Trends – 2019 is the year of…

What got you here won’t get you any further.

That’s the case for business and in life.
And while everyone else is looking at their personal New Year’s resolutions, here are the TEN BUSINESS TRENDS that The Advancement are taking on this year.

I’ve structured this in a way so you can implement these in your business and your life FAST to get ahead of the curve. I’d love to know if you’ve implemented any of these and how it changed your business and your life.

SELF CARE & RECUPERATION

As with everything, it starts with YOU so self-care and recuperation are the first on the list. We’re seeing more and more messages from top entrepreneurs and leaders putting self-care FIRST and rejecting the hustle mentality.

We’re being tricked into doing 80 hours weeks as if it’s the norm for entrepreneurs. Unless you want to scale fast (it’s not easy and very demanding) then it’s perfectly ok to go at a slower speed. It’s OK to go slow!

We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our ‘to-do list

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama puts to so elegantly and simply with her quote above. Morning routines for entrepreneurs are vital. Starting your day YOUR way instead of following someone else’s timetable has been the biggest positive influence for me in 2018. This includes mediation as part of my first hour of the day.

THE HOW

  • Checking in with yourself throughout the day is super important. ask yourself how you feel. A sure-fire way of knowing you’re getting tired is reaching for your phone instead of working. It’s the easiest thing to do to procrastinate so ask yourself how you feel. Energised or tired. Energised = you’re procrastinating, get to work! Tired = Stop working.
  • Knowing yourself and when you feel tired. Stop when you’re tired not when you’re exhausted. We think we can push ourselves just a little bit more but that’s the time we need to stop. Even for half an hour to take a break. You’ll come back stronger afterward. Promise.

THE SILENT EPIDEMIC – LONELINESS

No-one ever wants to admit they’re lonely however, it’s slowing being talked about in the media and being seen as being the “one of the largest health concerns we face”. The Co-op and the British Red Cross found that over 9 million people in the UK across all adult ages are either always or often lonely. Read that again, that’s a frightening statistic.

It was one of the BIG REASONS why The Gentlewomen was started. Being lonely is bad and entrepreneur loneliness is even harder. Being misunderstood and being outside of civilian life is horrible! Working online makes you forget how to talk to people lol!

How to solve the problem, community.

THE HOW

  • Create a community around your product, service or shop brings people together and grows community spirit. This is more about what to do in your business but it can 100% build a network of people who will become your friends too. Win-win!
  • Facebook Groups may be old hat in the marketing space right now but Facebook are pushing these more this year. Think about creating a group for your brand, your fans, meet ups.

EMPATHY, PRESENCE AND COMPASSION

These are not nice to have, they’re essential. 

People have higher standards and the one way to take care of them is to be empathetic in the moment. It’s not just about reading a script or one size fits all, it’s about seeing and understanding each interaction with each and every customer. Plus it’s a refreshing change to the negativity and masculine energy going on in the world today. Leaders who show compassion and social intelligence will score higher on polls.

THE HOW

  • Meditation – This has been a game-changer for me in the last 12 months. I was dabbling but I’ve stepped it up and the benefits have been extraordinary.
  • If you’re working on your presence and empathy, then you’re halfway there. Work open ways to show more compassion, give more space and listen to your customers. 

LOCAL MEETUPS, EXPERIENCES AND EVENTS

In person events will be more valuable as we’re spending more and more time online and so are your customers. This is very closely linked to the loneliness and once you have the community, take it offline and create an experience around your business.
People want the vibes and the friendships, not just to be loosely connected on social media. What is connection anyway? It’s hard to get the feel of someone’s vibe until you meet them. Vibes don’t lie. 

THE HOW

  • Create experiences like meetups and free event nights. Even if it’s a few people, the vibes, time and space you share is worth more then a message sent online.
  • The better the experience, the more it’s talked about. Make every interaction thoughtful and convey your values. People remember how you make them feel longer than seeing a post on Instagram

THE RETURN OF ANALOGUE

When was the last time you received a letter in the post from a friend? Or even a proper Christmas card? Yup, we’re talking about the return of offline/physical “things”. 

We’re exhausted by intangibles and the throwaway nature of digital that we’re going back to offline goods. Paper newsletters, thank you cards, ‘zines (remember those?) and writing letters are all making a come back. Not only that but we tend to value them so much more.  I have a newsletter from a business coach from 2017 that I keep on referring back to even to this day. 

THE HOW

  • Write letters, send postcards, start a ‘zine. These are all very lo-fi and cheap ways of talking to your customers. They’re not as convenient as doing the digital thing but hey, that’s why we love them. The care and attention they show from a business is massive.
  • Give away small gifts. Notebook, stickers, pens… anything that’s physical that can hang around longer than a status update!

So, that’s part one and part two will be coming up soon. 

Happy Winter Solstice

The days are gonna get longer and the light is returning.

I dread winter.

So much so that I suffer from SAD and get myself into all kinds of trouble if I don’t look after myself.

Last year was probably my worst year yet and I vowed NEVER to go back there again.

And because if this, I knew that self-care HAD to be part of The Gentlewomen.

YOU are your business.

Whether you’re a solopreneur or leading a company, you’re the figurehead who drives the vision forward.

If you lose your sparkle, your vision dies.

So to take us through the Winter without losing your energy and drive, here are the things give you the best chance to get through the Winter.

1. Stay Hydrated
A few litres of water a day keeps your brain and your body in top tip working order. Just a one or two per cent drop in hydration can cause havoc with your concentration and more importantly with your mental health. 
Feeling a low, drink water.

2. Rest Often
One of the best bits of advice I was given this year was this “rest before you’re tired”. Seriously, pushing through and working to exhaustion takes days to recover from whereas resting before you’re tired ensures you always have fuel in your tank. And take advantage of the early evenings to go to bed early too.

3. See People… even if you don’t feel like it.
It’s so tempting to hibernate because it’s dark and cold but trust me, being around other people can help you get your sparkle back so fast. It doesn’t have to be a night out, it can just be popping to the shops and saying hello to people on your way there.

4. Make self-care a priority.
You have permission to say no to shit you don’t wanna do in favour of spending time with yourself to take care of YOU. It’s a rule in the Gentlewomen that you come first. Saying yes to self-care shows you care about yourself and YOU take priority.

Do you have any to add to the list? 
Have I missed one?
What are your go-to rituals for the winter months?

I’d love to know. Especially from wellness experts.

Shout up in the comments.

Big love and take care of YOU xx

You become what you *talk* about the most.

Anyone else setting some goals for 2019?

Nah, not me.

Over the last few months, I’ve been experimenting with goals and planning.

Y’know, set the goal, work backwards kinda thing?!

Well… here’s the thing.

I could plan the most audacious goals for next year and Gantt Chart the shit outta them but I’m not.

I can tell you the direction I’m going in aka My North Star.

But I couldn’t tell you today how I’m gonna get there.

Normally, I’d panic and be like “whoa, I gotta plaaaaaan something”.

This time, I know better.

✨It’s not about the plan, it’s about your curiosity✨

I’m gonna get a bit Woo on ya… hold tight…

Consider this for a second…

“I plan to make £1m in 2019.” 😴

Vs

“I’m excited to learn about building a world changing company.” 🤩

One is a goal and the other is based on curiosity.

One is linear (read: boring) and the other is nebulous (and brings in entanglement theory 😍).

But Carolynne, planning is important… how will we know what to do next?!?

✨Your muthafudging intuition/curiosity/obsession will guide you✨

*Drops mic*

Your subconscious is waaaaay more powerful than your conscious mind.

It’s like a quantum supercomputer vs a Casio Databank.

Imagine using the equivalent of a 1980s calculator to plan your life when you have HAL 9000 on your team.

Doh!

Even if we did plan and pivot on a daily basis, we’re still missing the mark to introduce luck, serendipity and entanglement into the equation.

But hey, this is all a bit too Woo for some people and they need concrete plans before they act. Or maybe even you’re leading a team and they need a plan.

So let me put this to you…

As a leader, you’re heading over there.

How you get there is up to you.

You can follow a plan and feel the associated heaviness of daily plodding.

Or you can trust and enjoy the process of curiosity that will take you there faster.

(Leaders with a team… ship the how to your team ASAP!! Ok?)

Us humans love certainty and planning gives us that.

But if we plan the shit outta every second of everyday, we miss the curiosity of reading about hundreds of different subjects, taking a trip into the countryside to think, going to an art gallery for inspiration or a chance conversation with a stranger.

Humans are hardwired for novelty. We look for differences because that’s how we make sense of the world.

We looooove shiny things.

So how do we do this curiosity thang on a practical level without getting distracted?

🤔Ask this question… does it take me TOWARDS my North Star or further away?

You’ll feel it in your gut.

You’ll catch yourself wandering aimlessly.

You’ll remember what the hell you’re meant to be doing and it will pull you back.

You’ll also get bored, restless and feel heavy if you’re not doing what you’re meant to be doing.

Funny, huh?

Wanna get even more practical… here’s a real life example.

How did I know to build The Gentlewomen the way I did?

A five minute conversation in 2016, a curiosity about macro economics, the chance reading of one sentence in a book, my obsession with human potential, my love of female leadership… and the number one thing I talk about the most… business.

I could NOT have planned this.

I’m building this to take women on a journey of improvement and inspiration. (We’re going over there/The North Star)

But I’m also just the custodian of this too. (Curiosity of what the women want and need and building it as we go/co-creation)

Am I the human to do it?! Y’DAMN RIGHT!

Because after all… you become what you talk about the must… and my chosen subject(s)… business and human potential.

We’re all going up together.

👊🏻💥💕

How to compress a year of business growth into 30 days.

✅ Focus on ONE business/project until the end of the year that will accelerate your business/life.

🚫 Stop spinning all the plates.

✅ Listen to ONE business coach until the end of the year… and 2019/20/21! 👋🏻 Hey JD.

🚫 No more shiny things.

✅ Cultivate connections in ONE community who you love = The Gentlewomen 💕

🚫 Endless FB Groups

Be fecking ruthless 👊🏻💥💕

Overplanning your business kills your joy and your profits.

My to-do list this morning comprised of one thing, planning my 2019 social media calendar.

I set aside two hours to brainstorm and wrangle some post ideas together.

I sat down to plan.

Then I went blank.

What am I meant to be doing this for?


I’ve always planned. I’m a strategist and I love spreadsheets. That was until about a month ago when my intuition started to kick in and I started getting in my own way.

My planning abilities disappeared.

Was I just procrastinating? Was I being a bit stubborn about the work I needed to do? Or was there something else at play here?

I decided to investigate.

For a whole week, I listened to my intuition.

I quietened my mind and asked the question “what’s next?”.

Instantly, I was getting answers.

Not only answers but the right answers.

I took action and launched The Gentlewomen’s Secret Society.

A handful of content planning. A sales page written from the heart. A day or two of building up to a launch and the sales came in.

And the alternative of this was to sit and think and strategise and ponder and feel the fear… just what I’d been doing for the last few months.

I know which one I’d rather be doing!

So this week, to experiment with the alternative, I got out my yearly planner and froze.

Yup… nothing.

The difference was startling.

The tension in my shoulders, the thought patterns and the fear.


Now, here’s the disclaimer. Like all things in this world, there are polar opposites to each action.

And in this case it’s planning vs intuition.

You can’t do just one and get great results.

The message here is this… use you intuition more and listen harder to the creative downloads you receive.

So that’s why I’ve created something called The Presence Planner.

To take advantage of the moment whilst still planning out what needs to be done.

I’m currently testing this out in myself and it will be available very soon.

There’s only one catch, it’s only available for The Gentlewomen.

So if you want to know the details, you’ll have to join the list over at thepresenceplanner.com

We all go up together 👊🏻💥💕

On potential.


Let that sink in for a second.

When we look in the same places, at the same people, doing the same things then we are not looking at our own true potential.

Potential is a dangerous thing. If we keep it inside and don’t find the courage to release it, we live a life of regret.

If we choose to open ourselves up and release our full potential, we have the opportunity to do great things for ourselves and others.

Only when we start looking at who we are and who we can become do we start releasing the huge and unfathomable power of our potential.

It’s something I have been obsessed by since a was a kid.

  • How do people go from regular to extraordinary?
  • Is it a daily practice?
  • Is it something we can learn?
  • What does it take?

Often, I feel like I have an invisible dam holding back everything inside me and I just want to break it.

I truly believe you do too but that invisible dam is holding you back.

It could be knowledge, courage, your environment, fear… whatever it is, YOU CAN break that dam.

I bet more than one person has looked at you and said “you’ve got something about you”…

THAT is your potential.

That half smile, that knowing look, that twinkle in your eye.

THAT is your potential.

The way you automatically do something that comes naturally to you but you’re afraid to show.

THAT is your potential.

Please, please… don’t die with that still inside you. We need that. We need you.

Take one tiny step to smash that invisible dam TODAY and release your full potential.

We all go up together 👊🏻💥💕


Inspired by – https://link.medium.com/Tn8uwuNC4R

On being seen


I want to invite you to be seen

I want you to stand in all your glory.

I want you to show off (yes, show off!) your talents and gifts.

✨I want you to shine✨

For many years, as a child, I was told to be quiet, speak when I was spoken to, let others go first.

Was was shouted down when I got on stage at primary school even though I’d won the part.

I was always last to “do a turn” at my Nanna’s Christmas party and wait until the other kids had done their bit.

I was even bullied for speaking up about things I felt strongly about. “Nice girls don’t talk about things like that”.

I’M CALLING BS ON BEING QUIET… Especially for The Gentlewomen in my life.

You, yes YOU, are a powerhouse of stories, wisdom and talent who needs to BE SEEN.

Our experience goes deep and not just in our businesses.

Does anyone else look to wise women for guidance then you’ll know what I mean.

It’s why I’m building The Gentlewomen.

It is a natural extension of the magic that happened in that room in August this year.

I’m trying to capture that magic and bring it to the women that need it, where we can share our stories and wisdom with other Gentlewomen.

It’s not perfect, it’s not polished, it’s a work in progress just like we are.

But the one thing I know for certain is that when you bring a bunch of women together, magic happens.

And if you were looking for permission to be sen then this is it.

Shine Lady, shine ✨


Feel that yearning in your stomach?

That’s your cue to join us and be seen.

The curtain will be pulled back today (22/11/18) at 11:11am GMT (cos Wooniverse innit!?).

I’m limiting the members, only because I want to ensure everyone joining is seen and taken care of properly. None of that fake scarcity BS!

Follow your intuition and shine ✨


JOIN US

https://thegentlewomen.mn.co/

Why The Gentlewomen has our own social media platform.

Why The Gentlewomen has our own social media platform.

Facebook… love it or hate it, it’s sticking around for the foreseeable future and us business owners have to go with the flow.

If our community is on there then we should be there too.

But the problem with Facebook (among others) is that it feels very shallow. Not in a pretentious way but in a quick and easy kinda way.

Lemme explain.

The decision to start The Gentlewomen on its own platform was for this big reason.

Depth of connection.

I’ve been doing a bit of research into focus and learning. iOS 12 has a sexy new feature that shows the time spent on your apps and it’s been an eye opener.

Yup, you guessed it, I’m addicted to my phone. I didn’t need an app to tell me that but seeing the data, it was way more obvious.

The data also showed something else. Or what the data didn’t show was the amount of focus and attention I was giving some apps and not others.

The time spent on Medium and Blinkist were averaging over ten minutes for each session and I felt like I’d learnt something. Whereas time spent on Instagram and Facebook was longer but I couldn’t recall anything I’d looked it.

Interestingly… I went on to discuss articles after I’d been on Medium (and shared more) but not on Facebook. Except cat photos. Cos come on, who doesn’t share cat photos?!

What I’m saying is that Medium and Blinkist were deliberate actions and Instagram and Facebook was mostly mind numbing attention sucks! Obviously, they’re a completely different proposition. Social media platform vs reading app but the fact remains the same, deliberate action is better than shallow interaction.

So after all this… the conclusion was that if we want to get the most out of The Gentlewomen, then the action had to be deliberate and building it on something that *makes* it deliberate. It’s a different style of app and platform with a different use. Learning and deep connection not shallow and full of cat photos (aaah)!

Hold the phone, there’s more!!

*puts on nerd glasses*

The platform HAD to be accessible on mobile. Big reason, convenience. User experience is everything and clunky websites that aren’t optimised for mobile aren’t going to be used. Even the big education platforms aren’t getting it right resulting in having to access courses on desktop. I’m having this experience with a Teachable based course right now even with their iOS app.

So does Mighty Networks do courses? Hell yeah it does! Not gone deep into it but they do and with it being on all one platform, no doubt the community part will go well alongside the learning. It will be developed as and when the masterclasses are available.

One more thing… WordPress 😬

I could have built this on WordPress with a host of lovely plugins which I’ve done before and vowed never to do again. I would disappear down a hole of customising and tweaking never to be seen again which defeats the object of doing what I’m mean to be doing. Ie. Building a community around teaching and learning.

All in all, I’m excited to pull away from the “make do and mend” way that Facebook have created groups and crappy UX from the big boys in education. Plus, there’s the added bonus of not giving myself RSI from building something from scratch.

🥂 A toast to Mighty Networks and a long and prosperous relationship.

It’s Monday – Attack the Day

It’s Monday – Attack the Day

Wow, is it something in the air today or is everyone in hustle mode? Most social media updates I’ve seen from my crazy entrepreneur friends are mostly about “yeah, it’s Monday, I’m in hustle mode”.

Well, good for you!

There seems something a little insincere about these posts. Almost like a fake determination to make shit happen even though they’re really not feeling it.

If I say it then it’s true.

Normally, Instagram is the hustle capital of the social media world with inspirational quotes and “fuck yeah” positivity but today, Facebook has stolen its crown.

A hive of activity all before 8am with lists of things to accomplish, how the day is set up down to the last minute and self reflection on how they’re gonna be more authentic.

What is it with people puking their productivity at us?

You don’t get a prize for what you’re gonna do, you get it when it’s done. And even then, no one really cares how productive you’ve been.

People are inherently selfish. They don’t look to you to show them how wonderful you’re gonna be. They look at how you make them feel.

A few years ago, there was a backlash from the eco warriors about something called Fast Fashion. The clothing lifecycle was going from being designed to landing in stores in two weeks. Then being bought, worn once and thrown into landfill. Cheap, flimsy, zero quality garment that looked good once then fell apart after one wash.

This is the state of social media right now. Fast Social.

From idea to page in minutes, being consumed once and archived, never to be visited again.

The endless churning of post after picture after video… why? For what purpose?

To stay top of mind?

To attract attention?

To stay current?

It’s endless.

And soulless.

The wheels have fallen off social media because our attention span has gone from minutes to moments. Our brain filters out information and ignores irrelevant posts.

We even go on a social media hiatus because of the constant bombardment.

What’s the alternative?

Well, it’s good old craft and creativity with a helping of feeling.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

– Maya Angelou

BOOM!

We don’t care what you’re saying, we care about how you make us feel.

Happy, intrigued, heartbroken, inspired, calm, safe, loved.

That is how you stay top of mind, always have people’s attention and stay current. With feeling.

Go about your work with quiet determination, conviction and passion.

Create a masterpiece of a day instead of a whirlwind of productivity.

Release your best work and put quality over quantity.

Be deliberate in your action and make us feel something.

Day Three – A Working Title

Day Three – A Working Title

I have a dilemma. Do I write something half arsed or do I fail at my discipline challenge on day three?

I’m tilting towards deleting this post, forgetting all about it and pretend I didn’t say I was gonna do this.

That’s the easy route obviously but this is a challenge in discipline. So it’s time to get creative.

My challenge was to write, walk and meditate for the next 30 days and I bet you can guess which I’ve done today.

Leaving writing.

The action of stringing words together into meaning.

Or is it?

Writing is the action we all post on our to do list but writing isn’t the real action. It’s the cause.

And the effect is the impact.

Take what you do for a living. I run a business. Fair enough. That’s the cause.

Let’s turn it on it’s head.

I champion and cheerlead female business owners and right now I’m doing that through writing. That’s the effect.

Impacting female business owners is the effect to focus upon. Not the cause of writing. Doh!

Now that sounds and feels so much better.

We can all get caught up in the doing of the action but we tend to forget the reason why we’re doing it.

For example, connect with likeminded people online becomes do social media. It’s just another action and it lacks so much feeling.

So the next time you have an action transform it into the affect you want to make.