Let’s assume you know your business vision and why you are doing what you do. It can be so easy to get caught up in the daily.
So how do you stay on track in the fast-paced environment of a small business where you juggle so much? According to ASBFEO, In 2015, there were 1,980,401 small businesses in Australia. That’s a lot of business and I know in the journey of our success there are some important steps I have introduced to help stay on track. Because being in a sustainable business isn’t just about financial success, it is about your personal path, your inspiration and your self awareness within the business you run. When you put it all together it creates a culture of integrity, which is both infectious to others and can bring rewards to your hand and heart.
1) Know what gives you pleasure and satisfaction
The privilege of working in the hair & beauty industry over the last three decades holds the pleasure of connecting with women every day, and nothing is more satisfying than hearing “Thank you, I feel amazing.”
Working out your signature offerings, over and above your day to day products/services that time and again add value to your end user will return pleasure and satisfaction to you in ways you can’t imagine.
That deep moisturizing hair masque with 10 min scalp massage takes an everyday haircut to a new level. Eyebrow shape & tint + lash tint completely transforms a guest having a haircut and color from the shoulders up. What are your enhancing equivalents in your business? Once you know them be loud and proud. Don’t keep them a secret.
2) Have a question you run your decisions by
Will ‘xyz’ help my guests look and feel amazing? What is the fail-proof question you could run your daily questions past and help you feel confident in your decision-making process.
3) Recognize you only have a certain amount of energy to spend each day.
Become aware of where you are spending or squandering this most precious resource. Maybe you decide you have some energy you are happy to give, make sure this is your decision freely and it is not just taken from you. With the rest of your energy, where do you wish to invest it so that it truly gives you a return? “Life truly is a manifestation of where we invest our energy” Monk Dhandapani.
4) Guard your heart and your mind
As a business owner do you feel open slather to feedback? Does the noise get confusing? Decide who your trusted people are. The ones you can discuss ideas and concerns with and catch up with them regularly. Know precisely the effect these people have on you, so you know whom to go to for what.
One may fill you with the courage to face the hard stuff, another may be years ahead of you in business and is a wealth of knowledge, another may be good at challenging your BS, and another is a great listener. Recognize what you need at any given time and go to the right person.
Keep this a win-win. Know what you have to offer others and give back freely to those in this circle. If feedback is delivered from an unreliable source, let it bounce off
5) Spend time with yourself and be gently honest
Take time out to reflect and check in. It is good business practice to meet regularly with staff. Please make sure they are ok, meeting their work requirements, are on track, have everything they need. Do this with yourself. Have a weekly checklist that you run yourself past and ask yourself the same questions.
Doing a checklist regularly will make sure you don’t stray far. It is important to stay honest with yourself, for you won’t be able to fix or move past things you don’t acknowledge.
My parting advice to others and it doesn’t just apply to business- be smart, not impressive.
So much looks and sounds great in our society and that is all they are- a facade. If things you are doing do not add value or money to your business, or if they do not bring you pleasure or satisfaction, if they do not pass your fail-proof question, if they waste your precious energy, if it only impresses those who don’t know better and most importantly if it doesn’t add up when you take an honest look, let the illusion and the person presenting the illusion go.
About our Ponderer:
Mariesa Lauder is a thought leader in the hairdressing and beauty industry. Her reputation in the hairstyling profession, reinforced by the latest technical training and innovative thinking has created a stellar platform for business success. Brene Brown is one of her key influencers in life and Mariesa’s inspirational attitude and dedication to overcoming “road blocks” in life make her a favorite of ours. Nurture, inspiration and professionalism are the principal focus of the “Jomara Business Woman” culture.
What happens when you cross a stand-up comedian, a writer, and a Christian together?
You get the quirkiest and cool wordsmith ever! Ponderers, we are so excited to introduce you to StevieAnne Minner, our newest team member of Ponderings from the United States.
StevieAnne is a Christian comedian who has always been a bit of a goofball.
“Quick-witted and punny” is what those closest to her would say. She never anticipated performing stand-up comedy, but it was her first published book that she wrote just for fun that was suggested as material for a quick 7-minute gig at a local Improv.
With a title like “Egos are Like Farts…”
It was no surprise that the one-liners would be both captivating and comical. She used her comedic comparisons between the two to serve as a fun and enlightening way to encourage the audience to be as mindful about expressing their ego as they likely were about expressing flatulence. This is especially true in Stevie’s faith in particular where the “flesh” is rarely focused on the compassion of others.
“Most people do not like to be laughed at. However, in the world of stand-up, laughter is always a reward, and often, the best material comes at the humble expense of the comic themselves. Being able to laugh at life is not only strategic in overcoming personal foibles, but also brings people together as everyone can relate to the emotions of surprise, embarrassment, and joy – even if the situations that bring such feelings to vary” says Stevie.
Bordering between a childlike faith and a childish sense of humor, she began using the silliness and simplicity of humor to bridge the gap between her faith and her quirks.
What started as a small, fun project quickly became endorsed by a #1NYT Best Selling Author and a regular stand-up routine. From there, it has grown into company culture meetings – showing employees and staff how to show compassion in the workplace, as well as, a children’s book soon to be published, titled “AttiTOOTs…the kids’ guide to expressing farts and feelings.”
It is Stevie’s hope that we can “lighten up enlightenment” and learn to express ourselves – in many ways – while considering how it will affect others.
We welcome Stevie and her gorgeous insights into humanity, wind, and laughter.
Humans of the earth I am going to cut right to the chase:
there appears to be need for people to criticize others or not treat people very nicely; where does this come from? What makes us an expert about other people’s business?
When the activity or action they are doing affects others dangerously or puts harm to another then this needs to be interrupted and the person guilty of negative and dangerous behaviour needs to be re-educated. Otherwise, seriously- what the heck? Why should you care if so and so earns this amount, or that person’s parenting wasn’t what you envisioned it should be. That is of course unless you are perfect yourself in which case is impossible unless you are Charlie Hunnam. This criticism includes the strength of eyebrow highlighting, how much TV the child is allowed to watch, if you wear high heels, laugh too loud or my favorite just TOO ENTHUSIASTIC. C’mon really? I’m going to own the last one. Too enthusiastic. Am I? Yup. Painfully. Like a yappy fox terrier on happy pills.
I once asked my doctor many years ago if I should be on antidepressants to counteract a period of melancholy; his response whilst retrospectively refreshingly honest was shocking.
He burst out laughing and said “Kirsten you on antidepressants would be like giving Pollyanna happy pills, you would be like a tornado in a caravan park.” Just dangerous. I am not THAT positive. I don’t fart rainbows and wax lyrical all the time. I do not. I am totally guilty of loving the hell out of the people close to me. They get told frequently how awesome I think they are, but this is truth. It is actually why we are friends, because my friend detector is honed into awesomeness. Yeah I know right? Comedians everywhere. But have you met my friends? I may not have been blessed with both eyelids, but God made up for it with friendship. Spectacular friendships. I am very blessed and spoiled in this department. If friendships were braziers I’d be a K cup. Let’s be real here, I need some wins. K cup friendships might not save lives or obliterate aneurysms but they certainly create heartsmiles and memories which are like treasures to me. For the record too, just because your health might be up poo creek without a paddle doesn’t mean you are not allowed to be happy. That’s not an absolute thing. Some people are wired differently, that’s all. I am wired like a weirdo, and that’s ok. (This is what the professionals say, so I am stickin with it)
So why am I pondering judgy people, criticism and defending my position on positivity you ask? Well, I have been sending a lot of time with Nellie Florence of late, aka My Nanna, asking her question about when she was a little girl, what it was like growing up in the 20s, 30s and 40s and her memory is as sharp as a tack, for 90 years old she’s a ripper. It was her influence that instilled the ideology to treat others the way you would like to be treated. The tricky bit is, my expectations then tend to be high of other people. I really struggle when people are unfriendly or unkind or they do things to me or those I love that I would never dream of doing to them. This is tricky.
For example, I would never in a million years demand that another human go buy Weetbix at 7.30 am when the aforementioned human is doing their daily business in the bathroom. That’s just not cricket. I would never judge someone for their dance moves or not knowing the lyrics of a song, even if it WAS really easy and they SHOULD know the words. Neither would I want someone to abuse me for 15 minutes because the silverbeet they bought from the fresh food section was moldy. (I witnessed this, this morning). I never wish bad upon anyone either, another farting rainbows Kirst thing. But I must admit I have moments where I wish Donald Trump gets reincarnated for the next 250 times as a balding woman with personal space issues and has to fawn off middle aged gropers with a low respect for women and a passion for objectification. Karma? Not sure. But you get the idea. I think Donald Trump needs a bit of Nellie time, maybe the wooden spoon and some humble pie too. I wonder if he demands wheaty cereals or non moldy silverbeet and sings words to American Pie with gusto especially the bit about the day the movie died? I cannot imagine him running the ‘free world’ oh my lord, can you imagine? It would be harder to watch than a hipster food review, or as my dear old dad might put it; “harder than a penis at a Viagra convention.” Yes I know… coarse but amusing nonetheless. Sorry, I sidestepped there onto Trumpdom. Again, my bad. Would you do that to me? I bet you would not.
I wonder if after every sentence we had to say to the person “Have I just treated you the way you would like to be treated today?” What the response would be? I pondered this yesterday. Imagine if this was a prerequisite? Centrelink would be transformed, customer service and customer politeness executed in a fashion enough to make Poppins blush with joy. Sex lives would be magically enhanced across the world, people with disabilities celebrated and differences rejoiced. Wars ended, world leaders high fiving each other…whale hunters weeping at the destruction on the ships decks, snobbery abandoned, hunger destroyed, child marriages and exploitation might no longer exist.
I wonder if our faith in each other would grow? Would the homeless be housed? The hungry fed? The unloved be loved? This is my pondering. It came from an expectation I had recently of a person
I care about whom has been a bit distant. I found myself in a situation similar to them and I would have liked the same amount of love I gave them when they last had their time of need. It got me thinking; why on earth did I have this expectation on them? When they were in a similar situation a few years back did I do what I did because I was being kind or because there were strings attached? The strings are the expectation that they might do the same if the situation was reversed. Then I pondered on where did this expectation of others having to be nice comes from? Yup, treat others the way you yourself would be treated came echoing back over and over again. It was a childhood mantra. Problem is these days’ people get all tangled up in their own stuff. ‘Concentrate on YOU’ is thrown at us every day, look after yourself first. Spend more time on you and less on others is blasted across the emotional airways. Look I am all for self nurture, but if we are THAT tied up in our own stuff that we can’t see when others are in need or are suffering, or we can’t even spare the time to ask ‘Hey this has been happening for you, are you ok?” Then maybe we are too tied up in our own stuff.
Like a few weeks ago, I had a friend who was in the middle of the supermarket having a melt down because of teenage trouble and a matching naughty husband, like a pair of awful shoes these two males had given her heart blisters. This friend is always incredibly stoic so it was a shock to hear her so upset. Now did I sit there and listen for 7 minutes? No, I said oh no, I am sorry that happened, but listen, can I call you back in an hour? I am running out the door to catch the post. Yup friend of the year. NOT. Epic MY BAD situation. It only occurred to me when I was standing in line between 2 smelly people and a never-ending queue, missing the post anyway, that it would have been a far better investment to have given her my heart and ear for as long as it took to soothe her. I did not follow my own mantra because I was so busy being busy. Gross huh? (Ps- I checked that my clothes were in the right way this time-) Then again I am constantly being told to stop worrying about other people so much and concentrate on me. Hmmm, I am not too sure about that. It feels like putting a size 8 shoe on a size 12 heart.
So humans, I will leave that ponder with you, hope you have a super day, week and month. Be kind to each other, be brave and enjoy the time you have with the people close to you as best you can. I know I will be. And children of Australia; please darlings, please let your parent’s have some private bathroom time, when something is evacuating your body, alone time is important.
I have not written here in a while. The reason for this is transparency.
As a friend reminded me the other day; this blog is about truth. I could not write the way I write and be truthful, light-hearted or anything really. I needed to come to a place where I was comfortable to tell you my truth. I stepped away from the meadow for a bit to think. I had writer’s constipation and a dreadful case of no-funny-itis. Now I am here.
So a month ago I went back to the hospital to find out how Fred was doing and the aneurysm. Turned out that Fred wasn’t doing so good and the aneurysm was still filling with blood, not a good sign. So all of my scans and goodies were sent off overseas to many other leading world experts to find out what could be done. It was now an even more special case. We waited 2 weeks. More brain surgery was the most likely outcome, the thought of which made my blood run cold. Disappointed but with very hopeful hearts we waited. We returned to be told that the conclusive opinion was that there is nothing more we can do, (with a whole lotta other stuff I wont bore you with) We are sorry. I said; what do I need to do? Response; you need to grow some cells.
I will not tell you what transpired over those hours. Some stuff just stays between a woman and her man, and a woman and her God.
We came home.
I walked around the house silent and devoid of any feeling. I was numb and shut down like a vault.
Not long after this something annoyed me and I spat sparks like Mount Vesuvius. It was at that moment I knew there was molten lava building up and it wasn’t going to be pretty. I was within 2 moments of giving up- my chest felt like a dust bowl. No feeling means Uh Oh. Because underneath the Uh Oh was a big Oh Shit. I knew I had to go somewhere To Be. I couldn’t be like this around my children and my husband, I was hurting and I didn’t want them to see it. I was sooooo tired. Tired of it all.
Putting on your big girl pants constantly is so tiring, the elastic was stretched, the cotton was torn and I had RSI from the upward pull, my wriggle was gone and the pants were saggy. My cup of concrete had run dry, 4 years will do that to you.
My children are so perceptive and Lothario needed to process gently without worrying about me. Well at least this is what I thought at the time. The other part I knew intrinsically after these years of mindful action was that there was no way that all of this anger was going to help me. It was bad for my stress response; it was not an ideal environment to heal. And I needed to grow new cells better than David Austen does roses; so the soil had to be right.
So I did what any middle class mother from the suburbs does when she gets given disruptive news; I went to an Ashram. It seems my at home retreat idea I mentioned in my last blog wasn’t going to cut it. I needed the real deal.
I know right? It’s so eat pray freaking love. I am a complete cliché. The Ashram had been mentioned to me by my Kinesiology and meditation teacher a few months before. I couldn’t believe that a full working Ashram was less than 2 hours from my house. It had personal retreats and Mouna (periods of silence). Who needed India? I had Wombat State Forrest!
So I threw my little family into disarray and Mamma Bear took off for a while.
This was harder for me than I have words for and there was snotty crying all the way but instinctively I knew it had to be done. My heart screamed STAY and yet I needed a place of quiet reflection.
I am a bit of a chatterbox, I like to have a yarn at times. (No really?) My father says I can talk under water with a mouth full of marbles. So when I told my family I was going to an Ashram for personal retreat where there were long periods of silence (NO TALKING AT ALL) there were a few grins. Self combustion was discussed and the very real possibility of a quick return home.
The periods of long silence and lack of human interpersonal contact via communication or eye contact was completely unsettling at first.
I had never experienced it before- it was so new to me. Being by myself and in silence is one thing, I do enjoy being on my own at times; but to be around others and be in silence is another. No mobile phones, No television, No outside interaction. So you are left with the wind, the sounds of the trees and birds and most importantly you are left with YOU.
I did get really desperate one afternoon and had a mind conversation with an old Kangaroo who was shading himself under a bush, he looked at me at one stage with one eyebrow raised as if to say “Bitch Please. You are talking to a Large Marsupial telepathically. Its time to call the dudes in the whites with a van, get an injection of happy time and chill, someone has been putting somthin freaky in the pear juice. “
My room consisted of a bed, a table and a lamp. No decorative features. Any ornate factors belonged to nature or the beautiful temples there. There was an awful lot of space. Just me and Papa G. Whoa.
There was one particular night when I realised that I was excellent at filling space. I filled space like a pro with children, relationships, business meetings, study, Netflix, hobbies, workouts and reading books, meditation, cooking, helping others. You name it, I filled the gaps. A busy happy mind is conducive to making things happen you see, being a go- getter and getting things DONE is the best way to be. Positivity breeds Positivity, so lets fill my world with endless positivity add a few naps and a bit of me time is all you need… yeah right…
Now I had infinite space with nothing to fill it with but me.
So what did me have to say? Me asked a shit load of weird things that went a little something like this;
If disease is caused by negative thoughts then isn’t death the ultimate failure for a positive thinker?
What trauma do I have I am still hanging on to?
How do I tell my kids this news? You don’t have anything to tell them. Nothings really happened.
I’m so sick of having to report back to people about everything.
I’m so exhausted from spreading bad news like a virus
I put hope in other people’s hands. People I thought knew to fix me. It didn’t work. Yes it did. You are still here.
They are the experts and they cant do any more to help.
Why do I still think I am not good enough?
Good enough for what?
You’re hurting everyone you know.
This is painful, I am causing pain.
This is not right.
This is not fair.
Why am I so scared?
I’m really broken now.
Why was I talking to a kangaroo?
I really need chocolate now.
Actually chocolate and a big arse glass of wine.
You’ve done it again, you have told everyone you are fine and you are NOT FINE
How on earth is he going with the children?
I hope they haven’t burnt the house down
They can’t survive without me
My genetics suck
Being old is so overrated…hmmm I should have brought chocolate
You know you need to smile, you need to forget about you and concentrate on those around you who need you
Pull up your big girl pants and get on with it, you can’t get angry
You mustn’t get angry or be sad
The medical profession has all the answers
Thought you were so clever being healthy, meditating, praying, being so good, it didn’t get you very far did it? Clever girls come last don’t they?
Trav didn’t sign up for this
I’ve ruined my kids lives
My toenails need painting
Man what is that hair growing outta my knee?
I wonder if I bought the tweezers
I’ve lost the plot and I am a terrible human
None of these were true. They were all expressions and echoes of pain learned and attached to me like stitches in a blanket that I had wrapped around myself over 39 years without even realising it. We do funny things to survive, people tell us funny things and then they get reinforced by outside events along the way. We learn the stitches but they are not a part of the beginning fabric. I spent time gently unpicking the stitches and taking a look, then putting it back together again without the bits I didn’t need anymore.
The acknowledgement and release of all these facets made way for new discoveries and ideas. Unearthing both frantically frightening and joyful elements like a miner with a trowel was more beneficial, complex and free-ing than anything I’ve experienced to this date. It’s a big call right?
I bushwalked, I cried, I wrote, I drew, I prayed, I chanted, I learned a whole different breed of Yoga, I read books, I had in-depth chats about life and death with a Swami, I drank and ate with monks, I laughed. I meditated within an inch of my life; learning Meditation that made me feel like there really are Jedi. I had a frog jump on my hand and apparently I am now no longer allergic to coconut; I acknowledge that this is completely random and a story for another time.
I did all of this in an environment that was pure and special. I felt it the moment I walked around the property.
The food would put Jamie Oliver to shame; Permaculture based on hundreds of years of knowledge and it was like walking into the garden of Eden, if you love growing fruit and veg, this was pretty spesh. This feeds the entire Ashram; we ate Vegetarian Organic, beautifully prepared dishes that had been specifically chosen for the body’s absolute purity. I was a bit impressed can you tell?
This place was filled with classes and possibilities for you to choose in this space of quiet and gentle contemplation, nothing is forced. Interesting people with elegant and gentle space is what I felt. These amazing people have opened up their Ashram for the modern world human to enter and experience being human again. Some people just go there to paint write and sleep.
And as I felt myself come gently back together, I started smiling.
A sense of peace started to enter the space, my sense of connection to all that was around me heightened. The volcano embers had been expelled and replaced with deep breaths.
There is a very strong theory that past trauma can sit within the layers of different consciousness and create either disease or a body environment that is out of balance which can create illness. I knew this, and have spent many years letting go, practising forgiveness and turning over what I thought was nearly every rock. There’s been tapping, CBT, NLP, ABC, 123, you name it, I’ve tried it. They are all great stepping stones to wellness and mindfulness, but they are not the answer to everything. I had missed a key point, my body knew exactly what it needed all along. It knew. I knew. I had to be in a moment of complete option-run out, come to Jesus-holy shit moment to be left with nothing. When you have nothing to go to You go within and then that’s when God happens. This is when we are truly listening to what it is we need to have a present, calm and balanced life. None of us knows when our time here has come for us to have the next Grand Adventure, part of being human is the feeling of being a human, the broken that is human. You are a human Be-Ing. Some of us are so busy fixing and filling our lives, we forget about the being part.
It isn’t mystical, philosophical or religious. You appreciate living in a world of 5 elements with a mind that reacts and is able to perceive and appreciate on whatever level.
My body is made of these elements and minerals. This is what feeds them. I can be sustained. The most natural thing in the world is for an organism to build cells. It does it every day.
I’m pretty sure I can grow these cells if I haven’t already. If my body mind and spirit are primed for good healthy cell growth, then my body will do the rest with a bit of Gods Grace. If it is to be then it will be. I think it might be just that simple. As a monk said to be last week; You are already doing it.
I just got used to these digs and there is housekeeping to be done. I got myself weddings to attend, grand babies to hold and countries to soiree in as well as a book under my belt to get published. Plus I want to see what Lothario looks like as an old bugger, I reckon he is going to rock a paunchy belly and grey hairs. Plus I learned some amazing new Yoga positions, I can balance on one leg properly and I have a sneaking suspicion I can do Jedi Mind Control now. Just sayin.
When I came home we decided that we have had enough of fear hanging over our heads and monthly check ups- MRIs and Angiograms, Brain Surgeries. We are going to get on with our lives now. I am going to get on with my life. Because this is my life. Right now.
If you decide to hang about you are going to hear some ponderings about life, hopefully they will be interesting (I’ve written enough fodder when I was away to write 60 blogs…so there’s plenty to go around if you are up for it).
In the meantime – Kiss someone you love, forgive someone you need to and hopefully we will walk in the meadow again soon. Xxx Kirsten
PS- Rocklyn Ashram details are HERE for those who are interested – xx