5 Things I Learnt This Week – 27th September 2019

Firstly, apologies for the month-long hiatus in these missives. I’ve been on a particularly big learning curve this last month, working through a new module in the practical MBA that is running one’s own company. Unfortunately, this module is: How to Shut Down a Business. We’re a good way through the process and I’m coming up for air again so I thought I’d share this and some other learnings from the past few weeks (as my Amazon habit has continued unabated throughout the chaos).

  1. What closing a business has taught me: there’s a lot more to write here and I don’t want to downplay the pain that the closure of a business causes to any of its stakeholders. But, for what it’s worth, I’ve learnt that: (1) To quote Jamie Foxx, on the other side of fear, there is nothing. When you face up to scary moments and act with integrity, the relief and freedom you feel is incredible. (2) Everything is figureoutable. More on this below but necessity really is the mother of invention. (3) Surrendering is usually the best thing you can do.  After years of trying to control outcomes, I’m really grateful for this lesson. Again, more below. (4) When things end, the sky does not fall. (5) That ‘failure’ is a dangerous word and is often defined by financial outcomes. The outpouring of love and gratitude we’ve had from customers tells me that we created something very special, and successful in the most important ways.
  2. Everything is Figureoutable. This is the title of US life coach Marie Forleo’s new book and it came at a great time for me. I didn’t love the title until I started the book and realised that it was the mantra of her incredibly resilient, pragmatic and resourceful single mother. I loved the book’s upbeat tone and I’ve been surprised how many times I’ve repeated ‘everything is figureoutable’ in recent weeks. It works for everything from balancing your books to trying to solve practical house-decorating conundrums!
  3. Just breathe. What an incredibly annoying phrase (particularly if someone says it to you when you are in labour). But I’m getting more interested in breath-work, mainly thanks to Richie Bostock aka The Breath Guy, whose class I had the pleasure of attending at the Health Optimisation Summit recently. What an amazing natural high I experienced, and I found it a much easier way to turn off my frontal lobe than through meditation. Breathing coach Brian MacKenzie also notes that you can use your breath to rebalance your personality / demeanour away from your natural inclination towards sympathetic or parasympathetic. He has a new app, State, with the relevant exercises.
  4. The power of surrender. I read Gabbi Bernstein’s book, The Universe Has Your Back: How to Feel Safe and Trust Your Life No Matter What, a month ago on the beach, right before I came home to close Madderson. I do find that I tend to attract the right and most helpful books for my situation at any given time. This book is about living through love rather than fear, how to align yourself with the universe, and how magical (and valuable) surrendering can be. I particularly love this affirmation / prayer from Gabbi: “Today I surrender my goals and plans to the care of the Universe. I offer up my agenda and accept spiritual guidance. I trust that there is a plan far greater than mine. I know that where there was once lack and limitation there are spiritual solutions and creative ideas. I step back and let love lead the way. Thy will be done.”
  5. In uncertain times, remember that a thread is running through your life, even if you can’t see it. I love this poem by William Stafford, discovered in the beautiful book, The Poetry Pharmacy: Tried-and-True Prescriptions for the Heart, Mind and Soul. It’s called The way it is.

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

William Stafford

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