// BEING A DAD CAN BE HARD //

There was a time in my life when all I longed for was to have a child.

It took my wife and I four years to have our first son, and, along the way suffered the most painful experiences of our lives - losing three pregnancies.

I’ve never felt pain like it. And so helpless. Indescribable.

Fast forward a few years … I’m fortunate enough to have two amazing sons.

The feeling I get being a ‘Dad’ is the polar opposite to what I experienced years before … aliveness, combined with a deep nourishment that is very hard to put words around.

There’s nothing like having your own child look at you with pure love.

I consider my children gifts.

But … I still get very tired. I work hard. I enjoy life. I aim to be the best Dad I can be and make time and space to be present with them.

It’s hard. Always being ‘on’ and ‘present’ when they’re around. Especially if you have a full plate with work, life, etc.

And, I’m not alone. There's no end of entrepreneurs out there juggling life and business and, more often than not, the life part gets put to one side. Families suffer. Children don’t see their Dad, and the impacts are huge.

I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve heard; “I’m doing the best for my children’s future … the money I earn will give them the best start in life …”

No money in the world will buy back the time with your kids when they needed you the most.

The times they were trying to navigate their way through formative years. The times when they’re crying because they don’t understand why they can’t play with the same toy as their sibling. The time when they just want to see Dad in the morning, because he’s never there, work takes priority. The time when they want Dad to bath them and read them a story at bedtime, but, he’s at work …

No matter how ‘successful’ you are you’re never going to be able to afford a time machine. And, chances are, you’ll look back at your life when you’re too old to do anything about it and wish you could swop your fat pension to have a cuddle with your youngest as a toddler. Not going to happen.

Being a parent is beautifully challenging.

Wanting to have children and not being able to is harder, I promise you, I’ve been there.

Consider making a shift in your life to make more time to be present for your children, they are gifts. All the ups, all the downs, see them as experiences that help you and your children grow.

Every minute you spend being present with your child is an investment into their future. Their confidence. Their personality. Their life. Your bond with them.

Work will always be there and expand to fill any time you have. It’s not going to go away.

Even though it may feel like you can’t have time and space away from your business to be with your kids there is a way - it’s your responsibility as a parent.

If you can’t see how you can have time away from your work start with, ‘what would this look like if it was simple’ … and see what comes up.

Be authentic. You always have a choice. Lead.

David Foster
meta.

#‎leadership #‎businessdevelopment #‎life

Ps. If you're an entrepreneur looking for help on how to create a business that gives you the life you want, join my free facebook group called meta. entrepreneurs, here's the link https://www.facebook.com/groups/metaentrepreneurs


// HOW TO MANAGE YOURSELF LIKE A LEADER //

My team never do as good a job as I’d like them to.

I can’t find good people.

I don’t have enough time.

I need more sales.

My accountant is rubbish.

These are things I hear frequently from entrepreneurs.

Truth is when people say these things they actually believe themselves - which is part of the root cause.

Here are the same phrases again with my translation in brackets:

My team never do as good a job as I’d like them to (I don’t know how to manage people and find it hard to manage myself).

I can’t find good people (I don’t know how to recruit the right people and am scared to admit it).

I don’t have enough time (I’ve never learnt the basics of time management and need help to get out of overwhelm, I’m knackered).

I need more sales (I have very little knowledge about my finances, and, to be honest, ignore doing my numbers because it all seems foreign to me).

My accountant is rubbish (I find finances boring and would rather do something fun that excites me, I’m no bean counter).

ALL of these frustrations can be solved from the root cause if you commit to mastering yourself by learning how to become a better self-manager.

The sad thing is that a lot of commitment and work is required to learn healthier habits when it comes to self-management, and a lot of entrepreneurs don’t want to do the work as they feel it would take away their freedom. When, in reality, the opposite is true.

If you work your inner manager muscle to the gym you’ll eventually have more freedom because the very frustrations mentioned earlier will transform into something like:

My team never do as good a job as I’d like them to (It wasn’t easy but I learnt to become a brilliant manager of myself first, and then others. My team can all see how their role directly impacts the success of the business and we’re all motivated to achieve our shared vision - I now have more time and freedom to develop my business and follow my passions as I’ve delegated 99% of my technical work).

I can’t find good people (Since crafting a values-led recruiting and hiring process I now have a team of people who I can count on because they care deeply about our vision and can see how being part of this company helps them grow).

I don’t have enough time (Learning to schedule my time properly and manage my emails to inbox zero every day has transformed my life. I’m now more present than ever and have more time to spend with my family).

I need more sales (I LOVE numbers! I’ve learnt that my fear of finances was a distorted belief and now take time each and every month to assess my key financial indicators and know whether or not we’re on target to hit our numbers. I have less stress, better cash flow and am taking home better profits).

My accountant is rubbish (I realised that it’s ok to ask questions and say “I don’t know what you mean, could you explain what you mean”, to my accountant. We have a better relationship than ever since I took the lead and arranged monthly management accounts meetings with him).

To get the results you desire you have to be committed to do the work, follow through and take yourself beyond your current limits.

It’s much easier to point the finger of blame at external forces and factors, however, master your inner manager (the one that chooses fruit instead of profiteroles for dessert on a Tuesday evening) and you’re halfway to creating the business, and life, you’ve always dreamt of.
Be authentic. You always have a choice. Lead.

David Foster
meta.

#‎leadership #‎businessdevelopment #‎life

Ps. If you're an entrepreneur looking for help on how to create a business that gives you the life you want, join my free facebook group called meta. entrepreneurs, here's the link https://www.facebook.com/groups/metaentrepreneurs


// CAN BLIND MEN SWIM? //

What do you know? Quite a bit, I imagine.

I know a bit. I know how to swim. Although it wasn’t always that way.

At the age of 35 I got some lessons. I knew I didn’t know how to do freestyle, and wanted to learn from a professional coach.

I know I don’t know a lot. There’s huge lakes of information out there. Stuff I know I don’t know.

Like how to swim non-stop underwater for 30 minutes - I know I don’t know how to do this, or even where to start.

Then there’s the stuff that I don’t know, I don’t know.

Stay with me - I can see your mental lifeguard’s about to dive in, Baywatch style, to rescue this floundering statement flapping frantically in the vast ocean of stuff - spluttering, gasping for air, reaching out to be saved.

I’ll explain.

We’ll start with taking things slowly, armbands on.

We all have blind spots - The things we don’t know, we don’t know.

Consider this. We all view our daily reality through a lens, a pair of goggles, as we’re swimming around the oceans of stuff - call it life.

Unfortunately our goggles are steamed up, creating blind spots … we all process reality through our goggles, which have varying forms of unique steaminess inside them distorting our view.

Where does the smudged view from our goggles come from? In short, our life, our story.

What we believe to be true, past experiences, parental conditioning, attitudes, a collaboration of synchronised swimming experiences that have formed into varying degrees of steam, mist, and fog – inside our goggles.

Thoughts that we attach meaning to.

Still with me? Good, ok, now we’re going to try some freestyle, take the armbands off for a second - trust me - the water’s deeper, but it will be ok.

I’ll give you an example of how steam in goggles could impacting your business.
Let’s say that, for a reason you won’t be conscious of, the goggles you look through are distorted to such a degree that whenever someone challenges you about something you react by shutting down, not wanting to create ripples in the water.

When I say challenge, it could be something as little as someone offering a differing point of view to yours, maybe something at home, at work, or with friends.

If you have a distorted view of challenge - whenever this happens - you may feel like you’re drowning in emotional overwhelm and shut down to keep the water from being disturbed in your paddling pool.

This could be based on having someone in your formative years unknowingly suppress your own feelings by being overbearing, challenging, telling you to be a good boy, or good girl - to not challenge the norm or authority in your life, not splash around the water.

So anything, in adult life, that starts tentatively swimming around this area, can cause huge internal tidal waves, blowing everything out of proportion. Based on your distorted view of reality - not reality.

Get it?

OK… you’re probably swallowing some water now, spit it out, keep paddling, and kick your legs, it gets easier. It’s all practice.

Let’s say this distorted view of being challenged exists. What do you get out of that, specifically? Are there positives, negatives? Is it serving you in a healthy and nourishing way? Or is it keeping you small, safe, controlled?

Chances are it won’t be serving you in a healthy way, on some level, it’s habit, that’s all.

Now imagine this. What if the relationship you have with challenge wasn’t true?
What if you only thought it was true, attaching a huge amount of meaning to that thought?

That very attachment is now a 30kg weight around your ankles – stopping you from being able to swim freely in the vast oceans of wonderful stuff that’s out there? Healthy, nourishing experiences, growth. And this weight gets heavier, and heavier, whenever you paddle near challenge …

What if this was the very thing in the way of you living your life, and creating a business, in a way that truly nourishes you?

What would happen if you squeezed a finger into your goggles and wiped away that smudge?

Maybe the mist would disappear, and you’d be able to process reality freely, without a distorted view. What would that do to your life, your business?

The hard bit is being willing to look for the smudge in the first place, raising your awareness, ultimately being prepared to have doubt space to get out of your own way.

Want an example? OK, we’re now going to try some butterfly, 50m to be specific. Not easy, but you’re ready to dive in.

Imagine you’re in a meeting with a business partner. A strong character who enjoys challenge. Your partner states, with complete challenging conviction, something you fundamentally disagree with. You’ve heard this before. You find the courage to say no, explaining his suggestion won’t work this way – given what we know. He responds, challenging you. You shut down, literally.
In a few minutes the view through your goggles feels like the challenges have grown to be a huge tsunami of convincingness.

You abandon your original view, yourself, what you know is true, and get carried away on the strong current. Now you’re drowning, again. This is a pattern that’s been going on, for years. Unless you break it, learn to swim in the sea of challenge, the ending isn’t going to be good, or healthy, for anyone.This may resonate with you, it may not. Maybe it’s created some doubt space about something that you’re frustrated about?

Maybe that member of staff is annoying you, just won’t do it your way. Maybe you can’t get to grips with time management, or think need more sales.

How do you know?

Consider this.

What do your goggles look like, on the inside?

Are you prepared to question the way you process reality, or are you happy to swim with misty blind spots?

It, as all things, are a choice.

Having the courage to explore your own contribution to your frustrations in life and business is freeing, albeit initially uncomfortable, much like learning to swim. If you work on your internal goggle demystifier I promise you one thing, you’ll start to uncover the root cause of not having enough sales, or time, not being able to manage staff … and suddenly the frustrations you have will start to disappear, the mist will clear, and you’ll become a stronger swimmer, no matter how your sight is.

Thanks for taking a dip, hope the water wasn’t too cold.

Be authentic. You always have a choice. Lead.

David Foster
meta.

#‎leadership #‎businessdevelopment #‎life

Ps. If you're an entrepreneur looking for help on how to create a business that gives you the life you want, join my free facebook group called meta. entrepreneurs, here's the link https://www.facebook.com/groups/metaentrepreneurs


// WHAT IS YOUR WHY? //

We all have a story. I thought I’d share a piece of mine with you.

A few years back I’d created a business that was a reflection of me without really knowing who I was and what I wanted from my life.

I was tired, unhappy, in chaos and felt like my world was coming down around me.

The world was in recession and I was caught in the eye of the storm.

The business I’d put seven years of hard work and energy into—sacrificing several other parts of my life and relationships—was on the brink of collapse.
My survival strategy was to check my emails at 10:49 p.m.

I’d found a way to cradle my newborn son and check emails by wedging his milk bottle under my neck to see notifications that were “far more important” than this special moment.

It had taken my wife and I a few years to have a child, with heartbreak and painful memories along the way, but finally we had a beautiful and healthy son—and here I was checking emails.

I was seriously overwhelmed.

Why? Because I had no ‘why’.

I realized there must be a better way to live.

I found a great coach and mentor and the very first ‘business development’ process was called Values, Passion and Purpose.

I began the process by answering questions such as:

- Why you do what you do

- What are your core values

- How do you want to be remembered

- What do you want out of your life?

Hang on a second, I thought, I’m paying you to help me create a ‘successful’ business and this process has nothing to do with business.

I’d spent years as a business owner battling with the profit and loss of my organization, thinking that it was all just about money, when there actually was a bigger piece of the puzzle missing—how to create a values-led business that gives you MORE life.

This is one of the most powerful pieces of life/business development work you’ll ever undertake.

If you go ‘all in’ with this to get clearer on what you want your life to look like, you’ll start to ‘get’ your bigger picture and be able to take steps to create a business that truly serves you and reflects your core values.

This process underpins creating a healthy, nourishing and sustainable business that means something to you, on a deep level.

Where to start:

- Get away from the office- Be transparent with yourself- Go outside your comfort zone

What to ask yourself:

- What DON’T You Want in Your Life?

Write down everything that’s frustrating, causing stress, anger or overall dissatisfaction. It doesn’t matter if it’s directly because of your business or not. When you’re frustrated with your business, it’s easy to express that frustration in other parts of your life as well. The same is said in reverse. But if you know what’s bothering you, you can work to find a solution.

- What DO You Want in Your Life?

Understanding what you want for your life, will help you build a business that supports your life. Say you want more time with your family, like I did, what could you change in your business that would allow you to have more time at home?

- What Are Your Priorities, and What’s in Your Way?

Owning a business is frustrating. It’s tough—and if your situation sounds similar to what mine was—you’re overwhelmed waiting for things to happen and yet always trying to catch up.

But for a second, start small. Maybe the solution is hiring more employees, but right now, that’s not within your budget. Write that down anyway. It’s a goal you can expand upon later, and even if it doesn’t seem tangible now, you’ll know what you need, and can start working to get there.

The result, at the end of doing this process, will bring far more clarity about who you are and what it is you want from your life, so you can start living with more intention. This is all about taking control back of your life (we’re only here once, so why not make the most of it?).

I realized that a lot of the challenging situations I’d had in my life were because I wasn’t clear on my vision, my core values and my purpose.

I made lots of changes inside and outside of myself.

I chose to use my experience to do something I love, coaching and training, something that had always been inside me, but had gradually been buried underneath “stuff” that got in the way.

I made choices about spending time with my children.

I wanted to enjoy the ups and the downs with them.

I realized I didn’t want to be looking back over my life at 80 years old, wishing I’d seen more of them as they grew up.

The “life-changing” email you’ve been waiting for at 10:49 p.m. won’t arrive. It didn’t for me. Instead, I had an epiphany.

I put my phone down and vowed to wake up and take advantage of everything life has to offer, rather than keep chasing an ill-judged and vacant dream of being the next Richard Branson.

And now, I have a successful and fulfilling business that truly serves people in a nourishing way, and, impacting the world in a good way.

I chose life, and there’s a visceral feeling that comes along with that, that money can’t buy.

Be authentic. You always have a choice. Lead.

David Foster
meta.

‪#‎leadership‬ ‪#‎businessdevelopment‬ ‪#‎life‬

Ps. If you're an entrepreneur looking for help on how to create a business that gives you the life you want, join my free facebook group called meta. entrepreneurs, here's the link https://www.facebook.com/groups/metaentrepreneurs


// HOW TO GET OUT OF OVERWHELM //

Overwhelm. Chaos. Monkey mind.

It has several names, that feeling of complete disorganisation.

Not knowing where to start.

Or what the priority is for today, this week, this month.

It’s not healthy.

I spent years in overwhelm and felt the impact personally with my health.

Gaining weight, non-stop colds, feeling exhausted and falling asleep each night on the sofa checking emails.

I felt the impact on my personal relationships.

Becoming more distant from those close to me, my friends, family, my wife.

My inner game, or mindset, was all over the place.

My strategy … to do more.

Keep moving, because it will change.

Little did I know that this doesn’t actually work.

One of the most damaging elements of being in chaos, is that it stops you thinking strategically. If you’re not spending time working ‘on’ your business and life, then nobody is, so chances are nothing will ever change (You’ve probably heard that much banded about quote from Einstein, who said the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again whilst expecting different results).

If you have a team of people working with you, and you’re in overwhelm, they will be in overwhelm too.

That’s why they don’t do as good a job as you’d like.

That’s why you feel that, whatever you do, you can’t find good people.

Your business, and life, is a reflection of you as a leader, as a person.

The first step to getting out of overwhelm is having the awareness to feel that you’re actually in it, because the majority of business owners are numb to their situation.

- If you’re constantly connected to your smartphone, it’s a clue.

- If you find it hard to be present with people, your colleagues, your family, your kids, it’s a clue.

- If you suffer from shiny object syndrome and keep jumping around from one project to another without any clear plan, it’s a clue.

- If you’re working long hours and always feel like you’re not making progress, that’s a clue.

I have the antidote. If you’re willing to do what it takes.

Step one.

Get a blank document, notepad or whatever you prefer to write on and brain dump EVERYTHING you currently have going on in your life.

EVERYTHING.

All tasks, projects, goals, etc. It doesn’t have to be in any order, just get them out of your head and onto something else.

Then, pick some categories so you can put each one into a certain area, for example:

- Health
- Business
- Family
- Friends
- Inner game, etc.

Then, categorise each on into whether it’s a task, project, or goal.

A task is one action, such as: Send email to John about management accounts review.

A project is a collection of tasks that, when all completed, end with a specific result, such as: Monthly management accounts review.

A goal is something you should be able to feel and see, with a date on it, written in as if it’s already happened, such as: It’s 3 June 2016 and I’ve run through the finish tape at my first triathlon in under four hours, and the champagne I’m drinking is taking the pain away from my aching body.

Just by doing this you should start to feel better and have a clearer head.

Your head should not be used as a hard drive to store EVERYTHING, it should be use for thinking and being, because that will get you to where you want to go.

The next step is to organise and prioritise the list you have, for example:

You should have meaningful goals that are top of the page with projects that are aligned to these goals sitting beneath them, and tasks below each project.

Such as:

Goal: It’s 3 June 2016 and I’ve run through the finish tape at my first triathlon in under four hours, and the champagne I’m drinking is taking the pain away from my aching body.

Project: Healthy eating project

- Task 1: Research nutrition advice online by 6 May
- Task 2: Call three local nutritionists and arrange meeting by 7 May
- Task 3: Meet first nutritionist by 8 May, etc

Can you see how this will very quickly allow you to see how full your plate is and give you some semblance of order in your life.

You may notice that you have a lot of ‘stuff’ in your list that really shouldn’t be on your plate as a CEO or owner of a business - call it junk food.

If your plate is full of junk food you have no room for broccoli.

Broccoli is good for you and will help you live longer.

So will getting organised. And bring those you care about closer to you for those deep and meaningful relationships you want.

As with any change in life, or business, it starts with a choice.

You always have a choice.

Even choosing not to get organised is a choice ...

Be authentic. You always have a choice. Lead.

David Foster
meta.

‪#‎leadership‬ ‪#‎businessdevelopment‬ ‪#‎life‬

Ps. If you're an entrepreneur looking for help on how to create a business that gives you the life you want, join my free facebook group called meta. entrepreneurs, here's the link https://www.facebook.com/groups/metaentrepreneurs