Sally Ann Miller

How To Build A Heart-Centered Business

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Today’s episode is the fourth and final episode in the True Self Series. This week we explore how to build a heart-centered business by making decisions from your True Self.

When you build a heart-centered business you experience more peace and joy in your business. You also do work that feels good and purposeful to you.

Differentiating between your True and False Self takes practice. It’s something you can only learn through personal experience.

In this episode, I offer some exercises to help you explore the difference for yourself. This is how you can start to build a more heart-centered business.

What you’ll learn on today’s episode:

  • Why you want to make business decisions from your heart and not just your head.
  • How to tune into your intuition and know what’s true for you.
  • What it feels like to build a business from your False Self versus True Self.
  • Some exercises to help you start making more heart-centered decisions.

Featured on this episode:

Episode 19: The Problem With Today’s Success Culture

Episode 20: True Self Versus False Self

Episode 21: What Drives You: Some Lessons From Tolkien

Get more information about Business Growth Lab here: sallyannmiller.com/thelab/

Transcript

Welcome to Introverts Thriving in Business, the podcast for introverts who enjoy the comfort of her, hate the idea of selling, and want to create a thriving business on their terms. If you’re ready to go from overwhelmed and anxious, to feeling calm and accomplished in your business, then keep listening. I’m your host, Sally Miller.

Welcome back to the podcast. And this is the fourth and final, at least I think it’s the final episode, in the True Self Series. So over the last few weeks, I’ve been teaching a series to help you build a heart centered business. This is a business which feels aligned, it feels good, it feels natural. It’s the business the work you’re supposed to do in this world. So in the very first episode, it was about today’s success culture. So I talked, I introduced this idea of false self. Another word for that is ego. And I talked about how today’s success culture, the world we live in, that talks a lot about acquiring wealth, or things or recognition, it’s very goal and money oriented, very much material oriented world we live in, that actually has the tendency to feed into the ego, to grow the ego, feed into the false self. It can drag us away from our true selves.

Then in the second episode in the series, I did a contrast of the true self and the false self. The point of that episode was just to help you begin to see what exactly do I mean by this concept, and help you to understand how in your life, you operate from birth, and we all do, we are all humans, who operate from our false self, as well as our true self. Nothing wrong with that. This is the way we humans work.

Then last week, I talked about what drives you and I introduced three human faculties or three human drivers. I talked about the head, the heart and the body, and I explained how all three are important, they all serve a purpose. We need our heads. Your head is where you do your reasoning, your analysis, it’s where you plan. And we also need our body. Our body, our nervous systems, they send important messages to us to take care of ourselves. In business, your body is going to give you early warning signs, if you listen to it, of stress and overwhelm. And if you listen to your body, then it’s going to prevent you from falling into depression and anxiety, in these more extreme, heightened nervous states.

So the head and the body have important roles to play. But what I explained last week is the false self can also manipulate, like almost hijack the head and the body. And this is where the heart comes in. It’s my argument that the heart is the seat, the center of the true self. And what I talked about last week, was this idea of using all three, the head, the heart and the body together. But letting the heart lead, making your decisions from the heart, not from the head, not from the body.

So I don’t want you to be reactive, I don’t want you to make decisions from the body where you’re in fight or flight. And you’re always just automatically reacting when it’s not always necessary to, but I don’t want you to be overthinking over in your head and making decisions purely from the logical sort of head reasoning space. That’s, by the way, who I used to be. This was the person I was, I put a lot of importance in using your brain, using your head. But I began to realize you can over do that. And the heart actually can guide you once you learn to listen to it to make much better decisions that are more aligned with your true self.

And today, I’m going to be talking about how to do that, we’re going to get practical, I’m going to help you start to listen, to start to recognize a difference within your own self, of when are you being led by the false self, when are you being led by the true self, and I’m also going to give you an exercise to help you go deeper in this work. And here is why I personally believe this is important. There are so many benefits to building a business that’s heart-centered, building a business that’s aligned to your true self. When you do this, you are going to find more calm and peace in your business. You’re going to be less in that sort of ego-oriented, striving and frustrated, dramatic, closed off, all of those spaces, and be more in a calm, peaceful, service oriented, compassionate, loving, joyful place. Doesn’t that sound much more appealing as a business owner?

So let’s just dig in. I want to offer to you this idea. There’s two fundamental ways that I’m going to talk about recognizing when you’re acting from your true self versus your false self. Because that’s the whole point of this episode, to learn to tell the difference. So you can start to tune in more and more to the heart, more and more to the true self in your business. And the two ways I want to offer to you, one is with your thoughts. So one is using your head, being a little analytical about it. You can do that, to start to analyze and understand in your head, what thoughts are more aligned with true self versus false self.

And then the other way we can look at it is with the body, with the feelings. Looking at the experience you have and the sensations you have, and using those as your guide, almost as your compass. So I’m going to give you a quick overview. And then the best way I think to do this is just by learning from experience, learning from observing, but just to give you a feel for it, here are some thoughts, we’ll start with thoughts, here are some common thoughts that are false self. So these will be indicators that you’re operating from the false self; anytime you’re using the word ‘should’. If you’re ‘shoulding’ yourself, because you think you should do it, because someone else told you to, or some external messaging, for example, right? That is often coming from the false self—or have to, or must.

Or if you’re feeling, like, if you’re using thoughts where, you know, I deserve this, this is owed to me.” Any of that, those kinds of thoughts are false self, a lot of the wanting thoughts are like desiring thoughts coming from the false self as well. Plus anything that’s disordered, close, you can actually go back and listen to the episode on true self versus false self. That will give you a lot more signs and thoughts that are false self-oriented versus true self. So this is how you can recognize it in your thoughts. Like, just look at what are you thinking about your business? What are you thinking about the decision you’re about to make and look out for those signs of false self, versus true self is a lot more natural.

Now, on the feeling side, and it’s my contention, at least for me, anyway, that it’s now easier for me to do this from the feelings. I can really tune in to what’s happening in my body, and recognize the difference. There is a very different experience when I’m acting from the ego versus my true self. But the feelings of false self tend to be heavy. That kind of goes along with the shoulding—heavy, closed, tight, often tight and grippy. Those are the ones where you’re going after goals and are very future-centered. It can feel very tight and closed off inside your body. Those are the false self feelings.

Now, don’t worry, if you’re still not getting this, I’m going to ask you in a moment to start practicing on yourself, to start observing yourself, both your thoughts and your feelings. That is the only way you are truly going to learn to recognize this. And it’s a skill that you’re going to learn over time. But before you start practicing on yourself, an easier way for some people to get a handle on this, is to observe other people. And I want to offer an extreme example, to help you see this is. If you think about little kids. So I can’t remember what age, I studied psychology back in university, and I’ve forgotten… I think it’s around about three, two or three, where toddlers, the ego begins to develop and becomes really obvious.

And so if you think about if you’ve have kids of your own or grandkids or little kids, you think about how that two, three year old, that toddler age, and one moment, they’re going to be very loving. They are so easy with their hugs. There’s just zero ego there. There are pure love when the ego is not engaged. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but how little toddlers tend… I mean, everybody’s different. There is also a genetic component to this. This is not a science lesson. But if I think about the little kids I know, they tend to be much more easier with their love and their hugs than an adult, or even an older child. That is their true self.

When you watch kids that age, just playing on their own, you can see when they’re being really light hearted, you can see how they’re just completely absorbed in their activity, whatever it is they’re doing, they are pure joy. Toddlers express the true self so clearly, and you can observe it, you can see it okay. But I want you to contrast it. Because that age group, interestingly enough, also have a very contrasting false self, it’s because the ego is just really beginning to kick in and fight for dominance, you could think of it like that, at that age. Think about that same little kid, when they throw a tantrum in the grocery store, because they want something, they want that candy, and their mom is saying no.

Or I’ve often seen this, like, I have young kids and I remember when mine were that age, when they go through that toy possessiveness stage. If you’ve ever had been to someone’s house with your kid, and they’re playing with that kid’s toys, and then it’s time to go home, and they don’t want to give the toy back. That is false self in its extreme. And you can see how the kid gets very red, very angry, very closed. You can watch their physical body changes completely from who they are when they’re in their true self.

So that’s one way that you can begin to see and feel is, is if you don’t want to look at yourself, just start by looking at others, and especially little toddlers, because the contrast in that age is before they’ve gotten clever about hiding their ego. We will get clever at that as we get older. But in a toddler is crystal clear when you’re watching them, are they in their true self or false self? So that’s one way you can learn to just observe the differences and get familiar with the differences.

But another way, and the best, ultimately, is to observe yourself, because I don’t know how you experience life. And I’m certain we all experience life differently. You know, there’s commonalities between us, we’re all human, we’re all a bundle of cells, we all have the same human physiology, but I can’t know what it’s like to be you and experience. So the next thing you want to do is start observing yourself and start learning, especially in your business, because this is a podcast for building a business. And this is a series for building a heart-centered business. So your goal is to start observing yourself in your business, and noticing the difference when you are operating from false self and true self.

So first, you’re just going to start to think, and I’m going to give you an exercise in the moment to do this. Is that false self? Or is this true self? And you can do two things, like I said earlier, you can look at your thoughts, and you can look at your feelings. Here’s one thing you can think about, think about a time in your business when you were very fixated on a goal. And maybe you’d set a goal to—I see this a lot with my clients in Business Growth lab and also in other coaching groups that I’m a member of, and maybe you’ve set a monthly goal or a quarterly goal, it could be a money goal, or to sign a certain number of clients, or customers. And it’s getting to the end of the month, and you haven’t hit your goal.

I observed this and others a lot, but in the past, that used to be me, too. And then there’s this feeling that comes up inside you like it can be a little bit of desperation, neediness, whirling thoughts, you can look at the kind of thoughts you have in that situation. So you’re coming towards the end of the month, you’ve not hit your goal. Look at the kind of thoughts you have in that situation, and also look at the feelings. Because when you’re having those spinning thoughts and those feelings of desperation or tightness or frustration, or even at the worst, it can start to go to almost like a depression or despondency. Those are all coming from the false self, because the false self is looking to the future. Remember it’s ego-centered. The false self wants the money, the girl, the outcome, whatever it is, in order to boost it. The true self is completely at peace, but the false self has taken over in this situation.

So have a look at a situation like that in your past and your business. We all have them, I’m sure you can find one, observe the kind of thoughts and feelings, write it down journal about it, that’s going to tell you what it feels like and what it looks like in your head when the false self is in charge. And then I want you to contrast that. So next, think about a time when I call this flow, okay, not my term. It was a term came up by a psychologist who has a very difficult name to say, it’s Mikhail something, I can never remember his name. And he talks about this term, flow. You’ve probably heard me talk about it before.

But think about a time when you’ve been in flow. And what flow is, is when you’re so absorbed in an activity, you lose track of time. So going back to the toddler example, when they’re just playing and lost in their playing, they’re in flow. For me, in my business, flow happens when I’m creating content. I love to write, I love to plan content, even right now in this podcast, I’m experiencing this sense of flow. I have this plan. I use my head to plan out what I want to talk about but now I’m doing it, now I’m recording it, I’m fully engaged in the activity, the task, the activity of recording this podcast.

So I want you to think about a time of flow for you in your business, a time when times seem to standstill, when you are lost in the activity, when you may have been finding it easy, or you may have been finding a little bit challenging, but you were still fully engaged in what you were doing. That is an example, just one example of when you’re operating from your true self. There tends to be no thoughts. If you’re looking at what thoughts you’re having, there tends to be no thoughts except thoughts about the task, about the now, about the present. But also look at how your body is in that situation. For me, it tends to be very open, I tend to be feeling more joy, more openness, very often, like love compassion, when I’m creating content for my audience, because I’m doing this for my desire to help, my desire to serve.

So journal about it, look for time when you’re in flow, and then look at how you experience life in those moments. That’s your true self. And get used contrasting that to your false self and how you think and feel when your false self is taken over. This is purely a practice; something you just need to keep practicing to get good at is the only way you can learn it is through experience.

One more thing I wanted to add on the thought line is something else you can look out for in thoughts when you’re when your false self, is any attachment or resistance. So this is something else I teach in Business Growth lab, is I actually have this exercise I have people do, where for an entire month, they’re looking out for any attachment thoughts, and I’ll explain this in a moment or resistance thoughts. So attachment thoughts are typically future-based, they tend to be attachment to a goal, or attachment to something happening. Resistance thoughts tend to be you’re resisting the present, or you’re resisting something that has happened in the past, you’re not happy about something, you’re pushing it away.

And I asked people to just list out, journal about anything that’s coming from attachment of resistance, and get used to what those thoughts are, and the feelings that accompany them. Because attachment and resistant thoughts are all coming from the false self, not the true self. The true self is completely at peace with what is happening, even if it would be something you would label as bad normally, the true self still can make peace with it. So that’s another way of looking at it.

And then the exercise that I wanted to conclude with is the following. I want for those of you who already have a business, to do this, to first of all, grab a piece of paper and a pen and write out all of the tasks, all of the things that you’re typically doing in your business on a daily basis, a weekly basis, a monthly basis. So those tasks might include writing a newsletter. For me, it would include recording this podcast episode, it would include anything you do in sales, maybe it will include marketing, like posting on social media regularly. List out which platforms you post on, if you post on social media, do you go to networking events regularly? What are all the things you do in your business?

First of all, just list them all out a big long list. And then I want you put two columns next to that list of tasks. One is going to be the thought column, and one is going to be the feeling column. And in the thought column, I want you to go task by task and just brainstorm the thoughts you have about doing that thing. And in the feeling column, I just want you to write down the feelings you have about doing that thing. Just write it all down: the good, the bad, the ugly. And then go back and look at those two lists and see if you can spot where you were doing things from your false self versus your true self.

That is where I talked about in my Simple Selling Part Two, where I talked about how I noticed something was off in my selling of my group program. And I did a similar exercise and then I course corrected. So that’s how you can do this in your business for all the tasks you’re currently doing in your business. And then you’ll start, as you get more accustomed to recognizing true self versus false self, using the same kind of tools when making a decision in your business, checking in with your thoughts and your feelings. And asking myself is this coming from my true self or my false self? That’s going to help you build a much more heart centered business.

And then finally, before we close off, I want to leave you with a couple of thoughts or a couple of, I don’t know, warnings, maybe I call them. First of all, this takes constant vigilance, this work. Your false self, your ego is alive and kicking and it wants to survive, and it is going to keep coming back. So it takes constant vigilance. If you want to build a business more from the heart to be always checking in with yourself, always course correcting when you realize you’re off course. And doing that without judgment. That was the last thing I wanted to share, is do this and forgive yourself, be kind to yourself. When you notice that you’re doing something, and perhaps it’s coming more from the ego and you’re not liking it, and you’re not liking the results it’s creating, that’s okay, forgive yourself, and move on. All right, that’s all I had for you this week. I’ll see you next.

If you’re ready to thrive in business, I want to invite you to join Business Growth Lab. This is my group program where I teach you the exact process I and my students have used to grow profitable businesses we love. When you join the lab, you get lifetime access to everything you need to grow a six-figure business, the training, expert coaching, accountability, and community. The approach we take is scientific. We don’t dabble in business, and we don’t waste time. You’ll create your business on a solid foundation, using proven methods. To join, go to www.sallyannmiller.com/thelab. We’ll see you inside.

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