Mindfulness & the Solopreneur
I am a solo printer, and perhaps some of you are, perhaps many of you are we live in a world now where many many, many people are working on their own obviously used to be go to school, you go to college, whatever you graduate, get a job, you try to stay there and then you'd retire, I would say those days are pretty much over, and now there I almost everyone I know, and I'm very curious about you, and I think you especially, um, uh, is trying to make an independent life doing their business in their way in their home or in a small office or whatever on their own or with others. But everybody that I know, including myself, is trying to do their own, be their own boss, be a solo prisoner, build their professional life around who they are and what they love and what they're interested in. So whether you're ah an artist or a coach or a massage therapist or a yoga teacher or ah, designer or ah writer or a musician or ah, software engineer it's very likely that you are now or will it some po...
int be self employed? And I've made the leap to self employment a long time ago, maybe ten years ago, and I found that without an understanding of style and without the practice of mindfulness, I mean it's still it's not easy, but I noticed there were certain problems that arose for me over and over and for many people I know and that the applying mindfulness to these issues helped enormously so I want to talk about what I have discovered a some of the problem lt's their unique to sell a preneurs and suggest ways that mindfulness could help but first, let me ask how many of you are solo preneurs half excellent and my guess is within the next five to ten years could be all of you who knows? So the first, uh, issue that I ran into when I went from being other employees to self employed was finding a rhythm, a working rhythm that made sense to me because I thought, well, okay, now I'm worked for myself while I'll get up at seven thirty like I used to and I'll be at my desk at eight thirty and I'll work till five and then I'll take the weekends off and it'll be just like that, but in my house, well, that never worked not even for one day and I started to get very like how do I find my rhythm now if this isn't it what I've done for my whole adult life? How how can I should I just sleep when I feel like sleeping and work when you feel like working should I have a routine that I mandate or should I work seven days a week how I'm going to figure this out so we everyone I know who's want gone from to self employment from being employed as has faced this problem of just trying to replicate their office mentality in there self employment situation and often it's it's not appropriate it doesn't work so it takes some patience and some mindfulness and some faith to let your rhythm sort of unfold and appear and maybe you like working first thing in the morning maybe you don't maybe work from noon to three and that's it maybe you start working at seven p m and your natural rhythm is to go sleep at three a m we don't know when we work for the man we don't know because we're trying to shoehorn ourselves into someone else's schedule but now we have the chance to let our own rhythm arise and without the practice of mindfulness first of all it's very uncomfortable good I think I'm screwing up I should be working every second and then you do end up working every second I would have just uh struggled more to find my rhythm than perhaps I did so that's the first therefore uh the second uh issue I built that solo preneurs face and I think this is the biggest one is self doubt that comes in endless waves and after a few years I was like when is this ride over and now that it's been almost ten years I realized that it's not and the waves of self doubt look like this you have a phone call or email exchange with someone that's positive hey, I like what you're doing and you like this is gonna work and then you have a phone call and email exchange with someone doesn't want what you having like this will never work I am a loser and I'm doomed and you're bouncing back and forth between you're just as good as your last phone call or email or whatever it is and it's very hard to find a balance of feeling completely hopeful like yes I did the right thing this is awesome and then just completely downhearted this will never work and I would like to tell you if this is you that neither of those is true and that finding a way to ride these waves which is what the practice of mindfulness is is of tremendous importance for yourself care because it's so stressful it's so stressful and when you think things were great, it feels happy but then coming right up next to something that you think isn't great and then you have to fall and I'm not saying you shouldn't I feel like things are greater things there are not great getting everybody needs to be very smart and pragmatic and practical in the way they view their income and their opportunities and their future and so on but these doubt this waves it's really important to find a way to ride them when your solo prisoner so if you're feeling them that's not unusual you're not weird and uh mindfulness practice can really help um the third and then there's four and then I really want to hear from you guys is having some sense of your own value I think it's really hard for everybody and I think maybe for women on maybe there's an extra layer of difficulty and many people I know have been solo preneurs have just thought well I'll do a lot of things for free for a long time and then something good will happen and maybe it will but maybe you won't often and I'm speaking from personal experience we do that for too long and the hardest part of solo prisoner ship is asking for money first knowing the amount to ask for and then actually letting that number come out of your mouth and not changing it to a lower number fifty um mindful communication is of tremendous value in this particular regard when you have to tell someone what you're charging them first unjust of establishing your own value your own worth of acknowledging it without going too high or too low but basically correctly takes mindfulness but then saying it to someone not with uh apology or aggression? I'm wishing you no more twice that but just simply as it is is one of the great fruits of being a mindful communicator and I'm think that's true because I have not mastered that so I've devised have still struggle with us a lot although I have to say in the last year it's become somehow I turn personally have turned a corner and I no longer think of my value as being an indication of my worth as a human being it's more the question to me is what do I need to make? What do I want to make? Not what am I worth, which is a that question is like punching a one way ticket to palookaville my friends don't buy that ticket and that's a really interesting inside tara gentilly, one of our previous instructors you know she was actually talking about not linking your own value to the value like the not monetary value, what you're charging so important site right that's a really good insight it's a really good insight and not easy to dio but really accurate and then the final uh, challenge that I think cilla prayers face is managing speed you want to rush, you want to make things happen, you want to accomplish a million things a day or watch real housewives of atlanta I'm not speaking from personal experience on that I binge watched real housewives of atlanta and the not too distant past anyway somehow finding a way to manage the information, the possibility, the anxiety, the billions of steps that you need to take to make your own business finding times to rest very hard, allowing yourself to rest so when you are have some skill at mindfulness, you actually can have somewhat of a choice over how fast your mind is working and you can say, you know what? Let's, take a break and then you actually can but without cultivating mindfulness the ability to sort of place your mind where you would like it to go you're really at the mercy of the speed of your schedule in your world in the world, on the internets and so on. So mindfulness as we discussed when we were practicing, if nothing else is the practice of resting your mind on the breath and this is very rejuvenating and enables you to get back in the game with some more bigger so I'm curious uh, of the solo preneurs here people have experienced as solo preneurs what are your reflections? How has it been for you and how it has mindfulness perhaps helped you or what would you suggest to people? Um gosh, before I landed my great job here at creative life, I was a freelancer for a few years as art director I didn't work from home though I would be a guest star different ad agencies for like a month or two months three months um and it was just it was difficult because in each different company in each different team within that company there's just a plethora of different that communication styles then there's the clients and that's another layer of communication styles and constantly switching between them you know, I really I kind of wish I had known all of this beforehand because I think it's a great tool where you can kind of quickly sketch out like okay, this person could be a warrior or there's two warriors in this room right now I don't need to be the warrior also so I can soften in that way but sometimes group's heir just everyone's very kind of the poet and they need a warrior to step forward so I think that's something I'm going to experiment with and uh it kind of took me back to my original question I had yesterday about I was like, I need to be going to be more assertive but learning all of this it's really kind of lifted the pressure because I don't have to be assertive I can do it um if it's appropriate in that moment but it's not always um and it's kind of judging the vibe of the room really that is a beautiful way of answering your own question really, really awesome it is and I appreciate it um because what you're saying if I could rephrase just the last part of what you said is rather than thinking you need to become different be more assertive or whatever you would call it, talk louder or be more demanding or whatever you might think that question is no longer the question on the table the question on the table is how can I be more sort of by being more who I am and judging more skillfully who others are and timing and so forth and that is really an empowering way to ask the same question so I appreciate you for that switch um and it is really hard as an art director and designer I work with designers to and and I can tell when I ask a question that they immediately think that I don't know understand which I probably don't I'm like can you make that blew a different kind of blue and they're like no actually I can't so there's it's it's complicated to talk about this thing for which you have a sophisticated language and for which someone like me does not? I'm just like I don't like blue or whatever blue means you're mad that or something like that which I've heard from my designer friends that clients of um so how how but you're but now you're here so congratulations that's great and have you developed a sense of your style and I don't want a pro but have you what do you what do you mean in a full time roll like this? It is more settled with the team so you all kind of grow together it's not this constant shifting of different personalities you get to know each other a little better so I appreciate that so you've seen your boat so you've seen looked at life from both sides now and what advice would you give to people who are working on their own? What is like the best thing if you could say any tell them any one thing, what would you tell them? It's kind of like I mentioned, like think about the different communication styles we've gone over and if you walk into a room and there's five people you haven't met before, you're kicking off a new project do a quick kind of like energy read of what's going on is everyone tired and you need to bring the energy or is obviously one person the leader kind of adjust to that instead of just kind of saying I'm going to be this way today and marching in with your thing blazing people khun b turned off or turned on by that but it's more of a luck thing, right? Right exactly sort of hoping for the best right, but what you're describing is ah more skillful way and a more mindful way and ultimately I would say more empowering way to enter a work situation so thank you what don't on me was years ago I used to work for my husband's business and we did both full sail and retail so I couple times a year do the wholesale trade shows with him and like that and then other times I'd help out with the you know doing the art in wines and other fairs and whatnot and and it was I love selling gosh that was fun you know whether it was the whole sale crowd that you have at best twenty seconds to get their attention about what it is you got right there behind you and uh you are you could play till the cows come home for the most part with the retail crowd you know so depending on uh you know the situation and who had what suit on what costume who was wearing what costume pretty much determined how you were goingto communicate with him you know and of course the first thing was pretty much to engage them on something that they have interest in whether it's their appearance or uh something they can't live without but they don't know it yet interesting you know very interesting and being a sales person of any kind obvious I think obviously this understanding of communication styles is it's like how could you do it without this sort of be the question I would ask myself, yes, chameleon like rather than be who you are, I said, yo, I don't think so. No, you could still be yourself and still be what they were you perceived that they need, I think you could be more yourself and more skillful, like willow, said it's, not being a chameleon sort of implies becoming someone else, but this way you can sort of adjust your presence in relation to who the other person is, which is a kind thing to do. So I just repeat briefly, a story that I told in our previous session, which I think really illustrates the usefulness of this kind of information. So forgive me if I'm repeating myself, but I love my story, uh, and, uh, I as a communication style for I'm very attuned to how people are feeling and what things mean, and, you know, if someone says to me, I have a problem that I'd like to talk to you about and all my receptors open, I'm like, oh, problem that's interesting, you know, you're in pain. Oh, my heart goes out to you, and something genuine must be happening because when the pain is president and something really is happening just the way my language and I worked for someone who when I would tell him I have having a problem with a project that we're doing it here is my boss would just glaze over his receptors would close and he would just shut me out energetically and physical literally would walk away from me not interested in my problems and I thought, oh I must be and asked or no actually he must be one because someone is because this is very unpleasant then I realized that his communication style was seven style and for this person problems are anathema because this person likes to look at what's possible and when you tell someone this person have a problem they have to like take their eye off the horizon and look at what's happening here and it could be a little messy or ricky or you can't look at possibilities when you're looking at problems so instead of saying to him I have a problem I learned to say to him I have an idea and I I'd like your feedback because an idea would make him go and a problem they can go so then I would tell him my problem but phrased as an idea so with that being a chameleon I don't think so I think I was making a little adjustment in the way I language things to make it easier for us to have a conversation about something that was important and the most important part of this story to me uh is not that I got my problem solved or he got to have fun toying with ideas but that the interpersonal angst dissipated the interpersonal agitation I don't like you know, I don't like you know this we can't work together you're not nice because you don't like my problems that all in a way so at that point you can focus on actually what is important, which is in this case getting our particular job done because all those other things not so interested, not helpful so also would say that in our current business climate, a lot of people including us solo preneurs are starting new things and there are a lot of new companies such as the one we're in right now people doing very exciting, interesting new things, a lot of newness, a lot of disruption, a lot of innovation, a lot of creativity, it's very exciting. So in the current business climate, the qualities that are most valuable, I would say our things like speed get it done quickly get it to market be first execution, get it done right don't put it out there sloppy although we couldn't iterating iterating iterating, which is a way of saying make it better make it better make it better, but still we want tobe able to execute cleanly and that requires a team that can move typically little speedboats that are just zip around and get things done. Well, another thing that's important is customer service is of paramount importance establishing one to one relationships with customers, whether your massage therapist or, you know, a software company actually making real relationships with people is it is important to your success that back to me is very hopeful for planet earth, by the way, um, because word of mouth is everything everything and you can't game word of mouth can't by word of mouth except in certain ways, but ultimately the genuine thing will win out, which is very exciting. And then finally we want to work in a place or create a business that is innovative. We want to work with people that are creative and where we think of things they've never been thought of before, and that doesn't happen in an environment of fear ever. It only happens in an environment of communication and connection, so the ability to communicate means you can do things quickly, you could execute them well, you can create positive relationships and you could be creative as a team. So whenever I've seen anything fail, it hasn't been because your ideas and great you don't have enough money you haven't assembled the right talent, you've not position your product in the marketplace correctly no, I know that's not it it's because someone doesn't like someone it's, because missy didn't say hi to me and I don't like her, I'm not going to that meeting, I'm not I mean, I know that sounds petty, but that's what happens? People don't rub up against each other in the wrong way and have miscommunications and at that point that's a danger. So what we're learning here, I think, is a way of creating, of navigating the dangers and being extremely smart and skillful in not letting poor communication, uh, be a stumbling block for us when we try to create when we try to make ideas manifest in the world. So enough of that, I want to recap to you a little bit. I want to make some suggestions to you about if you want to continue the practice of mindfulness, how you might do that, um, in your life, and then if we have remaining questions about mindfulness, or about any of these things, I would love to hear them, of course. So how do you establish a home practice? Because it's great to sit with others, and then you go home you're like, well, actually. What's for lunch, and I'll do it tomorrow or I'll do it next lifetime or whatever it is, and I'm right there with you. That happens to me all the time, too. So as I mentioned, I have the open heart project. I've taught more than twelve thousand people how to meditate through the people in that project and the workshops I've taught and so on. And and of course, I am a practitioner of twenty years, and I I have seen through all of these experiences, this is what I suggest will help you create a home practice and this from my observation, not from a book I read, so the first is try to practice at the same time every day and there's nothing magical about that it's just that if you want to create a habit, somehow tying that habit to a time period helps it take root. So for most people, the time that they choose to meditate is the morning because it's, just easiest for most people. For most people that's when they have the most energy and they get it done and then they go about their day and they don't have toe worry about it, but if you have nine children that you have to get off to school, then that's not the best time for you or two or one um or if you're a night out, if you like in the morning I could barely get through that cup of coffee uh may be the best time three two practices in the evening you know when you get home from work er before you go to sleep that's completely fine there's nothing magic about the morning or the evening the best time is the time that works best for you and then try to stay with that time and it may take a little bit of experimentation to find out what is the right time, so let it unfold don't decide before you actually test it out to make sure it works. The second suggestion is to establish a meditation schedule for yourself that isn't doable here's what you don't say I am going to meditate for half an hour every day for the rest of my life don't say it because you won't and then when you don't you feel bad and feeling bad feels bad so instead come up with some sort of schedule for yourself that is really doable and I mean really doable like I'm going to meditate for five minutes monday through friday for a month and then after that month I'm going to reassess I'm gonna say okay let's, do this for another month or let's go to ten minutes or let's go to monday wednesday friday just make an adjustment for another month or two months but step by step doable, doable, doable and here's the instruction of what to do when you blow it and this instruction is deep because it comes from the tibetan meditation master chicken trump or amputee who was one of the meditation masters of our age no longer with us died in nineteen eighty seven but I know of our basic time frame one of the greats and his instruction for what to do when you fall off the cushion so to speak is the following you should feel terrible horrible for five seconds and then you gotta cut that crap out because it is not you so if you want to feel bad go ahead amp it up turn it up to eleven feel like crap for five minutes five seconds and then you got to stop because it is so useless to feel bad so don't do that. Okay, then the next suggestion is I already mentioned consistency over duration short periods short regular periods is better than long irregular periods so five minutes a day is better than an hour a week that makes sense. Then uh, find a place, create a place for your practice that you like to go to, you know don't just sit down on your dirty laundry and do your meditation make a little place in your home or your room whatever it is it doesn't have to be fancy, but a cushion that you like to sit on a chair that you feel comfortable in if you like, you can have a little table like this or like this and put something on it that makes you feel good, it could be flowers or a picture of someone or something you love or you could light a candle or it's not required, but just something that makes it feel uplifted and like and that when you walk into that space and sit at the spot you automatic, your meditation has already started because you just associate it with that place and, well, it doesn't have to be fancy, it should be clean and neat and preserve the kind of elegance that is inherent in the practice and inherent in yourself. The next suggestion, the final suggestion is to try to meditate with others so it's really great to meditate on your own it's deep and you really can discover very profound things, but it is really helpful to also to meditate with others. It is buoyant it like boys your practice when you sit with others and it makes you go a little bit longer a little bit further than you might on you your own I don't leave even if you feel like we sat here there's something about the presence of other people that are meditating that encourages you so it's good to find people to meditate with so I'm a buddhist so I can only talk about buddhist traditions and if you're looking for a place to meditate I of course can recommend the lineage I practice in the shambala buddhist lineage, which is in a tibetan tradition there trumbull a centers all over the place but you don't have to go there um you can go to of a possum, a center or insight meditation center or a zen center these air beautiful, wonderful time honored honed beautiful practices um and the basic consideration should be, in my opinion go somewhere that is connected to a lineage that is more than two thousand five hundred years old. That is the line I like to draw because we want something that's rooted in lineage doesn't mean you have to be a buddhist ear's in person but something that preserves something has been tested, something that has been practised by countless people, something that is really something you khun trust not something that someone made up in their house six years ago um and you might need to sort of check around to see which one you like the best um I was taught to meditate by my meditation teacher obviously, who was taught by his meditation teacher who was choked him from peru mircea the person I just talked about children trump was taught by his meditation teacher, who is taught by her meditation teacher and his meditation meditation teacher and so on presumably back to the time of the buddha. So I'm not saying this so you think I'm standing in for the buddha, but there is a sort of unbroken line of transmission that is important in our day and age where things could be very disc disconnected so you want to learn from someone who learned from someone who learned from someone and so on so that in a sense there's even just a whiff of, you know, the originator in what we do together this power and transmission because meditation is more than an explanation, it is a transmission and the transmission quality is preserved by lineage I posit um and if you can't find a place to go or you don't want to leave your house for any reason, please think about joining the open heart project because it is meditation instruction that comes to you and even though you can't see the other twelve thousand people we are all practicing together and a really lovely sense of community has developed um all over the world uh on the internet so uh those are my suggestions for creating a practice at home and please uh stay in touch with me, I would love that of course, and my information is here before we as we close our wonderful time together has been wonderful for me thank you I want to hear what have you learned what did you learn about yourself what did you learn about mindfulness or communication and also people out there I would love to hear what did you learn what did you learn hey you like to go first ellie what would you like to share with us perhaps so much it's a focus and something um any immediate thoughts from anybody while he's thinking yes marian we're coming back to you oh absolutely I'm sorry to see that things I don't understand are people who are the behaviors are not necessarily good or bad it's just different from how I would see this it would be useful to get someone inside our understanding in their behaviour and saul it's nice to see a different perspective that's an important insight you know that I think would be really useful going forward at work and personal life to not just be like oh that's stupid r this is I don't like this as a posting okay so if I put myself in their shoes how am I seeing this problem that's great and that is exactly right to me because I said earlier that the proper use of this information is as a compassion tool as a skilful means and what you just described is compassion is letting people off the hook for being different than you maybe it sounds stupid to you and maybe in some way it is but basically it's just a kn indication of a different mind working in a way that other than yours and making space for that and being curious about that and allowing that and not discounting that is compassionate so I thank you for that that's beautiful and wonderful and just what I would hope thank you. Anybody else? Yes, I I really enjoyed that appreciate their curiosity part of their conversation how to come at a job interview and, um really be curious about person how you can help them and then what they do first of all, what do they need maybe and have a conversation rather than being interrogated and and they're like, find your value and that can come from just a true understanding ofthe self and like being present and quieten your mind which is, um part of my mission now inspired uh that inspires me. And what you just said to me is extremely generous to bring your curiosity to another person as opposed to your judgment or your demands or your assumptions whatever it might be is a real act of generosity and kindness and curiosity is a powerful antidote to fear and two hesitation and it's a gesture of kindness to justice what marianne was saying so I appreciate you for that very much and I I wish you years of enjoyment and exploring your own curiosity and I know it will also be a benefit to the people in your life so good luck about your own experience and what inspired you to take this direction and bringing, uh, possible communication possibilities possible communication s indeed indeed what inspired me to be interested in this yes, exactly and teo and to work with it and share it well, thank you that's a little question um I just find it so fascinating and so helpful like the dharma the n e a gram in particular has spin for me eh profound source of wisdom hearing about both of them which is a lifetime on multiple lifetimes in itself I thought I had the same reaction which was so someone's making sense around here finally this makes sense so I also seemed to be born with this a desire to communicate I'm a writer I am a teacher and a speaker and so speech is of my king it turns out I didn't know that I didn't decide that it turns out that that is what I feel drawn to do. So that's my motivation thank you I really appreciate the length a new language I've been in sales for seventeen years and so I've done some of this without the language that you're using when I know when I'm with different personality types you have to be open kind of what the things that you're saying gives me now a language to put around what I have been doing and I've also had a meditation practice for many years and have been trying to bridge bridge that and I think the whole point of meditation is to be in the world be awake in the world and make a difference but how how do I do that? Because I felt like do whatever I do in the world so bringing the language of the personality types about and then what I'm doing here in my other what I feel like is a personal practice brings it all into the world in a nice language that I have now toe work with a whole different way of looking at it so I appreciate the synchronization says the word I'm looking for ben language that comes with it that's great and I appreciate that you have taken this information and brought it into your experience that's the key is making it your own so I appreciate you for doing that very, very much and, um I'm excited for you thanks uh ical obit said uh I've been practicing station for about sixteen, seventeen years myself first couple years it's and um meditation and then another ancient practice falun dafa and both of you know, there's this very deep emphasis on insight and awareness and cultivating compassion um and so that that was always very deep but what this ads for me is like you say this skillful means it's another level both in terms of understanding okay these are my own potential hindrances or talk about booze like attachments things that are stopping me from growing but I also compel potentially see it you and other people and then how I can help them be it that's an interpersonal relationship from family members or of its in business that somebody you know part of that business or that person somehow I can kind of match what's needed in that situation because I understand you know that's or that person stuck then we can all grow so it it really helps to provide a very useful framework I think to be able to actually use mindfulness in you know, in daily life um for, you know, helping oneself and others that's fantastic I'm so glad and and like what trish was saying you're bringing it into your experience and you're making this information that we've been sharing your own and thinking about how you can apply it in your actual life situations which is completely excellent and totally the point so thank you for that and I want to reiterate something I said earlier which is anything that we've talked about anything that I've said it doesn't matter until you bring it into your own experience and check it against against that experience like proof it should be your attitude and test it and see what makes sense and whatever your experience corroborates now it is your wisdom you own it did not come from me doesn't matter I might be the first person to say it but so what now it's yours and what isn't corroborated you never have to think about it again don't worry about it it's not it's not not necessary like uh she said this but in my life I don't see that that's not true don't worry about it now you don't need to think about it anymore so your experiences of primary importance and your intelligence bringing your intelligence to all of this information is actually the only thing that matters and I trust each of you now after this time together that you are going to do that so I'm happy online natalie I'm sorry excuse me nana w says um I I am appreciative that you've been teaching me how to be present with my habitual interaction patterns and noticing them and letting them gradually lessen their hold on me that's fantastic right that's great yeah and somehow in the noticing and at w the loosening happens which I find very interesting it's not like you notice and then you have to get some sort of a shoehorn in there to let it to sort of start to separate yourself from the pattern the noticing and the separating come together the noticing in the dissolution come together, which so observation, mindfulness noticing is, again there's another indication of how powerful it is. So thank you for that.