This one is quite a personal blogpost; reflective musings which I originally wrote for my own benefit, but decided to share, in case it’s of any use to anyone else.
I’ve recently been sharing on social media a bunch of great stuff which has been happening for my business recently, which all seems to have come very suddenly, and at a time of year which is normally pretty dead for me. All my posts have been getting loads of ‘likes’ and I’ve been feeling very supported and some people have been asking how this has all come about. So that is the subject of this blogpost – A reflection on what may have been an access to these new opportunities, so I can learn for future and share with others.
Firstly let’s go through a summary of some accomplishments from the last 6 weeks of 2017:
- Hat worn by Maline Sommerlath (niece of the Queen of Sweden) to a Royal Christening, which got lots of press)
- Filming for BBC2 as their ‘go-to’ milliner
- Guardian podcast with Jo Fairley (founder of Green and Blacks and Perfume Society)
- Wonderful new client in India commissioning lots of hats
- Accepted into a business support programme
- Booking for a week long workshop (first ever)
- Article I wrote for an American magazine got published (which i’ll be paid for)
- Wholesale enquiry from USA
- 2 enquiries from Japan for groups of travellers to workshops
- New hat shape a success, my trail (week long pop up meeting and exceeding my sales target)
- 5 vouchers sold as christmas presents for workshops – I didn’t market this, there was a demand so I gladly obliged
- Met a lady whose expertise is in wholesale, she’s agreed to help me secure wholesale accounts
- Became an approved supplier of Madame Tussauds
So for me at this time of year, that is quite an amazing list!
I guess these have come from a mixture of circumstances / good fortune / the result of years of hard work and general hustling. The first three on the list have come from contacts I’ve had for years, and the new hat shape is clearly my direct work. However, is there more at play? I’m pretty sure the sudden rush has a lot to do with me taking responsibility for my mindset and driving my life.
So, it all started when I started reading The Secret, I started the Secret on 15th November, after weeks of ‘nothing’ (… literally no emails in my inbox for weeks) I read the first few pages of The Secret and on the 16th Nov – the VERY NEXT DAY, I checked my emails and couldn’t believe it, a bunch of new and varied opportunities (five of the above, actually) came about.
But did it reeeeaaally start with The Secret? ….
Did it start when I started reading The Secret? Actually i think it started when I chose to start reading The Secret. I chose to start reading a self-help type book even though I really didn’t feel like reading a book like that. (You know what it’s like when things are quiet, you lose passion and that downward spiral starts and it’s hard to pick yourself back up).
Not being a ‘Slave to our Emotions’
My beloved spiritual teacher Abdu’l-Baha talks about not being a slave to our emotions, and my training at Landmark Education gave me skills and tools to actually practice this (simple but effective stuff like listing ‘ways of being’ that you want to ‘give up’ and then inventing new ways of being). So, I realised I was being unpassionate, uninspired, hopeless, and bored; So I chose to give all these things up and be inspired and motivated and passionate (I know it sounds a bit weird and forced, but with practice, it really can be that simple to turn things around).
So, I started reading The Secret. Naturally throughout the day reading it, I was inspired to think and dream more, and to notice moments when I was being negative or resigned. The Secret is about the ‘Law of Attraction’ which is how our thoughts determine our lives and the stuff that comes our way.
The next day as I mentioned, I was pretty taken aback by the flurry of emails, and so the ‘upward spiral’ began.
Over the next few days, I naturally started to open myself to more opportunities, whether that’s creating new opportunities or chasing up old leads.
Also one key thing was knowing my past notion ‘this is a quiet time of year for millinery’ and realising by accepting this notion I’m simply creating more of that going forward – so taking advice from The Secret and Landmark – choosing to drop that attitude and ‘create’ (in my thoughts) this time of year as being one of abundance!
Going forward I started to pray more for opportunities/ work. There’s a Baha’i prayer and a verse from the Qur’an and also a ‘money meditation’ from a wealth workshop I did a few months ago, run by Heather Salmon (I’ll post them below) which I started saying most days. I also plugged into the abundance of inspiration out there; listened again to Marianne Williamson reading her book ‘Return to Love’ on YouTube which is always beautiful and inspiring, and I signed up to get regular updates from Balance magazine to make sure I was keeping all areas of my life in check. Through reading their articles which are both informative and inspirational, I was mindful to keep exercising and eating well, as well as keeping up with the flurry of work coming my way! Their article actually about The Secret / Law of Attraction also reminded me to keep lighthearted and playful about the whole thing! (I’ll post my favourite articles below).
The difference between ‘Working Hard’ and ‘Hard Work’
One insight I got from the Changemakers Wealth Workshop was that I’ve always associated money with hard work – you need to work hard for money. But actually I realised during that workshop that my best money moments happened when I was also having loads of fun… so there’s a difference between working hard (which is good, and can also be fun) and hard work (which brings to mind blood, sweat and tears).
A couple of weeks ago on the way to meet a new client with her hats I caught myself being worried, anxious, imagining her not liking the hats etc… So as I noticed my thoughts, I consciously let go of them and started imagining the scenario of her loving the hats and being grateful. The meeting turned out the latter way!
After a few weeks I checked in with my ambitious financial goal I’d set myself this tax year (as I do every year, and never achieve it). Now, normally after checking the figures, I’d think ‘oh my gosh, i’m way off, AND this is my quiet time of year, this is never going to happen, again…’ but this time with the new attitude of abundance that thought wasn’t allowed to linger in my mind. I simply wrote a list of opportunities – a projection of what money is going to come in from where. When I calculated and was £2000 short, I simply wrote ‘£2000 – a surprise / gift from God’. For the first time I really found myself BELIEVING and seeing my financial goal being met…. And of course, the excitement and motivation started up again.
I’m a Baha’i and find a lot of encouragement in the Baha’i writings for art, creativity, beauty and making a living. So I know i’m going along the right path, and it’s such a blessing to have so many tools / books / courses / people around to help.
One more thing…. FUN!
There was also something else which I think was a key factor even before i started reading The Secret – I started having more fun. After ending on a couple of bad pop ups in the summer, I lost my passion not just for my work, but for life! I strung it out for a couple of months, but then I took up dancing again and had so much fun with it! It distracted me from the mundane and stressful thoughts (‘what am I doing?’ ‘How am I going to pay rent?’ ‘why aren’t I more successful?’) and my life started to sparkle again as I was having so much fun I simply didn’t care about those questions. So, I guess that created a lightness and ease around life, so picking up a self help book was no big deal.
In summary, the access I think has of course been working hard, (but not hard work), having fun, and being humble enough to realise that there are so many tools out there to help if we want them. Also to know that my thoughts are pivotal, and everything is a choice; we can choose not to be a slave to our emotions and reactions. Detachment is key too, and the understanding that ultimately we’re not even the ones in control, but God is…. A kind of weird balance between choosing to be in control of our thoughts / emotions, taking responsibility for our actions, but yet at our core being detached from what we want, and giving up everything for God to take care of anyway (or ‘The Universe’ if that’s your language).
Anyway for those of you still reading and inspired to take some of this into your own life, I’ll post links / prayers below to everything I’ve spoken about.
Ok thank you for reading this far! Feel free to post comments / questions in the comments box below.
Awesome article on creativity: http://balance.media/benefits-of-creativity/
A monk in media nailing yor To-Do list: http://balance.media/pedram-shojai/
And a light-hearted look on the Law of Attraction: http://balance.media/the-awareness-centre-clapham-review/
“O God! O God! Cause me to drink from the cup of Thy bestowal. Illumine my face with the light of guidance. Make me firm in faithfulness and steadfastness in Thine Ancient Covenant. Suffer me to become one of Thy sincere servants. Open before my face the doors of prosperity. Prepare for me the means of livelihood. Give me my bread through channels over which I have no control, Thy heavenly treasures. Grant me the power to turn my face toward Thy merciful Countenance, to be faithful to Thy Cause.
O Thou Clement and Compassionate One! Verily, Thou art gracious to those who are firm and steadfast in Thy strong and impregnable Covenant. Praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds!”
(Star of the West, vol. 14, no. 6, Sept. 1923)
(More about the Baha’i Faith here).
“To him who believes in God and the Last Day, and for those who fear God, He prepares a way out. And He provides for him from sources he never could imagine. And any one who puts his trust in God, sufficient is God for him. For God will surely accomplish His purpose. Verily for all things has God apportioned a due proportion.”
Changemaker Money Meditation:
Thank you for the gift of my Life’s Purpose;
For the deep connection and meaning
This has brought into my life.
Thank you for the knowledge and skills,
Experience and talents
To be of service to the world –
And for the prosperity and abundance
Flowing from these gifts.
Thank you, Divine Providence
For bringing an abundance of money
From these beautiful gifts
Into my life –
The vision, the plan, the actions
The Receiving and the Giving.
Help me to manage my financial well-being
Seeking and receiving support
Wherever I need it.
I promise to be generous with and appreciative of
All that I have now and
Will have in the future.
I release all thoughts about money –
Knowing that Prosperity is my birth-right;
That the value I give to the world
Returns to me in abundant flows of money.
Grant me the Grace, Divine Providence
To awaken the Inner Money Goddess in me.
Grant me the willingness to bring
An abundance of wealth into my open heart;
The faith to hold money lovingly
In my arms.
This was written by Heather Salmon who ran a very insightful workshop on wealth and our relationship with money. She is an AMAZING life coach and I very very very highly recommend her services: www.heathersalmon.london
Has been amazing for so many areas of my life. It’s largely about recognizing what from your past you’re putting into your future, and dropping the things that are hindering you. First course is 3 days called The Landmark Forum – I highly recommend it!: http://www.landmarkworldwide.com/
All round gorgeousness, have a listen when you want a quiet and inspiring moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDcHlqzJMOs&t=3295s
Above: Mad-cap vision of the future I had when reading The Secret: My future shop. It’s got a secret UglyLovely room and a courtyard for afternoon tea. You can either have the ‘Sahar Millinery’ afternoon tea or the ‘UglyLovely’ afternoon tea… what a hoot!
See you there, but which tea will you choose??