Episode 3 of Soulful Branding Live with Lulu is all about life lessons. It’s my birthday today and, increasingly, the wiser I get, this time of the year calls for pause and reflection.
8 years ago, I created a 29 lessons from 29 years list. Now, I’m carrying on from there and adding the profound life lessons I’ve learned since – AND how they each apply to soulful branding.
The learning continues…
1. Figure out what your boundaries are and learn how to assert them
This applies to so many aspects of life!
For example, creating boundaries between work and the rest of your life. How much time will you devote to each? What spaces will be sacred? And so-forth.
Then, there’s asserting your boundaries with the people in your life. Your parents, your partners, your siblings, your children, your friends etc. I think, with growing self-awareness, you start to recognize what drains you and what restores you and you start to feel less guilty about removing the former and asking for the latter.
Ultimately, I feel it’s about creating conditions for your best self to shine. For your own wellbeing, first and foremost, and then so that you can bring your best to every situation.
This applies to how you show up for the people you want to serve and in this way, this is totally about soulful branding! Are you creating conditions for your brand to be expressed in its full glory? Are you removing the things that are holding you back and focusing on the things that give your brand life?
2. Space expands
Having “no time” is the biggest excuse in the book because, we can make time. I find that, when I DECIDE to make time for the things that are important to me, there is plenty of it.
Sure, it involves what may initially feel like sacrifices. However, I often realise that a lot of the things I’ve not prioritised are actually not that important at all. In fact, I can live without them!
When I create space for things that count, I experience more space in my life.
This is about being discriminating and focusing on what is essential for me to be the best version of myself.
This applies to your branding too! Be specific and focused about who you’re speaking to and serving. Then, distill your branding to express what makes you you which, is what makes you special and unique. Everything else is unnecessary fluff!
3. The body never lies (or, trust your gut!)
A few years ago, while working with a therapist, I became more sensitive to signals from my body. When in challenging or uncomfortable situations, I noticed certain physical sensations.
I started to learn how to interpret the nuances of these sensations. Sometimes they are warnings – my body urging me to STOP! Other times, they are simply nerves because I’m stretching myself outside my comfort zone. In these cases, my body is challenging me to step up!
If I look back at moments from the past few years, my body has never been wrong. I’ve ignored it several times of course, and later kicked myself for not listening!
Many of these moments have been in the business context. Saying “yes” to projects and opportunities that would have been better left alone. The solution? Staying true to my why and to my values, helps me make decisions that my gut approves.
Having a business philosophy is a good place to start. I wrote an article to help you with this.
4. Self-care is your most important responsibility
Like almost everybody else on the planet, I struggle to act in alignment with this belief. In the 29 lessons, I included how being health (of mind, body and soul) has to be the utmost priority but. I share this similar point again because, I have a whole new level of appreciation for its importance.
My son-shine is one of my biggest responsibilities but, even above him, is a responsibility to myself – in order to facilitate my being my best for him and being able to give him the best foundation that I can.
I have stopped trying to do self-care at the end of the day. My goal is always to do it first. On the days where I do get to spend 3 hours on myself, before the work day even begins, I feel less and less guilt! On the days where I decide to get an extra hour or two of sleep, I feel less and less guilt.
It’s a process. It’s a journey. And it keeps me alive.
As brands, we can think of self-care in terms of how we keep tuning in to what drives us and what fuels our inspiration. We can also think of it as loving on all of our touchpoints. Touchpoints being the different ways in which people interact with our brands – in real life and online. These are the windows into the soul of our business. They are what enables connection with the people we want to serve and so, deserve our utmost attention.
5. Make time to think
You know how we’re always being advised to focus on the things that only we can do and then delegate the rest? If you’re a business owner, this usually refers to your core skill or talent that nobody else can replicate.
Often, this skill or talent is a result of you thinking unlike how others think. Sure, the outcomes of your thinking will manifest in different ways. In my case, it’s usually drawing, or how I teach a course, or through writing…
But at the bottom of it all is thinking. And that’s why it’s so important to make time to think. Think of it as making time for your special kind of genius to percolate and then bear fruit.
I remember a time when I didn’t appreciate this lesson. I was so caught up in day-to-day reacting and firefighting. I became so stressed out and overwhelmed that, my body started to rebel!
These days, I make time to think through my almost-daily journaling practice and through my monthly business planning days.
Thinking time gives you pause from the day-to-day reactive tasks in your business or life, and helps you focus on the bigger picture of your brand.
It will help you keep innovating around how you can bring more of your special magic to your tribe, and achieve your goals in the process!
6. This too shall pass
There have been so many tough moments where I’ve felt completely overwhelmed by life. Where I’ve wanted to give up on things, quit, admit defeat, opt out…
But, just like the contractions of labour, there comes a point where you realise you’re at the peak of intensity. Or, that you’re at the rock-bottom. Time at the peak, or the bottom, can last a while but, things can only get better from there.
It’s then when you appreciate that, this too shall pass. It always does.
Perhaps you’ve put your heart and soul in how you speak to your audience and you’re not getting the response you desire. You’ve put in all of this work but you’re not seeing results. Be curious, be observant, ask questions and be teachable. Be open to learning and growing.
Make adjustments as you learn of the need to do so. Trust that there is a tipping point.
7. Unconditional love teaches patience and composure like nothing else
I didn’t truly know unconditional love until I had my son. This experience has also helped me understand my parents in a completely new light. All those times I expected them to be angry with me for transgressions or disappointments, and instead, they just showed me love.
I get it now. In such situations, my reaction is one of empathy, above all else. And with empathy, comes composure and patience.
Empathy is one of the things that will make your branding stand out for and connect with, the people who need and want what you have to give. Your job is to show them that you understand them and resonate with them.
8. Honour your emotions
In recent years, I learned about highly sensitive people and empaths. I was so excited to find out that, I’m not just an emotional mess! It was something to have my experience validated and to receive affirmation for all those times somebody told me to “stop being so sensitive!”.
I have realised that our emotions are a gift, in more ways than we realise. I have seen and understood the power of emotion. The world-changing power of emotion!
In fact, the first module of the Soulful Branding course is titled “Let’s talk about feelings”. I believe that everything starts from there…
What major life lessons are shaping your experience?
What are the most important life lessons you’ve learned?
What situations/moments have transformed you in profound ways?
And how do you want to feel, when it comes to your personal or business brand, for the rest of this year?
Please share in the comments if you feel compelled – you might inspire somebody else :).
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