My inspiration for today’s post cames from a good friend of mine Kristiina Kettunen, the founder of Lyckoboda – a design company with tradition. She asked me for help the other day. How could she become more ‘commercially thinking’ in her approach? Kristiina is an amazing woman who has build her business purely starting from her heart and passion. She listens to her inner calling and takes small but lasting steps to build a sustainable and lovable brand.
I’ve always been very commercial in my approach. Women often shy away from ‘thinking about money’ as it is seen greedy or not genuine. I have never thought you could not build something that stems from your heart AND try to make it profitable. I believe being commercially savvy and building value in the long term is good for everybody: it is good for me as it frees up my resources and it is good for people around me as I can provide jobs and opportunities for others. Kristiina told me she would like to change the story she tells herself which until now has been that ‘she is not that interested in money’. She had put a negative spin on ‘money’. She realised this stemmed from something she was subjected to earlier in life and wanted to change her story. The new story may not be, and should not be, totally opposite. It may be a question of a small discovery that might change her life. Like a ship in the sea changes its course and after many weeks of sailing ends up in a new port!
Most people dream about better life. achieving more and being successful. The mantra for achieving something is to set goals and to monitor success. Everyone can set bold goals but how many people want to change their current daily life and routines? We keep repeating our daily patterns and wonder why we end up with the same result over and over again. Wouldn’t it be great if by setting bold enough goals things would magically happen?
It may be possible that goals are our worst enemy when it comes to improving our lives. It creates a cushion, an illusion that we are trying to do something. But what really stops us from looking at improvements in difficult areas that need changing is the story we tell ourselves in our heads, often over and over again. This story dictates our daily routines and our daily routines determine what we get done at the end of the day. For example ‘I’m not good with money’ or ‘I need 8 hours of sleep’.
I made a decision to write a book about women who follow their passion and set up internet based companies. That was in October 2012. I set up great goals and booked time in my calendar to write my book. Nothing happened. I was trying to achieve new results within my normal daily schedule without changing anything. I have now made a good start with the book through interviews and that is going well. (If you have ideas who I should talk to, please hit ‘Comment’ at the bottom of this post!) Moreover, I have noticed that during the day when I have to take care of business and family it is difficult to get any writing done. The only way I can make time is to get up at 5 am to write! My negative story is that I need 8 hours of sleep and getting up a 5 pm is outside of my comfort zone. It is time to change that sad old story or the book will remain a distant dream.
I interviewed Nicole Antoinette, the founder of LifeLessBullshit.com for my book. She talks about ‘Change your story, change your life in her blog. She has a brilliant piece of advice: it is not enough to want something badly, you also have to change your habits, to do something concrete. You should read her experience as a boudoir model! “Self-limiting belief is only self-limiting until you let it go” as she discovers she is quite photogenic after all.
I have another personal negative story I’d like to share: ‘I don’t understand the digital space and social media’. I felt I was falling so far behind the digital natives and my all-time-digital-hero Ville Tolvanen (it’s good to have role models, but I think they only make you feel worse..). But two years ago I simply decided to make a start, a small change. I started writing my blog LifeAsADesign.com and investigating what was going on in the wider digital-world beyond the comfort zone of Facebook.
Most importantly, I started buying WIRED instead of VOGUE from the news stand! I had previously thought WIRED was for geeks (well, it is) but I changed it into ‘I am the sort of person who reads WIRED on a flight’. I have no intention to lear HTML code but at least I have a clue what is going on. I am writing down the names of interesting people I find in the magazine. I’m checking out websites. I’m sending emails. I’m exploring!
5 steps to change something concrete today:
1) Identify one negative story that is limiting you
‘I don’t like olives’ may sound much easier to change than ‘I’m no good at math’, but to turn the corner, to make a small change with great impact the latter will be much more fruitful.
2) Re-write your self limiting belief
Make a small change. Don’t try to go for the exact opposite in one go as it is not realistic. For instance you could change ‘I’m not good with money’ into ‘money is ok and I should become more friendly with it’, rather than ‘I love money and it is really important to me’.
3) Define a small habit you can create immediately
It is important to pick something small and easy to implement. Ideally it should be something you can repeat most days, such as wake up at 5 am instead of 7 am. It can be something that replaces an old habit or it may be a new habit you create. But be realistic, don’t try to create a habit that takes too much time or resources. Start small. Buy a different magazine. Go sit in the front row instead of the back.
4) Talk to someone about your new story
Saying your ambition our loud and making it public will re-enforce it and make it more difficult for you to slip out. Hit ‘comment’ at the end of this post to share your new story with us. I’m sure my husband reads this blog post and will kick me out of bed at 5 am tomorrow!
5) Be aware of the changes that are happening
Monitor progress and add more habits that support your new story once the first habit becomes part of your routine. After a while you won’t be able to understand why you ever had that silly old story in the first place!
Good luck. But remember, luck is not a strategy!