When it comes to mateship, probably nobody nailed it as well as the Beatles. Who but the most ardent fan knows what disputes over management, egos and Japanese artists threatened the band, but one thing’s certain they created many memorable albums together.
I think they’d agree that a little “HELP” and friendship was the key to their longevity. True friendship and putting one’s hand up for help all require vulnerability, a word that’s thrown around all too often these days by leadership coaching types. Please, before you write this one off as yet one of those articles urging you to put down your walls and put out your hand for a little help on any project you’re stuck on, consider that this one’s my call for help.
And if you’re reading this, you have something I want that will help me in rewriting my first solo book How to Create Time.
Your Gold Nuggets, Rubies, Sequins, Pearls, etc.. of Wisdom are Wanted
My friend Daryl often prefaces his advice with “Young lady, I don’t know why I’m telling you this and I don’t mean to lecture you…” before dispensing his views shaped by the experiences life has thrown at him in running and ruining business ventures. He’s seen the good, the bad and the ugly and of course he’s got something to say about it and I love hearing what all those experiences, success and learnings (not failures) have shaped his views of the world. He continues to live a full life where he’s making observations that I find interesting mainly because he reinforces my view of the world, which is this:
Keep challenging yourself to follow your curiority and you will grow (no matter how old you may think you are) to experience life’s wonders that bring you joy.
The place for your gold nuggets, pearls, rubies and sequins of wisdom is my book “How to Create Time”. It started off as a practical book on using technology to achieve more in less time. Now it’s a book on getting to know yourself, what brings you joy and energises you so that you’re moving with (and not wasting energy going against) the creative force of the universe which is your innate gift.
What How to Create Time is About
It’s a book of my search for a fulfilling life/work situation. I don’t separate life from work as both require an investment of personal energy for short and long terms returns which may be in the form of spiritual or material fulfilment to sustain one’s existence as a well being.
It Takes a Village… to Publish a Book
In my case, I’m lucky to have this village called Crows Nest where as much as the books I read, it’s the people I see and talk to who nourish my brainchild, my book. The birth of How to Create Time is near but unlike the gestation of a human baby, it’s never known for certain when the book will be ready to meet the outer world.
I can tell you that I certainly feel the painful contractions as I buckle down to push it out. This is the stage where heart and mind must keep expanding to ensure what comes out isn’t damaged or starved by the costrictions of the ego.
As much as the following books have influenced me, it’s the people around me and in my community who brought them to my attention who must be given credit as the midwives of my brainchild.
- Flying Solo: How to Go It Alone in Business by Robert Gerrish lent to me by a gifted teacher, Kate, who used to run her own home business.
- The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo recommended to me by a lady with a knack for making spaces and cakes very pretty in their unique way. Thank you, Sophia.
- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman recommended to me by a colleague in yet another failed employment attempt of mine. Thank you Jake…
- The Camelot Oracle: A Quest for Fulfilment Through the Arthurian World by John Matthews was a gift to myself while I was hanging out with the fantasy writer Angharad Thompson Rees.
- Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want by Barbara Sher and thank you Glin for inspiring me to reach out by starting a book on living in accordance with one’s innate gifts.
How You Fit In…
Somewhere along the way, you offered me mentorship (James, I’m looking at you), inspired me (Daryl, Jake, Tristan, Zeina, Denise, Paul, Hima, Luke and Tony) and I’d love to honour this bond by including you in the book. Below is the outline with some prompts and if you can offer your nuggets, I will work them into the fabric of this book to give its sparkle.
The Outline of How to Create Time
“…originality consists in returning to the origin.”
What’s your 5 min story?
Mine begins in the Aegean town of Izmir, where as a child I was immersed in the wisdom of the Ancient Greeks (thanks to dad’s book collection), absorbing the archetypes and ideas they introduced to the world.
The Second Act took me from DC, where I observed how capitalist fundamentalism corrupted the good in democracy and then back to my birth town, Istanbul, to observe as religion corrupted politics.
The Third Act has begun in Sydney where for the first time I’m coming into my own as a writer, following my bliss, the creative force within me.
This has me writing “How to Create Time” a guide for anyone feeling stuck in pursuing the life they must live before it’s too late.
YOUR UNIQUE GIFT
“While we have the gift of life, it seems to me the only tragedy is to allow part of us to die – whether it is our spirit, our creativity or our glorious uniqueness..”
This chapter is all about how I stumbled onto my writing gift. This was actually the most obvious thing about me as I was born playing with words. Somehow the idea that writing isn’t a practical thing, or indeed all art is impractical and people following the creative path will starve is deeply ingrained.
Here I challenge this concept.
Can you add your stories of how you “found” and developed your unique gifts into a business?
YOUR CORE VALUES
“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”
-Roy E. Disney
I used Avis Mulhall and Scott Jeffrey’s online based training platforms to distil my values to three things:
With these values defined and linked key behaviours, I prioritise activities which serve my growth in these areas.
Have you identified core values and key behaviours and how have these helped you save time and make time for the essentials which nourish your life and work (which are the same thing in my view)?
THE HERO’S JOURNEY
“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder. Fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won.”
I adapted the hero’s journey to write this book and map out my transformation from unsuccessful marketer to the Holy Grail of published author with her own roundtable of professional freelancers committed to telling local business stories of her corner of the world.
Have you adapted the hero’s journey as a framework to track your progress or deal with setbacks knowing that resurrection will come after the dark night of the soul?
VALUE YOUR TIME
“Time is more value than money. You can get more money but you can’t get more time.”
Here I provide practical tips on putting dollar value on your time. My hourly rate for clients is $60AUD/hr. If I were to do barters, I’d base it on this figure to ensure what I’m getting is a fair exchange for my time.
I also share tips from the book Clockwork on identifying the essential Queen Bee Role (in my case writing) and find ways to outsource or automate other tasks using affordable and scalable technology or service providers.
Can you share your methods for ensuring your time is valued?
MEET YOUR MENTOR
“I claim Dickens as a mentor. He’s my teacher. He’s one of my driving forces.”
King Arthur is my spiritual mentor. I access him through meditating on Tarot cards. I also have a business mentor who keeps me accountable with my business plans, milestones and putting ideas into practice. I am aiming to get a writing mentor.
How did you find your mentor(s)? Any words of caution on finding the right person and avoiding mentors who are bullies in disguise?
ATTRACT YOUR ALLIES
“Sharing skills and resources is a deep human pleasure and need that’s wired into our survival.”
- A visionary/creative thinker – This is James, my business coach
- An economist / realist – My wonderful accountant, Hima
- A personal well-being manager –
- A virtual assistant –
- A friendly geek/IT whiz – My web developer, Luke!
Anything to contribute on finding a professional team that keeps you happy, healthy, sane and in the black?
THE ART OF BARTER
“To barter and lose is better than not to go forth.”
Here I share a great experience with a local photographer and a bad experience with an app developer. Bottomline, place dollar amount on your time so you feel it’s a fair exchange and don’t have negative emotions or remorse about the exchange.
Any experiences with bartering you can add?
THE POWER OF “NO”
“If you are unhappy with anything – whatever is bringing you down – get rid of it. Because you will find that when you are free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.”
This is about building the strength to say “no” to anything that doesn’t strengthen your core values and means straying from key behaviours. Practice, practice, practice to build your “no” muscle.
Anything to contribute here from your own businesses?
BUILD YOUR ROUNDTABLE
“At a roundtable there’s no dispute about place.”
This is about holding space and not trying to manipulate other creative professionals’ businesses with your advice but simply listening. A functional roundtable is one where everyone is respected. The best work comes out of truly understanding the people and not trying to control them.
In saying this, as you’re a professional, only have people around your table as suppliers and service providers who deliver on time and communicate any issues that may prevent meeting deadlines. This roundtable I have in mind is an organic referral network of people whose work you know intimately. No bullshit here.
Are you actively building roundtables of service providers who do your clients’ work? For example, a book cover designer or typesetter?
“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going..”
I joined referral networks to get business straight away but these backfired. I could not just buy my clients. I had to earn them through doing the work, writing. I also had a horrible experience with an online training session which I thought would carry me to a successful writing practice, but nope. I’m a writer, I must write, publish, grow and this is the only thing that will attract my clients.
Anything you can share about trialling shortcuts in your creative/business practices?
LIFE AFTER DEAD ENDS
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”
I was creating and managing Insta feeds for cafes and restaurants. I spent lots of time, made very little money in return. It taught me to have a conversation around budget, put $ amount on my time. Failure is an opportunity to learn.
Any dead ends and the learnings from those you can share?
OFFER YOUR BEST SELF
“As a (small) businessperson you have no greater leverage than the truth.”
This is the woowoo section on centering yourself, meditating so your spiritual well is always full and you can express your truths always.
Have you got a spiritual practice you can share and how that gets you to your most generous and true self?
THE HOLY GRAIL OF WORK LIFE INTEGRATION
The following is the Soloist’s Manifesto from Robert Gerrish and Sam Leader’s excellent book “Flying Solo”.
Why I’ve Chosen to be a Freelance Writer
- Unlike employment, freelancing allows me to feel liberated not obligated.
- The playing fields are perfectly level.
- Freelancing allows me to create my own measures of success.
- I have the freedom to be spontaneous.
- Freelancing allows me to make the most of being myself.
- I get to keep my priorities at the top of my action list.
Why I’m Suited to be a Freelancer
- I maintain a healthy level of self-confidence
- I’m self-aware and naturally inquisitive.
- I enjoy being mentally stimulated.
- I strive for authenticity and integrity in all I do.
- I’m proactive and enjoy fully participating.
- I hold myself accountable and do not make excuses.
- I am disciplined and responsible with money.
Why it’s So Good for Me
- I have the freedom to fully express myself through my work.
- What I do is totally congruent with who I am.
- I feel an overriding sense of freedom each and every day.
- I face my future head-on. There’s no hiding.
- I do not have to unwind. The pace of my business is the pace of my life.
- Freelancing constantly stretches and challenges my boundaries and my limitations.
- Freelancing gives me the confidence to hold my ground.
What I Believe
- I know that if others can do it, I can do it.
- If this is a ‘job’, it’s a damn fine one!
- I champion innovation and free thinking.
- Live for the present and enjoy it to the full.
- I respect the relationship between beliefs and outcomes and channel my thoughts accordingly.
- If I’m not passionate about my work, I need to do something else.
- With the right attitude, I’ll be a magnet for inspirational ideas.
- An inspiring vision must always be at the heart of my solo venture.
- Being myself is not just good for my soul, it’s good for business.
- By loving my work I attract opportunities and promote word-of-mouth referrals.
- It’s better to be heard well by one person than forgotten by five hundred.
- The secret to managing time is to first know what to do with it.
The Way I Work
- I run my solo business as I choose.
- I set my own pace.
- I engage and participate fully in all that I do.
- I don’t need permission to take a break from anyone other than me.
- I don’t need to follow the example of bigger businesses.
- I focus on what I have, not on what I do not have.
- I conduct my business from wherever I choose.
- I freely share my knowledge and wisdom with others.
- I listen deeply to my clients and prospects, developing genuine empathy with them.
- I position myself firmly in the flow of ideas, influences and information.
- I like to get the ear of influential people.
- I take responsibility for my mistakes.
- While I may do what others do, I strive to do it better and do it my way.
- I acknowledge the role of research and development in the evolution of my practice.
- I consider my clients and customers to be my partners.
- I attach great importance to the relationships around me.
- I work to surround myself with supporters.
- I do not binge; I’m consistent in my actions.
- I know when and where to focus my energies.
- I know the value of my work and charge accordingly.
- I have determined my rates and do not work for less.
- I do not carry junk and clutter in my work.
- I have a clear way of reviewing my performance and do so regularly.
- I protect my energy sources by taking breaks.
- I put myself first.
Over to you…
Thank you for making it this far and I hope you can contribute your wisdom to this book I think is very relveant to our times and is being, despite its challenges, a fun thing to write.