzle today? I have. All these scenarios started swirling, and I could feel a cynicism sweep in. But I know I need to nip cynicism quickly – it only fuels a downward spiral. I knew I needed to hop on my yoga mat, let the clicks and tension in my body release, and listen. I sat in silence for a very long time. And in that time, I found new fuel- a deep realisation that the work we are doing is even MORE important.

It is the work of connection, values, beauty making. It is the rising of the feminine, the building of bridges, the creation of alternatives, the celebration of diversity and plurality. It is about learning the skills we all need to navigate internal and external chaos and it is about creating the conversations that are necessary to build new leadership – for ourselves, our communities and beyond. Our work matters. It matters even more than ever.

Time feels precious though and with that preciousness a renewed sense of urgency. So, whether you are making art, creative spaces of stillness, writing your truth, inviting in conversations which honour the earth, innovating new technologies, or offering healing, you are also offering hope…. and hope, as we know, is a verb. As love is. And verbs mean action. Those elegant next steps? They matter more than ever…

It can be so easy to feel overwhelmed, uncertain, cynical. What we choose to give our attention to matters. What we choose to create matters more than ever. 

So this week, can we steer our attention in the direction of beauty, notice it, amplify it in even the smallest of ways, and can we each take the next elegant step that we know is ours to take. One elegant step at a time…

Onwards. It matters more than ever.


Learning to do Business and Life as Unusual

Thrive School main banner
As you know, starting your own project or business is not easy. It brings up a whole host of questions and challenges. It brings up internal fears, vulnerabilities and doubts. There are logistic challenges, timing issues, design issues. There are lots of ‘what’s, how’s and why’s’.

It has been 7 months since I launched Thrive School and in that time it has been evolving, and I have been evolving too. One of my benchmarks for learning is when new questions show up. If I’ve no new questions then I’m not entering new territories of growth and development. At the moment, I have a ton of new questions!

Thrive School emerged from a vision to create networks of dreamers and do’ers; people who have a passion and drive to make a difference through their lives and work, and naturally have lots of questions too. I know that the questions can be overwhelming when we don’t have support, community and a framework for asking them. So in many ways Thrive School is evolving into that- a place to ask questions, learn through them and in doing so expand what is possible for each of us. It’s a place to evolve our dreams, ideas and ultimately ourselves too.

And so Thrive School a much about how we learn as what we learn. The how is so important as is will impact on our future how- how we bring the learning from the programme into our projects and lives. Here’s a few principles behind the Thrive School ‘how’, and why we think they matter….

 

Values based development

Think of your values like the keel of a ship. Our values help to keep us upright, especially in choppy waters. They give us weight, and support, and around them we can build our ship and sail it. Gaining a understanding of your personal values and how they impact and influence the business or project you are designing is critical to your own personal sanity and the project’s sustainability. Our values help to keep us grounded and on track. They help us to value our time, ourselves, our products and our pricing. They are the foundation stone and so we start there.

Life and Learning happens in cycles

Transformational learning is not a linear process. We learn in cycles and spirals. Sometimes we need to make the same mistake a few times before we really learn how to navigate the challenge in a fundamentally different way. Learning is accelerated when we take a cyclical approach: conscious action, then review, then adaption before we take action again. This way our learning is taken out of a linear process and into a spiral. This is the learning not just of growth but of adaptability and flexibility- two key skills necessary for any business or venture to thrive.

Structures Create Flow and Freedom

So many of us strive for freedom- freedom from 9-5, freedom from debt, freedom from certain external demands. Think of a bird- for it to fly a bird needs to instinctively know and respect the structure which the dynamics of wind currents, gravity and physics impose. It’s by embracing these that flight is championed. Our ultimate freedom comes when we understand and embrace the structures which work best for us. What boundaries do we need to have around our time, for instance; or what perameters do we need have around our spending and savings to give rise to financial flow. It’s the boundaries that give rise to the freedoms that we choose.

Energy management, not time management

Life happens in seasons and cycles. There are weeks when we have more energy and weeks when we have less. There is a season to launch something, and a season for letting go. Gaining a deeper appreciation of our own energy cycles helps us to move our days in relationship with what we are creating.

Peer to Peer and non ‘expert’ driven discussion and feedback loops

We are our own experts. The age of the guru is dead. At Thrive School we celebrate and honour expertise, know we each have something to offer. No one person has the ‘right’ answer for you- only you do, but we can listen to each other, learn from each other, and each strive for our own version of excellence.

Prototype, iteration, experimentation and play

We grow our ventures through cycles of experimentation, iteration and prototyping- each one building upon the next, which gives rise to the next. We encourage early prototyping, trying something small out, then making adjustments. We dream big but understand that it will take iterations to get there.

Time is precious

Our time is one of the most precious things we have. Time for ourselves, our families, our friends, our communities, our hobbies. There is a lot to pack in. At Thrive School we look at how we can best  value our time by developing business services, products and offering which respect our expertise and reflect back to us the value which we bring to the world.

Elegant next steps

Our big vision is powerful but we get there one step at a time. What is your elegant next step?… we ask this over and over of each other. And yes, we believe the process can be beautiful and elegant too.

 

These are just some of the core principles. As the school evolves, so too will they. This is learning in action, one elegant next step at a time.

… 

 

 The next 5 month Thrive School programme is about to happen in  DUBLIN.

Applications are open until noon on Tuesday 1st November.

 Apply online here now. 

Not in Ireland and interested in Thrive School? Stay in touch… I’m looking at ways to bring the material to a wider audience- it’s in evolution too. And if you’d like to offer me your input or ideas please do share with me via email: clare (at) claremulvany.ie – thank you!

Clare. xx


Curiosity Map

Curiosity Map

 

Something a little different on the blog today, a video!

There are many things which spark our interests. We all have passion and wonder within us. We all have a sense of curiosity. But at times each of us finds it hard to figure out our next moves.

And so, may I introduce ‘The Curiosity Map’ – a simple coaching tool to help you figure out your own next step and to nudge yourself gently onwards, carrying your sense of wonder with you.

This video was recorded about a year and a half ago, originally as part of my online Living Seasonally course. I have since got a dog and I have since set up Thrive School – just two of the things that made their way onto my map. It reminds me that what we focus on is so important. Our words are our maps.

Summary of the Curiosity Map process:

 

Step One: Brain dumb mind map – what is zooming around in there. Get it down on paper.

Step Two: What are the conversations you have been having this week. Trace the stories that you are telling…

Step Three: Compare the lists from step one and step two. Where is the overlap? Notice the patterns and themes which are emerging.

Step Four: Ask yourself, what one little step can I take on one of these overlapping areas.

Step Five: Take that step.

Step Six: Rinse and Repeat

 

Now over to you- start mapping- and hope you enjoy the process.

(PS: Yikes, it takes courage to share videos. Go me! And Go you too!)

Onwards,

Clare. x

Want to stay in touch for more resources, tools and creative practices? Sign up over here.

Thrive School potential 3

 

Thrive School Dublin starts in just a few weeks time. It’s 5 months of deep diving into your vision and mapping it out with the support, focus and skills to get you there. Applications open. More info here.


Writing the Way to our Answers

 

On Writing our Way to our Answers

Friends,

How are you? Really, I want to know.

What’s on your mind? What keeps you up at night? What questions do you carry? What is your heart longing to say? What is it that you want to birth? What is it that you want to jettison?  What is it that you plan to do with your own wild and precious life? 

Why do I ask? For many reasons.

I’ve been asking these questions of myself, and I suspect I’m not the only one.

You see, I’m marking several thresholds. Firstly, it’s been six months since I made the big move out of Dublin down to the wilds of West Cork. I’ve had six month of open landscape and big skies, of wild encounters and starry nights. I’ve had six months of coastal walks and hedgerow viewing, and each time I’m out in nature it seems like I am seeing it all for the first time-  it always seems like the first time, for it always is. The new is in the way the light arrives each day, or the uprising of a wave, or the tumble of cloud or the particular shade of green at that particular moment. Six months seems like nothing at all but it is enough for me to realise that the space has been releasing me from certain ideas I’ve had of myself, or even certain ambitions, and in turning inwards I am finding the energy and drive to turn outwards again, reimagined. It is exciting, and daunting, and I am so so grateful for this space, this landscape and this remarkable piece of land I get to inhabit for a while…

I’m stepping over another threshold too. It’s been 10 years since I started blogging, and 10 years since I set out on my crazy journey to write what was to become the book ‘One Wild Life’. It is so hard to believe it has been 10 years. (I have a surprise down the line for you all on that matter by the way- it is in development, so watch this space).  As I cross the threshold I have been reflecting in my journal on my journey since then; what I have learned, how I have changed, and what now wants to emerge.

I realise that I must have written hundreds of thousands of words over these 10 years, many of which were discarded, many of which sit in journals, some of which wound their way into blog posts or articles- yet each word in itself, whether kept or unkept, remembered or forgotten, is somehow life-giving. I say that even though I’ve abandoned two books in the last few years, and burnt the whole manuscript of my first novel. Yes, gone.

But they are not really gone. It is just that the form I was placing upon them was forced, and the words I was choosing to share were not really the true ones. I was pushing them into a shape that they didn’t fit into. And beyond that, I was scared to let them take me to my edge, to that raw place of truth and beauty were great writing goes. Now I know that the fear is a signpost; it tells me I am on to a good thing, the honest thing, the brave thing, the uncomfortable thing, the thing that pushes as my edges and takes me outside myself to be able to go inside myself with more force, grace and determination. And so in a funny way my fear tells me to trust that more words will come, and those words will change me. What shape they land in doesn’t really matter because the words in themselves are the life-giving force. The words themselves generate. They carry new ideas, insights, possibilities, connections. It is in the writing that the magic happens.

And yet, there is power too in the witness. When we do choose to put our words into the world, we never really no where they’ll land, who they’ll touch, how they may stir things, who they could infuriate or who they will resonate with. Whatever happens afterwards is beyond us. In the space between us and the reader is another clink of magic.

So I know words matter and I sense that how they land is out of our control. But what I think really matters is that we write them in the first place; for the love of it, for the connection to our creativity and our fear, and for the fundamental need to give voice to our voice. While I have not always been entirely consistent with mine, writing has given me a channel to my voice and a place where I have full expression. It’s both liberating, and connecting, and yes, I repeat, life-giving.

And so I ask again.

What’s on your mind? What keeps you up at night? What questions do you carry? What is your heart longing to say? What is it that you want to birth? What is it that you want to jettison?  What is it that you want to do with your own wild and precious life? 

Write it out, my friends, write it out out out. Listen to the place where fear tells you to go. Listen to the places of solace too, for you’ll be writing your very own map to your own answers. It’s your personal guide and who knows where it will land you.

And if you need a witness, I’m also here. I’d love to read what you have to say. So, feel free to write to me my friends… What’s on your mind? What keeps you up at night? What questions do you carry? What is your heart longing to say? What is it that you want to birth? What is it that you want to jettison?  What is it that you want to do with your own wild and precious life?

Replies to clare (at) claremulvany.ie

I’m curious to see where this takes you. And me.

Onwards,

Clare xx

 

……………………..

(And for a little musical treat, I heard Ger Wolfe perform in Levis Corner House in Ballydehob on Sunday Night, and this song, with all its magical simplicity and charm, had me in tears. So if you need some respite from all the questions, for the TV, from the radio, from the government, from the crazy times, may this be it! )

……………………..

Want to say in touch? Sign up to my mailing list for updates, resources and notes from my heart to yours.

………………………

Thrive School potential 3

 

Thrive School is DUBLIN and CORK is open for applications. How about 5 months to dive into your dreams, vision and a support structure to bring your plans to life. Find out more and apply online here.


Doing the things that make our hearts beat faster… 

doing the things that make our hearts beat faster

It is about connection. It is about creating. It is about following those lines or curiosity until they take you to the next path, then the next.

The things that makes your heart beat faster? Well, they are the things that bring a sparkle to your eye, make you want to keep going, make you feel alive at a soul level, that essential level, that place that you know is home.

I want more of these moments in my life because it’s the moments that make a life. So I ask myself, what am I willing to let go of in order to allow them to enter. What can I re-shuffle? What edge can I step towards? And where is my deep yes.

Making a list of the things, those heart beating moments, brings me closer. The list helps to take us to them because writing them down makes them visible, and where it’s visible we can focus.

So here are some of mine… the deep yes, the beat enduring moments: 

It’s those times when I’m listening to someone share their honest, open, brave, raw, indomitable truth – the kind that not only makes my heart beat faster but rips it open too.

It is those moments when I’m painting, about to do the final flick or make brave stroke that will either make it or break it.

It’s when I’m writing and I feel that the words are flowing through me, as if gifted from another.

It is when I reach out to someone I admire and get a loving response.

It is those times on the yoga mat, especially when I have resisted being there, when my body and bones come to a place of surrender and release, clicking itself back into alignment

It’s in the meeting of a stranger, when in a look, an instant, you know you have a friend – that look offers a safe passage to a knowing which time and distance bear no consequence.

It’s with camera in hand, when light is *just perfect* and with a timely click, the elegant and mystical can creep through the lens.

It is those racing moments before I launch- a project, a website, a new offering- when ALL the fear and vulnerability is shouting into the inner chambers of my being while simultaneously waving the red button before my fingertips. Click.

It is sitting in stillness, in silence, until I can hear the sound of my own beat.

It is that second when driving across the Irish landscape an opening occurs-  a parting of clouds or the way the light gathers on the green and heather, setting it aglow.

It is just before I’m about to speak in front of a group, especially when I know what I’m about to say is not necessarily the easiest, or most popular, but wants to be said.

It is travelling to a new place, knowing no one, but trusting I soon will.

It is pressing publish.

 

And yours?

 

Go ahead, give yourself a few minutes with your journal to remind yourself what your heart is calling for. What will make you feel alive? You are already close to it. The list will help to take closer. And remember: in the writing it become visible, and where it is visible we can focus.

…..

 

Want to stay in touch? Sign up here for updates,  free resources and word of happenings…

 

….


The Anatomy of Thriving 

The anatomy of thriving insta

 

What does it mean to really Thrive? How does it feel in the body? And how can we thrive in both business and life?

We were huddled around the table at the last Thrive School gathering when the idea of collectively creating an ‘Anatomy of Thriving’ came to us. It was a way of opening up the conversation about what it means to really thrive as we create our own ventures.

So often on the entrepreneurial journey personal wellbeing is sacrificed in the face of financial or social goals. We can drive projects onwards to the point that we may have a thriving business but we are left depleted. Or we may be so cautious about expending our own energy or stepping out of our comfort zone that we don’t manage to build the momentum needed to carry our creative energy and momentum forward. So where’s the balance? And what are the ingredients to that sweet spot of thriving?

I rolled out a long piece of paper and drew the outline of a body (which we reckoned looked more like a flat Morph than anything human, but none the less…. )

Here’s some of the thriving elements we came up with. It’s a collective work in progress, a Thrive School prototype. As it stands, a helpful guide. I’d love to hear what you’d add too….

Stay earthed: It’s that ground beneath your feet. It’s your community. It’s your sense of place. It’s your values. It’s your gravity and your gravitas. To rise one must first root.

Take the first step: You may not know the final form, but your first step will help determine it. The first step can be tiny. Take it. Reach out to another. Send that email. Ask that question.

Create boundaries: Boundaries may be conversations you need to have with potential partners, or the way you structure your time. They may be decisions  about who you share your dreams with. It may even be how much sleep you get. Your boundaries, like the banks in a river, help to give you momentum and direction. Build some. Let them guide you.

Follow your Gut: More often than not your gut is right. It’s the primary and visceral response. Does it feel right in your gut- then it probably is. Does it feel wrong or wary? Then it probably is too…

Be young at heart: Play. Prototype. Experiment. Where’s the fun in it? Fun is a signpost too. It’s there to be followed.

Try your hand: Give it a go. If it fails you can give something else a go. There is learning in that, and where there is learning there is growth.

Amplify your voice: Your story is your gold. You’re worth the weight of it. Get to know the nuances of your own story and then let your voice carry you onwards. Always.

Open your Eyes: There are opportunities everywhere. See patterns. See connections. Join the dots. Make the connections. Observe, then act.

Allow trust to infiltrate everywhere: Trust is the weave of connection between it all. Trust your gut, trust your instinct. Trust that there will be people to guide you and support you. Trust will lead you in the right direction. Trust is the currency of action. Believe in goodness.

Now over to you? What would you add? Dissect away..

Interested in Thrive School? Applications are now open for new cohorts on Cork and Dublin. Apply online here. We start in Cork on Oct 15th and Dublin on Nov 6th

Want to stay in touch? Sign up to newsletter for more updates, resources and happenings…


What to do on a slump day…

What to do on a slump day

 

We all have them- those days we’d rather not. The day the internal weather turns on us and we’d rather hide.

I had one last week. It had started with big intentions-  to get up early, to do yoga, to dive into work and turn up my energy and productivity. It didn’t happen. I fell back asleep. I did a very brief bit of yoga. I felt resistance to being at my laptop. I ate cake.

Working for myself I try to put best habits in place, be consistent and show up to my work with gratitude for the opportunity and the freedom. But that day, quite simply, I didn’t want to. I wanted to hide. I wanted companionship and I started to question it ALL.

What does it matter in the bigger scheme of things? And I doing the real and important work? Does what I do make any difference at all? Who am I kidding?

The latter question in particular is an open door to my inner critic. For me it’s the ‘your so lazy you’ll never get there’ voice. And when that voice starts it gives rise to lots of others. There is the ‘imposter voice’- this is the ‘who do you think you are’ voice. Then there is the voice which is constantly worrying about building my business and finance- this is the voice which says ‘here you go again, it will never work’.  Then there is the more personal one that thinks I’ll be single and alone for the rest of my life- the ‘you’re not good enough voice’. Pretty soon there is a party in my head and the chatter so deafening it is no wonder I want to hide.

It turns out though that most of us have parties in our head. I know of no person who doesn’t experience it from time to time; and of course, I know for some people, the conversation is so loud it challenges longer term function.

What I say now is directed towards the days when you do feel in a slump, and need to find ways to quite the critic. That voice is so sabotaging, and learning to manage it and speak calmly to it is one of the most valuable learning adventures we can go on.

Here are a some of the few ways I find useful. It’s not a definitive list and quite personal to me, so I’d love to hear yours too… 

 Go for a walk

Nature has so many answers for us. The rhythm of the day, the pattern of the seasons, the crest of a wave reminds us that everything passes. The voice will pass too. When I put my ear up against a gush of wind or the whirl of the sea, the inner voice softens and I hear a deeper wisdom, ‘this too shall pass’.

Open the ‘cheerleading folder’ 

I have a folder in in email account called ‘cheerleaders’. These are emails I have kept on file from friends, readers and clients who say the good things. They are reminders of the small or big ways my work has reached and influenced them. They are like electronic bouncing castles for the spirit. Everyone should have a cheerleading folder!

Name the inner critic

Give that voice a name, an actual name, like Betty or Bob, or Hilda. When the voice arrives, welcome it and say, ’Here’s Hilda again, I wonder what’s up with her today’, then thank her and ask her to leave now because you are busy and have work to do. Naming the voice does’t deny it but does help to put it in its place. It helps to separate yourself from it too and opens some space from a more positive reaction and response.

Do a job on your list that you enjoy 

So maybe the day that your inner critic is speaking loudly is a day you have all the nasty jobs on your list. Scrap that. Instead, do a job that brings you joy, or if it’s not a job, ring a person that brings you joy. Or if not a person, dance in the kitchen, sing in the bath, jump up and down, shake something out. Some action is important. Physical activity really helps. Chats with good friends can work wonders too. Share it, shake it!

Write it out

Journal. Journal. Journal. Scribble. Getting the voice on paper is another way of distancing it. If it is on paper it’s not in your head- or at least not in your head as much.

Shake up your environment, shake up your routine

Walk to work the same route every morning? Change your direction.

Sit at the same place in your house if you are working from home? Move. Work in the garden, or in the bathtub, or on the floor. Changing your external perspective can help to shift your internal perspective. I love to go to a coffee shop and work there too, depending on my mood.

Get off your screens

Turn off your phone, laptop, tv and social media. There are so many messages swarming at us that on days when we are not in great headspace they are amplified and can be so utterly tormenting. Reducing tech stimulation helps to quiet the mind. When it’s not possible to entirely switch off, can you become more aware of your reading and viewing patterns, and limit the time you are using?

Get dressed up

Even if you are working from home, get dressed as if you are going to a really important meeting, or date! Put on the good clothes, put on the red lipstick (or whatever your equivalent is!) , brush your hair. Showing up to yourself, especially on the days when you couldn’t be bothered, helps you to see yourself differently. The inner critic hates that…

Give in (for a day… )

Somedays it just doesn’t budge or you don’t have the energy. Let the day slide. Stay in bed. Go to the cinema. Give yourself permission to have a slow day… the inner critic loves to chime in when you are tired but feeling obliged to be full of energy. Giving ourselves permission is one of the biggest game changers, and one of the hardest to implement… so before you go to bed that night, set some intentions for the following day. Plan your schedule. Set your outfit out and pre-empt some of the critic thoughts. Tomorrow is always another day.

And when all else fails, find a puppy! 

It’s hard to be down when there is a little playful animal around! For me, it’s Milly. On days when I just don’t feel up for anything, she still demands love, attention, cuddles and walks. In giving them I receive then all too… and somehow the slump is de-slumped!

Over to you.. any thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? 

………………………………………………………

Thrive School potential 2Thrive School is soon coming to Cork and Dublin. It’s a 5 month programme to build momentum, learn strategies to design your life and business and take your elegant next steps with grit and grace… Find out more over here. 

 

 

Want to stay in the loop? Sign up to my mailing list for monthly creative stirs and resources…

 

testimonial

Time to Thrive…

newsandevents

It is time to open the doors again.

Inside, connection awaits. Learning, support, friendship, challenge and opportunity too.

Inside, there is a gathering of rich ideas and eager hearts. There is vulnerability, doubt, bravery, questioning, imperfection, courage and momentum.

I’m talking about Thrive School.

Thrive School has been running now for 5 months, and I have been learning so much. I am encouraged and inspired by the participants. Each have a spark of an idea, want a better life for themselves, and others. There is so much talent, so much potential.

Part of my learning is this:

Universally, I see that keeping momentum going is so hard. Universally, the inner critic chimes in and sets the internal sabotaging demons on the loose. To have a dream, to believe in it, and then to get up and do something about it- well that takes guts. No one said it was going to be easy. But necessary, yes…

I don’t use ‘necessarily’ lightly here. I am a big dreamer. I am always always thinking of the next thing, the next solution. What I have learned is that those dreams are like fuel for my soul and my sanity. The dream is momentum. The dream is my gold. The dream helps me to stay connected to my essence, divinity, power, energy.

Thrive School potential 3And when we are each connected to our dreams and our vision? Well, we have collective rocket fuel. We have a world which is evolving.

You see, I think we need it all now- the talent, ideas and creativity. We need people who are awake, on fire, in love, devoted. The world is going through complex change. It’s easy to loose hope, and the alternative of despair will only set us in circles. We need those dreams;  we desperately need new creative solutions.

But we don’t have to do it alone. When we share our dreams, we find allies and supporters, collaborators, clients, funders, beneficiaries, customers, partners and people who we be there for us just at that critical moment when we may be running out of fuel…

Evolve your dream and in doing so you’ll serve others. 

In a way you could also call Thrive School a dream factory- a space where people have a chance to share theirs, work on theirs, prototype parts of it, ditch parts of it, discuss and learn tools to build it. Some dreams may take wings, others may pivot into something else… but at a minimum it will have been listened to, given voice and given space to express itself.

Want to be a writer? Great- let’s looks at the support you need to make that happen, the ways you can bring in income to fund it and the ways you are going to get your voice out into the world?

Thrive SchoolYou’re a yoga teacher but finding it hard to find you niche in a community already flooded with yoga teachers. What a great challenge. Let’s looks at ways you can connect with others, design a new programme, and bring yoga into places where it is needed to most…

Your already an artist but find it so so so hard to promote your work and share it online? You are like so many others… let’s take it one step at a time, looking at how to get your work into the right places and the right story to accompany it…

Want to eventually leave your current job to develop a new creative business venture? Great – come and prototype your idea, learning what may work, refine your target audience and test your thinking before you make the big transition…

Thrive School opens it’s doors again in Dublin and a brand new programme in West Cork. 

Topics include visioning, marketing, programme development, finance and sustaining momentum. There are 15 places on each programme.

We start on 15th Oct in Cork, and Nov 6th  in Dublin 

Applications now open, and come along to the open days…

Find out more here.

And if you want to discuss more, message me and we can arrange a skype call to see if you are a good fit.

Thank you…

Clare xx


Working with Accountability

working with accountabilty

 

It may come across as a little clinical, but being accountable is one of the most liberating experiences I’ve had while running my own business. I like to think of accountability like a river:  the river would be but a deluge were it not for it’s banks and it’s bed. For the river to flow fluidly and effectively, it must have some boundaries.

For me accountability is about setting myself a goal or challenges and then having some mechanisms to help me stay on track– or banks to my freedom. These boundaries can be self regulated or externally regulated- either way though they are there to support my output and momentum.

Working alone from home most of the time it can be very challenging, distracting and at times isolating. To overcome this I have tried to build in accountablity into my weekly routine. When I have let this slip I notice a huge reduction not just in my creativity and productivity, but also in morale and mood.

yitzhaks-visit--oct-14-68_15527928732_o

So, here a few ways to work with accountability- both self regulated and externally, with some tips for working with an accountability partner…

Set Deadlines

Deadlines are key. Create as many small deadlines as you can by breaking down projects into smaller chunks. As much as possible communicate those deadlines to others. And when you reach a deadline, celebrate or mark it in some way. Marking it helps you to have a feeling of momentum or achievement. Depending on the milestone, the celebration can be a simple as going for a walk or stopping for a cup of tea.

Create regular communications

A weekly blog, a monthly newsletter, a regular podcast or a consistent video release date- having an editorial calendar can help to keep you externally accountable to an readership or support base. Having to produce regular content builds in rhythm and structure to your week and keeps you connected with your clients and network.

Visualise Commitments

Make your goals visible and check in with them on at least a weekly basis. I have mine written up on a A3 sheet of paper which I keep close to my current workspace, and share them with my accountability buddies…

Accountability Buddy

By far one of the most powerful things I have done is work with accountability buddy. This is someone- usually a friend- who agrees to check in with me on a regular basis (generally once a week) and I with them. We share our goals, check in with our momentum and help to keep each other on track. They act as a supportive, listening ear but also someone to challenge, nudge and remind me of what I am are capable of. Importantly they help me see my blindspots and some of the things that I am are overlooking. Ideally we have a good laugh too…

It is important to choose the right person tough, as not all friends will ‘get it’. For myself, a fellow creative or social entrepreneur works best for me; someone who is on a similar path and working on their own big vision.

be-retreat--0820_8231295863_o

 

Here are a few tips for choosing a working with an accountability buddy..

Check in at regularly time slots

Approach it professionally. Especially if you are working with a close friend, treat your accountability arrangement like you would a regular business meeting. Arrive early. Prepare. Stick to the time allocated- this means it is more likely to continue. If you are working with a friend, for instance, but each time to meet it runs on for hours and hours, you can end up regretting the arrangement as you may feel it is distracting from family time or other work time.

You can choose to meet on Skype, in person, or a mixture of both. You may find that at the beginning of your arrangement checking in weekly works best, but then it might move to every two weeks. Keep having conversations about what is working and what is not, reviewing and adapting as you go.

Have a pilot period

Again, especially if you are working with a friend, try it out for a short time first- maybe a three month timeframe. After the agreed timeframe review and see how you are both getting on. Always prioritise friendship. If you arrangement is getting in the way of that, maybe you are not right for each other as accountably buddies but perfect for each other as friends!

Work with your big vision

Let your buddy know your big dream or vision. Let then know what you really really want. Let them in on the secret desire… because they can help to remind you want it is your are working for, especially on days when you feel lost or lacking traction. Your buddy can raise the flag of your future and remind you it is there for the taking.

Agree parameters upfront

Agree with your accountability partner what you are seeking support on. Maybe you want advice on your business model- but maybe you don’t. Maybe you want their input on the design of your website, but maybe you don’t. Unsolicited feedback is some of the most unproductive kinds of feedback and can really deaden a relationship. Working with an accountability buddy doesn’t have to be license to critique everything. So be clear on the kind of support you are seeking on how you want that support to be given.

Avoid complaining (too much!)

We all have bad days. One of the advantages of working with an accountability partner is to have someone to travels the ups and downs with, but if it becomes a regular moan-fest, then it is a joy and momentum killer. Focus on solutions. One of the most powerful questions I know is; ‘what is your elegant next step’. It dilutes drama and shifts things into proactive and productive mode…

Ask proactive questions

Your accountability partner can help you see things you are not seeing. Here are a few questions which may come in handy:

  • what am I not seeing?
  • where are the gaps?
  • what are my blindspots?
  • are there additional opportunities you see?
  • who/ what else should I be consulting?
  • how else can my thinking be challenged on this?

So, how can you create some accountability for yourself? Think about who you may choose and what would be good parameters for your buddy arrangement…

……….

Maybe I can help too…

If you are looking for an accountability buddy, then perhaps we are a good fit? I have a new coaching package which is designed to get you clear on your commitments and keep you on track. Check out ‘Accountability Buddy’ here, and if you are interested let me know, we can arrange a preliminary chat and take it from there…

If you are in the Dublin or Cork regions of Ireland you may also be interested in Thrive School– a 6 month training programme for creative and social entrepreneurs, freelancers, doers and trailblazers! As part off the programme we build in an accountability structure, working with two other peers over the course of the programme. Thrive School is launching again in Dublin and Cork in October. Find out more over here…

….

Want to say in touch? Sign up to my newsletter to stay in the loop…

 

4457746772_76f0b49393_o