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You’re Never Too Old For A Gold Star

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You’re Never Too Old For A Gold Star

Remember getting a sticker for doing a good job on your homework at school? Or the star-chart that hung in the classroom with everyone’s name across a calendar and good deeds accomplished? Points for being kind, points for bringing a healthy lunch to school. Basically easy, quick wins that were acknowledged and rewarded and made you feel good and more importantly encouraged positive behavior.

So what happened to that star-chart? We grew up and the star-chart got replaced with hardcore KPIs, sales targets, grueling reports and deadlines to meet.

I say we bring it back!

We’re fastidious when it comes to measuring and tracking the important milestones for our work life, but we rarely pay any attention to how we’re tracking in the rest of our lives. It’s so easy to get carried away with do do do – marketing plans, sales targets, social media… But when did you last check in with how you are being and feeling on an everyday basis?

Checking in with that stuff is guaranteed to set you up for success in both your work and personal life. It’s proven that when you are flourishing, there is a knock-on effect into all areas of you life.

Lately, I’ve been playing with the star-chart idea, and it’s working a treat. I still have all my adult milestones (marketing plan, sales targets etc) but I also have daily and weekly ‘being’ milestones that make me feel human and help me stay grounded and focused on what matters most – enjoying my life.

I borrowed some inspiration from Malika Chopra’s (author of Living with Intent), ‘Balance Wheel’  to help me think about the areas of my life that deserve constant attention in order to help me feel and be my best everyday.  

For instance, Intellectual Stimulation – what did I learn today that was fascinating? (even if it was a tiny factoid from a conversation or newsfeed). What’s that, I had a green smoothie for breakfast – point for nutrition!

Sooner rather than later just like the classroom, your points stack up and it’s addictive. You’ll want to keep going and see how many you can add. REMEMBER- this isn’t another to-do list, but a tracking device to help you visually see where you are flourishing and where you can focus some more of your energy.

Give it a go:

1. Find a space on your wall that you can create your personal balance wheel.

2. Create your life buckets – use Malika’s or create your own! Brainstorm some simple actions you can take in each bucket. In nutrition – could you make your lunch and take it to work? Relationships – is there a friend you could reach out to this week? Creativity and Play – how could you inject some fun into your workplace or work routine this week?

3. Check-in each week and distribute the gold star to the areas you’ve hit. In the beginning, do it daily so you can build momentum from the feel good dopamine hit your brain gets every time you complete a bucket. (You can use a gold star, post-it, smiley face – whatever floats your boat and makes you feel all giddy like a 5 year old getting a prize).

Measuring how balanced you are each week:

1-2 buckets with gold stars: struggling– ask yourself what needs to shift in your life NOW so you can start feeling better? Where are you spending most of your time? How could you start to redistribute some of that to other neglected areas of your life?

3-4 buckets with gold stars: surviving- what else could you do to get that number higher?

5-7 buckets with gold stars: thriving - celebrate and maintain that positive outlook! What can you do to ensure you keep it up next week?

Tip – make it easy to win! This isn’t about being an overachiever and going over the top. It’s about making a few simple shifts in your daily routine to help you feel more well rounded and balanced. 

And, just like at school, when you reach a certain amount of points – reward yourself. Celebrate with something that makes you feel great – a massage, a fancy dinner out or simply give yourself another star. And thus the gratuitous cycle continues.












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How to Hustle Gracefully

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How to Hustle Gracefully

The word ‘hustle' is getting a lot of airtime these days. It’s one of those things all wildly ambitious entrepreneurs and movers and shakers seem to be good at doing on a daily basis. "Don’t wait for dreams to happen, hustle hustle hustle,” the sentiment goes. But living in a busy city that is already so hustle and bustle…I don’t know about you, but the thought of more hustle on-top of the hustle is…exhausting. I’ve already got enough on my to-do list without worrying about whether I am ticking more stuff off, ‘shaking those trees’ and increasing my social media following.  

I think that perhaps the word hustle just needs to meet its[AP1]  match. Alone, it is a bit manic and slightly obsessive. But, when you couple it with the word ‘graceful’, the whole dynamic changes. Graceful hustle. How does that make you feel? A little less hectic, right? And slightly counterintuitive.

Let me explain.

By graceful, I mean less pushing, less controlling, less balls in the air and soaring stress levels when things don’t land as we want. I’m talking about a graceful hustle that is about taking guided action. It’s about gaining momentum toward something that feels right. Something attuned to who we are and who we want to become. It’s not about moving mountains in one day, but taking focused,  calm, intentional action. Because ironically when we slow down and take a moment to refocus on what we actually want, the path becomes clearer and the momentum accelerates. 

I learned this recently while starting a business of my own. You can’t hustle your energy in a million different directions. Not only does your energy become diluted, you also don’t get the results we want.   

As an individual, entrepreneur or company, try embracing this concept - less spinning wheels and more connection to what is truly important. Prioritize what matters and let go of the stuff that isn’t mission-critical. By freeing ourselves of our endless to do lists and pressure to accomplish so much, we free ourselves. And in that freedom we find more creativity and the ability to stay in an inspired place that leads to meaningful results. 

Here are my favorite tips to help you hustle gracefully:

1) Bookend your day.

Block out morning and evening, even if it’s only 20 minutes, just to do you. That means anything creative, spiritual or physical that energizes you and helps reconnect you with yourself. You’ll naturally draw energy from an inspired place for the rest of the day, rather than allowing all your energy to go into everything else but you.

2) Make it visual.

I like to wake-up and remind myself of who I am becoming before the day decides for me. Get creative and design yourself a mood board with images of with what’s important to you. It will help ground you when you feel overwhelmed by the day’s perceived challenges.

3) Reality Check.

We’re all going to the grave, so you may as well do the stuff that makes you happy. This is a slightly morbid statement, but one of my mentors reminded me of it the other day. I find it actually helps get your head out of the daily minutia and focused on completing what really matters.

Happy hustling!

- Anika 



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