Success coach Karen Strunks.

Hello lovely people,

I have the honor to introduce you to British success coach, Karen Strunks. She inspires people all across the world and has been a successful online business entrepreneur for over nine years. I have learned a lot from her and gained some well-needed asskickery in my own business.  Here is the interview about smart time management and focus!

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1. How important is time to you?

Time is one of the biggest assets we all have. What we do with our time determines what we achieve and succeed at. I love this quote by Carl Sandburg:
“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.”

We have the luxury of time, but it’s not limitless. Squander time and we squander our lives.

2. Do you try to make the best use of your time, if so how do you do that?

I try to make the best out of every minute of the day! I plan ahead and decide how I would like to spend my time.

I love productivity ‘hacks’ and use a lot of them. For example, I don’t operate in ‘reactive mode’, jumping to every ping of my phone (actually it’s on silent) or email notification (I check in a
couple of times a day when I’ve scheduled it). I take charge of my time and my day and I don’t spend my time doing anything I don’t like to do, in my life or my business, and that includes who I spend my time with too!

I use Google docs to keep track of what I’m doing and when it’s got to be done. It acts as a kind of to-­do list. If it needs to be done, it’s goes in my diary. You have to create, or schedule, the time for the things you want to do and not just hope that it’ll get done one day.

3. How many hours a day to do you work and how is that broken down?

Well, I’ve recently made some huge changes in my working hours and I now work 16-­20 hours a week. That’s a huge drop from the 80­-100 hours I thought I had to do to run my business!

I made the change by simply deciding how many hours I was willing to work in my business and how I wanted to fill those hours. I cut the ‘busy work’, focused on the things that bring me the biggest results and I fill my time at work doing only the things I love. Well, except for admin I have to admit!

4 hours blogging/writing/video creating ­ which are most of the things I truly enjoy.

4 hours creating content for my online courses.

4 hours of coaching calls on Skype.

2 hours of admin/emails.

4 hours of marketing.

1 hour of connecting with people (could be new people or people in my network.)

That’s it!

We can ALL do more work in less time and create FREE time if we get a razor-sharp focus on what we love doing and what works for us.

4. What else do you like to do with your time and how do you fit that in?

So, apart from my 20 hours work week, I focus on my self­development. There are always ways to improve and learn. I love films and writing and just getting creative. That could involve  coming up with new things I’d like to  try in my business. It’s all easy to fit in now that I’ve cracked the ‘code’ for running my business and using my time really efficiently!

5. Tell us a bit about you and your business.

I help daring, go-­getting entrepreneurs create a life of freedom. Their work, their life, their way, completely on their terms. We throw away the rule book! It’s totally possible to have a life of freedom. We can have so much more than we realize, if we just take action and go out there and demand more of ourselves.

I made my escape from the rat race and I refuse to march to the tune of someone else’s drum ever again. Now I’ve got 9 years experience in running my own businesses, I’ve helped 1000s of people with their business and life success. I’m a qualified life coach and NLP practitioner.

I work with dynamic and driven people who are ready to go FULL OUT in creating a life and business on THEIR terms!

Are YOU ready to play it BIG? You can read about it in my e-book; 8 Secrets To Playing It Big In Life & Business. Get your copy HERE.

To find out more about Karen’s available online programs, please visit her website at KarenStrunks.com

Thank you so much, Karen! I know I have to be more focused and aware of how I spend my time…

xo

Maria

How to know yourself better.

How to know yourself better?  What do you have to do? It is an infinite question for sure, but while we’re living in 3-D dimension there are a few things we can do that give us an idea of where we’re at.

You probably figured this already: it’s all about stretching boundaries.

1. This sounds simplistic, but try something that scares the sh*t out of you. I’m talking about doing something HUGE, like speaking in front of a big group of people, or jumping out of an airplane. Everyone has a different fear level of course. Shock yourself out of inertia.

You probably wonder why scaring the pants off yourself would show you about yourself. It does, though, because you don’t know exactly how you’re going to react. From your reaction you’ll know your strengths and your weaknesses.

Something that once was scary becomes commonplace, and then you move on to the next big stretch.  You don’t have to walk a tightrope across Niagara Falls…. unless you want to.

2.  Become less concerned about what people think and do more of what you love.  Yes, another obvious piece of advice, but how many people actually do this??  Again, it’s about boundaries. Every day has its own boundary: get up, drink coffee, shower, dress, go to work…..come back, chill, undress, sleep. This does not change unless we DECIDE to change. Stretching the boundaries of your routine could be to get up one or two hours earlier, do some meditation, walk in nature, journal, or doing something that makes your spirit soar, whatever it is. Talk about getting your day off to a good start!

Problem is, the rut gets deep, and it’s hard to change the groove, but it’s doable. With determination and a desire to change, you will do it.  Don’t let life get so bad that change is the only choice.

3. Listen to your heart.  Is it whispering about kicking out the discontent of your life?  Are you feeling a great deal of discontent? Well, do something about it!  That inner urge is not wrong, you know. Your sh*t-o-meter is working overtime and trust me, it knows what it’s doing.

Life does not end if you have to change careers, the opposite, in fact.  When you do something that is more aligned with your soul, you will find your joy sky-rocketing.

Fear will be there of course, but stretch those boundaries!  There is a perfect place for you, just as there is for me. Fear of the unknown is a drag, but by doing something different, you learn about yourself.  You might find that your capabilities are amazing! Wouldn’t that be worth a change? Kick the fear aside and do that thing you always wanted to do!

4. Learn something new all the time.  Yeah, that is an easy way to stretch boundaries. One thing leads to another and before you know it, you have a whole new set of tools to use.  Be an insatiable learner!  Many people stop where they think they are experts / teachers, but a true expert keeps on learning.

What would you love to learn today?  You know, THAT THING.

5. Help others. Serving at a soup kitchen is one thing, but how many times have you really listened to the person who needs help?  We tend to barge in and try to fix the problems, but lending a sincere ear is sometimes more difficult than serving up soup.  It means you have to engage with the person on a deeper level, and it can be confrontational. It’s a good way to learn about true compassion and stretching boundaries on a whole other level.

It can be painful to hear about other people’s difficulties, but you learn about yourself in the process. You might not like what you hear, but you gave the other person a chance to be heard. There is a huge lack of that in our society.

Stop being all about yourself.  For starters, begin listening to an important person in your life right now. No excuses.  Is it uncomfortable?  Feel the pain of your boundaries and then get over it.

6. Decide that now is the time to begin.  What is the very first thing you can do right now to improve your life and work on  getting out of the rut?

Do that now.

Then improve the next one.

What boundary can you stretch by taking action now?  That’s where you need to concentrate the most for now.

As you evolve, stretching will become easier and easier.  Ultimately, you look forward to the next challenge.

Go for it.  I know you can do it if you decide to do it. Give a sh*t about your life.

xo

Maria

P.S. I have a new e-course titled Meet Your Intuitive You.  You can read more about it HERE.

Hating self-help questionnaires.

Why would I write such a title, “hating self-help questionnaires?” If you’re reading this you have read and filled out many worksheets, or skipped them altogether.  I know you all hate them.  I know I do.  They are boring, a thorn in the side.

I’m working on an e-course that is about finding your inner true north using your intuition. It’s about making choices that are healthy for you. The question is, do we want health?  I mean health in every sense of the word.

We do and we don’t. The side of us that wants a healthy balanced life answers the deep  inquiries and works on the issues or try to. The other side flings the dang workbook across the room as the inner rebel rears up, refusing to reply to any  questions that might overturn the status quo. Heaven forbid we would change!  We don’t need to change, right?

What is the wall that comes up and says “stop,  do not move any further.” It has many names but the most common name is resistance. If you dig deeper you come across fear and all sorts of unworthiness issues hiding behind resistance.

Most people avoid those uncomfortable feelings at all cost.

Questions are what start us on the road to inner discovery.

Writing on a workbook right now, I’m struggling with how to make the questions less confronting and more acceptable.  What would make people look forward to going in deep and releasing the beliefs and trapped feelings within?  What would make them actually finish the course and work through the issues?

There is a need for structured questions for sure, but what if another person asked them?  No writing down answers, just discussing what comes up and looking for “aha” moments. A lively interaction between two people who trust each other  might make going through a workbook desirable.

A bottle of wine, some yummy snacks, and a deep discussion based on the workbook could very well be the answer!

I don’t know how many times I have read a great self-help book, but when I reached the questions I  skimmed over them or ignored them altogether.

How many self-help books have your bought and never finished?

We like the IDEA of changing ourselves for the better, but when it comes to the actual work we often balk.

Workbooks and questionnaires might be out of style in this fast-paced world.

What if it became a more dynamic process?

I believe it’s more important to be open to the signs around us, accept that the world mirrors our states of mind. If there is a traffic jam maybe it’s a sign to slow down. If we keep making the same mistakes over and over, what belief / feeling INSIDE of us makes that happen?  If we can be aware and open in the now, all our shi*t will be revealed, and then we have to choose whether to work with it, or keep living in denial.  Denial will inevitably create more difficulties.

Some people do not believe in a world that mirrors your inner stuff, but if you do, it can be a hugely beneficial “school room.”

Life can be smoother, easier to accept with its ups and downs if we agree to work on our shi*t.  As you create peace with yourself, you create peace in the world.

My suggestion is, have a party with one or two friends, off-line or online, who are on the same path, or working on the same workbook. Get the stuff behind the resistance out into the open and decide to deal with it.

That is one way past resistance and into a life of fresh perception.

Today was a great day!

I had a great day today.  Got up well rested (for once) and felt really pumped to do my work at the computer. That’s what life is all about, feeling great and looking forward to working every day.

I love creating. Lately I have been creating a couple of websites and e-courses instead of spending time in my studio, but all is in balance.

I have no choice but to go with the flow. When I feel inspired to do something I do it, no matter what my reason tells me to do.  I refuse to make myself small and do the “musts” and the “have tos.” Life is too short to keep following the rules I followed before I took charge of my life.

Life is supposed to feel liberating, and it does when I let it. I refuse to fight the flow.  It’s so much easier to go with the flow than to struggle against it. I struggled too many years as it is.

I have created a new website with an e-course on developing your intuition.  I’m working on the e-book right now, but if you want to be kept in the loop for the launch, please sign up for the newsletter HERE.

The e-course and the e-book are coming soon, and it’s going to be great!  It’s chockfull of ways to use your intuition in a constructive, practical way.  Do you use your intuition?

bookcover2xo

Maria

P.S. I do have an e-course available about art and the six senses, titled Visionary Art Journaling. It is lots of fun!  CLICK HERE to check it out.

Instant gratification.

Why are we addicted to instant gratification?   I guess it has been a gradual process in our society, and a huge disservice to humankind.  But we chose it.

Nature does not practice instant gratification.  There is a dormant period, a rising of the life force, a budding, a flowering, a setting of seed.  Repeat the cycle.

When we try to push through something that isn’t ready to get pushed through, it doesn’t happen, does it?  Not through our own efforts.  If it does, it’s not satisfying or fully integrated.

Whether we like it or not, we’re still bound to the process dictated by Nature, because we are connected to that same force.  Elementary, right?

If you rush through life, nothing good will come of it.  The actions might look productive on the surface but in the long run it’s a house of cards being built since the substance is missing.

Usually, all for a quick profit.

Do you want to feel proud, accomplished, and satisfied with your actions?  I know I do.  So let the project take its sweet ole time.  Follow the natural rhythm of things and know that it is the best way to get things accomplished, even if the world is clamoring for  hyper speed!!!

Do you want an ulcer or peace of mind?

What is so important that is has to happen right away?  Rome wasn’t built in a day as they say.  Nor was a baby.

If your baby is a business, it’s not going to be successful overnight, no matter what the gurus say.  Ideas have to be incubated, action has to be measured, a learning curve has to be followed to completion.

What if the path of joy is to do everything organically, at its own best pace?  The outcome is never the great climax we hope for, the satisfaction of each step taken, IS.  And it’s a quiet kind of triumph.

I’m all for a softer, more reflective pace.  The madness in the world goes on, but I choose not to be part of it.  You can do the same and be happier.  Guaranteed.  Just sayin’…  Up to you.

Because of layers.

You never truly know yourself because of  layers.  Sure you’ve heard it before.  Like with an onion you peel off one layer and find there’s another one underneath, shiny and glistening and mocking somehow.  But, an onion does not worry about its layers!

At the core we are all one, but if we look at the “baggage” there are any number of variations of bullshit that we think is important.  Let’s excavate and release!  But….

I don’t think it works that way.  You can work with layers, but where you end up is not perfection.  You can never get to the bottom of the layers, but you can experience the river of perfection that keeps you alive.  Forget about the layers; they lead nowhere.

Here’s a painting / mixed media I just finished.  It’s a good example of putting ON the layers instead of taking them off.

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Broken Dreams 12×12″ mixed media

I started out with no idea at all.  I sprayed some paint on the canvas , rubbed it around, and let it dry.  Added some more layers, but I couldn’t see a picture emerging at all, so I glued on some papers (the only one showing now is the crinkly tissue paper in the corner.)  The papers led to nowhere, so I decided to just paint a face.  Faces are always tricky because you never quite end up where you plan to end up.  They take on a life of their own.

This one ended up with a slightly disdainful expression, but also with lots of inner power, so I accepted her.  Then I couldn’t get anything to stick on the right side.  I painted birds, leaves, a big flower.  They all looked wrong, so I scraped some paint over the whole and buried them.  All the layers add energy to the painting, so nothing is lost.

I have been into square shapes lately, so I added some of those.  At that time I had some dreams broken in my life so I “saw” them there.  I had to add a solution so there is an exiting square in the corner that says Let Go.

The art didn’t turn out like anything I envisioned, but I allowed it to emerge.  These kinds of paintings are tricky.  I never know if I like them or not.

The point is:  With every stroke of the brush, or any addition of paper, I altered the course of this piece of art. I didn’t know if it would work, but I could only move forward until I felt it was done, but far from perfect.  I had to accept it.

It is what it is.

What does that have to do with layers in life?  How can you know what will emerge as you remove layers?  Is it even possible?  Aha moments can come, and they often do, but what do they change?  On a good day, we might walk in a different direction and leave something behind that burdened us.  That is all good.

But, basically, isn’t it enough to accept ourselves exactly as we are today?  Trust that you are enough. Connect with your inner flow and just “BE YOU?”  When you do, something good emerges, the authenticity and power of who you are, layers and all.  Who gives a shit about layers?  Maybe psychoanalysts do, but I say, go for it, warts and all!   Be authentic.

Be your frigging AWESOME self, right now.  I have stopped trying to change or fix myself and there’s a lot of peace in that.

Peace out,

Maria

P.S. I often look at my paintings and think aliens painted them. When we allow flow, something much greater than the little self (shrouded in layers) comes out to play.  It is a path of mystery and curiosity.  If you want to try some art journaling, please sign up for my art newsletter for a primer and a mixed media tutorial.  CLICK HERE.

Artist and writer