What a Ride!

 

FF with FBOne of the things that you don’t expect when you give up the day job is the massive internal, personal changes that start to happen as you start out on your journey working full time in your own business.

First there is the good stuff – the massive increase in passion and purpose. It’s perfectly normal to start working at 6am in your nightie in front of the computer because your brain is racing and you need to get it all downloaded and in print on the screen before it melts like the springtime snow.

As you ease out of your employee mindset (not easy when you’ve been one for thirty-something years) you gain a new sense of yourself, of the things you achieve, the things you create and the changes you make in peoples lives with the stuff you have to offer.

Then there’s the darker side; the self doubt, the financial insecurity, the worry of not knowing how this story ends. These thoughts are hard taskmasters but they are also a gift. They force you to develop resilience, to dig deep and really earn your stripes as someone who is bringing something new to the world that will benefit the world. This life game is not for wimps!

One of the mental tussles I’ve been going through is how to actually bring that stuff to the world in a way that makes sense for me and my clients. In other words – what’s my niche? I’ve been doing ok as a generalist coach and trainer but I knew my message and my vehicle for delivering all these goodies needed honing. My lovely coach Leonie explained that it was like giving birth and ideas, like babies, need an incubation period.

Well, just like an expectant mother – and just as wise Leonie had said – it has taken almost nine months before I got well and truly whacked on the head with the ‘obvious stick’! Let me explain; all my life I’ve been a Communication junkie. I worked in Corporate Communications for 25 years and carried on parallel careers in theatre and comedy as well as becoming a coach and an accredited NLP practitioner. After much reflection I realised that it was no different now, and my passion continues to be how we speak to ourselves, how we speak to the world and how we speak to each other.

So the upshot of it all is I’ll be channeling my coaching and training through the mediums (media!) that I know and love best:

  • More Than Words – Powerful presentation coaching.
  • The Funny Farm – Stand up Comedy for Beginners
  • The Joy Protocol – comedy shows
  • Personal and Business Coaching

It’s very exciting because as soon as I knew exactly how I wanted to do all these things, exactly the right people showed up in my life to make it all happen and it’s happening soon!

As Bill Hicks said, this life is just a ride, and what a crazy wonderful ride it is!

Top 3 Emotions of my First Week in Business

maggie1 Last week I finished up in my day job. After commencing coaching and NLP studies last year and working part time on my coaching, training and comedy business, I’m putting out my shingle for the business on a full time basis. I’m using my experience of 25 years in corporate communications, 23 years in theatre and 12 years in stand-up comedy to teach people and organisations how to be clinically, chronically happy.

This first week has produced some interesting insights, so here are the top three things I’m feeling in my first week of working for myself:

 1. Freedom!

I’ve been a faithful wage slave since I was 16. If you take away my four years of study/uni that’s 32 years of getting up in the morning and attending a workplace. Now my workplace is in the spare room and I am totally responsible for how I shape my day, my week and my entire future. The resulting emotions are a mixture of ‘Eeeeek!’, Yay!’, and ‘Really’? It’s only been a week so at night I’m still dreaming that I’m conducting wrap up sessions for my team at work or working through the day to day issues of the office. And then I wake up and realise that’s all in the past now.

 2. Freak out!

Closely related to Freedom, the freak-out in the first week is the gap between the comfort of the schedule of work I’ve mapped out and the knowledge that until the business gets traction then its income will be less than desired (which is actually ok and normal – unearned income is fine as it goes but unsatisfactory in that it doesn’t show me whether I’m doing it right). I’m having to absolutely live what I teach, manage my mindset and take appropriate action, which is all very cool because it’s what I ask my clients to do and if I only talk the talk and don’t walk the walk I’m not being a very good role model.

3. Fun!

I am having the best of fun. I get to be home with the doggies and make hubby a cup of tea when he gets home (he still insists on making dinner). I get the quiet and solitude of working alone when I need to and I get the creative juices going working together with my great partners in comedy and coaching, and I get to go networking regularly, meet new people and strike up new relationships – the best of all worlds. I get to manage my time as I want it and when I go for acting and comedy gigs I don’t have to second guess myself as to whether it would work in ok with the day job .

This ‘self-employment’ thing is an experience unlike any I’ve ever had. I’m sure it will be something of a rollercoaster, but at least when the time comes I won’t be left wondering ‘what if’. Whatever happens, this is a time in life that I would not swap for anything!

If you’d like to work with me have a look at www.maggiewood.com.au (new coaching site coming soon) and email me on maggie@elegantconceptsgroup.com

The Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life

It’s been a while since my last post, life seems to have sped up.

Work is busy as always, plus getting a new job that I start in a few weeks time. Add to that preparation for the Adelaide Fringe including production and publicity work as well as actually writing and rehearsing with my Three Stuffed Mums buddies Kate and Kehau, it seems my time has flown.

In between it all was a sojourn to Sydney to see no.1 son off on his travels once again with the Navy. It was great to spend time with him and very sad to wave him off. The up part being that it will be only six months and he will be home again.

And in between all of this action trying to observe, to stay true to myself and my path, to learn about what’s transpiring and to simply enjoy life.

Because when it all comes down to it, I think that’s the crux, the meaning of all of this life stuff; living it and creating joy, however you find the expression of that to be.

Some people write, some perform, others love to cook, or make things, or ice cakes or climb mountains or talk to people or any other of a million things. And if they express and engender joy through that activity, if it results in you and others feeling uplifted by it and benefitting from it, there isn’t that much more to aim for, is there?

We Three Stuffed Mums have been talking a lot this week about what our comedy means for us, about what we’re trying to do with it, and we all agree that it’s about the following:

-Do no harm

-Uplift ourselves and others

-Have people leave the show feeling better than when they came in

Sounds good to me!

Have a great week!

M 🙂

Trusting the Tao

Trusting the Tao

73

The Tao is always at ease.
It overcomes without competing,
answers without speaking a word,
arrives without being summoned,
accomplishes without a plan.

Its net covers the whole universe.
And though its meshes are wide,
it doesn’t let a thing slip through.

From Steven Mitchell’s translation of the Tao Te Ching

The words above have been a very real, very practical lesson for me recently.

We’re getting ready for another great Adelaide Fringe, and I’m writing a new show with my Three Stuffed Mums colleagues called Still Stuffed. Its a brand new show, with all new stand up comedy and songs, following on from the great success we had last year.

The songs are fine, they’re all written and being arranged right now. All new stand up – that’s another story. I don’t know how other writers operate but I cannot just sit at a computer and write funny – especially when the funny is for spoken delivery.

For me, that means it has to come from spoken origins. And its not a linear process either. Ideas, or phrases or sentences pop up, that generate further ideas that progress out from that original trigger like the ripples on a pond. The most important thing then is the idea, and the next important things are the words that convey that idea. The words can be swapped around like the idea trying on different outfits, but as long as the idea is intact and still inhabits my mind in its original form, there’s that leeway to play with. And then after a few days of musing (or weeks) it gets commited to screen via the keyboard. The words, if you’re not careful, have a way of pegging the idea down like the guy ropes of a flyaway tent. Done properly they neatly package and deliver the idea concisely, precisely and with punch. Done badly they bog it down and kill it. So you can see where I’m starting from.

So, all of this is to say that you cannot force the process. At the same time you have a deadline called ‘opening night’ looming ahead that tends to focus the mind and has the capacity to instill panic. So, what to do?

Me, I have learned to pick up my copy of the Tao Te Ching to remind myself to chill out and that all will be fine. That calms me enough to trust again that what I need will be delivered as long as I do my part in the process. And when I do, its a kind of self fulfilling prophecy, the ideas flow more freely, the mind is more open to receiving new ideas, not tense with panic, and things start to shake up in good time. And I have to say, things are coming together very nicely re the stand up, much better than I anticipated, actually. Adelaide Fringe 2012, I cannot wait for opening night!

If you’re in the vicinity you should pop down and see our show at The Maid, which also has some great comedy shows not featuring us. Our senior Stuffed Mum, Kehau, runs the venue with an aim to helping new comics put on their first Fringe shows without going into bankruptcy to do it. She and her husband Glynn work their butts off to make sure this happens so they deserve support for that alone, I reckon.

Whatever you do, and wherever you are please support your local artists, take part in your local culture and entertainment, and most of all, have fun!

Have a great week!

Maggie 🙂

NB: When looking for the correct stanzas to illustrate my point about trusting the flow in the writing process, I went to the internet version of the translation and blindly clicked on a chapter number. It turned out to be precisely the best chapter to describe what I was trying to say. Bravo Tao!

The Pleasure Principle

Hang on – I’ll just go pour my coffee – BRB!

Aaah – that’s better. It’s a cup made in the little plunger with a nice blend of bean pulverised in my birthday present from lovely hubby – a coffee grinder. I’d never had one before and its a well used present. I think as I get older I’m appreciating some of my often ignored senses. I love the scent of the coffee as it’s released from the bean. It fills the head with its scent, almost like tasting it before you’ve tasted it.

I seem to be doing a lot of things like that just now. Small things that I’d ignored previously become huge pleasures. I’m becoming less tolerant of the mass produced, preservative soaked and additive addled foods we’re offered in the shops and heading more for the fresh, the fragile, the foods that are time sensitive and only edible for a certain period before going off. I’m learning not to trust eating or drinking anything that doesn’t age or rot. I guess I’m also soaking in the pleasure principle – just like the one advocated by Mireille Guiliano – where the chief motivators to eat and live well are;

  • the choice of quality over quantity and, ultimately,
  • savouring the pleasure in life, be it food, work, pastimes or anything else.

It’s not a staggering change though, or a violent revolution. It’s something that has begun quietly and continues as I follow my nose and my newish sense of prioritising the good things in life.

A short list of the things I’m enjoying right now, because I’m making a point of enjoyment include:

Being in the garden; family time; Tai Chi (and the heady – almost drunken – feeling of breathing properly); Our doggies; thinking; cooking; walking; writing (after many many years I’ve started writing poetry again).

On reading the list back, it does seem pretty mundane but it doesn’t feel that way. These simple things really do deliver great pleasure. They wouldn’t have years ago when I felt driven and that I had other stuff to do, but now that I’ve achieved a lot of what I set out to do I’m more relaxed about it all.

If you find that life seems to be whizzing by, why not try it yourself. Take five minutes to observe beauty, be immersed in fragrances of beauty whether foods or essential oils. Pat your dogs, taste a new, sensational cheese or practice active listening with your favourite music or the birdsong round about. Use all of your senses to absorb the pleasures of the world around you – just for five minutes. You never know, you might grow to like it! :o)

Have a great week!

M x

 

Looks Like a Bomb Hit it!

Hey all!
Holiday Monday here which means its busier than normal day. What with some work this morning, haircutting of son’s giant afro, quick catch up with pal and then what may be a long meeting with Adelaide Theatre Guide colleagues, the actually most exciting thing is the formal launch of my new website! I say my ‘new’ website – it’s also my only personal website.
We do have the Three Stuffed Mums website which is http://www.threestuffedmums.com and I have to say there are some exciting things shaping up for the Mums in 2012. And now there is my website at http://www.maggiewood.com.au which brings together all my skills for hire under the one ‘shopfront’.
Have a look and I’d welcome feedback and comments.
Rushing off now to tidy house that looks like a bomb hit it!
Have a great week!

Day 1

Set up a blog, he said, after we watched the film Julie and Julia. you should do that, he said. And to be honest I quite liked the idea. and then blog stuff started to appear in front of me everytime I went online, and so here I am on a Sunday morning with heaps to do, but I’m choosing to ignore it, and all a sudden I’m on here and writing.
Why?
I write for a living, but I write other people’s stuff. I’m out of the discipline of writing my own thoughts in prose form. Whether my own thoughts are even worthy of my writing them down, or worthy of you reading them will no doubt become evident as time goes on. At work I write articles, brochures, advertisements. I edit publications all to a set of key messages and formats.
What are my key messages? I don’t know. Maybe that will become evident too.
I also write my own standup comedy stuff, which I love, but which is also terrifying. What if I think something’s funny but no-one laughs? Will the world tear apart with a great rendering crack and swallow me up? Well yes, probably.
As for me and my world, well as an introduction I’m in my very late 40s, female, just married for the second time to a wonderful bloke, mum of a 15 year old apprentice delinquent male child and stepmum to a 23 year old young man and a 21 year old young man.
Up until last year I’d had my old dad live with me for 13 years since my mum died. It wasn’t easy but we were blessed that he wasn’t really infirm and still had all his faculties til the end. I never thought I’d say it but I do miss him.
I live in suburbia, drive a 10 year old car and have a brilliant job. For the first time in my life I don’t seem to be struggling. Its a nice feeling.
As well as working I also do standup as mentioned, and I’m involved in the amateur theatre scene now and then in Adelaide as a performer and as a reviewer – check out my reviews on http://www.theatreguide.com.au.
Oh and I’m a Scot, living in Australia for the past 10 years, and for evermore – love it here.
Well, that’s enough about me. What about you? :o)