Shift happens

Driving around New Zealand is one of my favourite things, I’m looking forward to getting around in an electric car at some stage. This post is not about shifting gears as I drive over the Crown Range, the highest main road in New Zealand and insanely picturesque.

Wanaka, where I live, is a small town so more cultural and educational events are happening “over the hill” in Queenstown. Last week I made the trip over for the Xero Roadshow. Xero is my favourite accounting software not only because it’s easy to use and I’ve been with them from the day they started. The reasons are piling up and one of my favourite things at the roadshow presentations was the absolute emphasis on

He tangata, he tangata, he tangata

It’s Maori and means the people, the people, the people. It’s the answer to the question: What’s the most important thing in the world?

It’s awesome to see that for Xero it seems not just a fancy marketing twist. Creating psychological safety in workplaces has come out as a major theme in successful teams, even Google is making a big deal about it. It’s amazing to really feel the authenticity of it.

They had great tips in the booklet “Take your practice to the next level”. It is geared towards accountants and bookkeepers but has insights for business owners with or without staff. Taking the deep dive inside oneself to check if our own foundation is solid to get us ready to self-develop. Then a shift can and will happen.

Speaking with a friend who is part of a small team in a family run business, the “People are Assets” attitude sometimes is more of a good sound bite but not really followed up behind the scenes. When business owners who have a tight team step back from the “my business, my staff, my risk” and start letting staff in to make the business sustainable, one can see magic unfold. The concept of creating psychological safety is basically giving a sh*t about what we do all day and who we hang out with. But give it from a solid foundation of kindness and joy, otherwise it burns you out in the long run. Or your staff run off to happier pastures.

Make time to check in, with self, team, life, family, body, awareness, ego. Shift happens and it starts with you.

Finishing or Starting?

I love change. I go after new things like a magpie chasing shiny stuff, just for fun. Somehow a while back I got myself confused. I thought when something new is started, it needs to be finished. A nice monk named Dandapani first made me pay attention to finishing one step at a time. Like wake up in the morning, get out of bed and make your bed. To signal the completion of the sleeping process. It is very nice to hop into a made and creasefree bed at night so I do take the time to make my bed in the morning, as good as I can in a minute. For me it’s the thinking ahead to the finishing that sometimes gets me into trouble when starting. It can seem so overwhelming. But then, I go to bed to sleep and wake up and the sleeping started and finished all on its own.

Starting something new is about not doing the same things every day (and expecting a different result would make it insanity someone once said).

Start and finish mindsets work really well on little steps and projects. And the big goals can be broken down into little ones. But beware when the desired outcome, eg finishing, puts one on a path of demanding certainty, which is a slippery slope towards frustration when things don’t go to plan. And they won’t. Life is full of curveballs. Not too rigidly looking at the grand finale or finish line lets us catch the balls because we’re more nimble on the playing field. Remember the squiggly line on the success graph, not a straight line!

What would it be like to start something new, like eating more vegetables, starting with breakfast? To move more, go outside more, think different thoughts? Would it come to a finish after a week/month/year? If you would see results like feeling better, having more energy, more focus, more self-esteem, then you wouldn’t want to finish that thing that you started. What was left behind would be finished. You would be finished with the bad habits, the unkind ways towards self and others, the frustration. Maybe it’s actually back to front, we need to finish something first to make room for the new.

Sometimes it can be hard to start something new (or to finish something) because we don’t think we get support from the people around us, they might think we’re bat… crazy to eat vegetables for breakfast. I would love to hear your ideas about something you’re worried about sharing or starting. Comment below or email me here.

Small Business Startup Sticky Points

Here is the first part in the mini series about questions small business owners have when starting out. It’s not always easy to understand what comes up on Google when looking for answers. That’s why I’m trying to keep these snippets short. Hopefully it resolves some of your sticky points and you can get on with the business.

I had the idea when a friend told me he bought a small business as a side hustle. His main job at a bank running the business banking division showed him lots of business data, financial statements such as profit and loss and balance sheet reports, cashflows, tax returns and forecasts. But taking some real steps for taking over an existing business and making changes was not something that he had learned at school or work. When starting something new, it’s always about setting things up so it works best for you. A meeting with the accountant cleared up some of the things but his head was swimming with jargon and abbreviations.

Let me know what you think. Feedback is greatly appreciated as long as it’s kind.