Beginning a Creative Project

Episode Focus: Stop judging, keep creating!

Podcast chats: Business coach Heather Hutchings and Kapiti Coast artist Dianne Connal

Mindfulness: Practicing the art of non-judgement

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Podcast chat with Heather Hutchings

Heather is an experienced business coach, Trainer, and Speaker, working with Business Founders and Consultants. Her mission is to transform businesses: to unleash their power and potential and shift the mindsets of business founders, consultants, and business leaders so they can focus on solutions that open the doors to opportunities and success.

Find out more about Heather on her website: unleash-yourbusiness.com

Can’t listen to the podcast? Here’s an abbreviated transcript of our chat.

Jordan: Heather, you’re a business coach and you support business owners to move from fragile to agile. Tells us about that.

Heather: Yes. Fragile to agile, or in other words, chaos to cash. So most business people get so involved in their business. They get so caught up in the day to day that they find that they’re fighting fires or they’re put in sticking plaster over the gaps in the business and they never get a chance to move forward.

So that’s what I do. We come in and we look at what’s going on and then we start peeling everything back. And from there we just start being very methodical. We concentrate on one are and then move on to the next sticking plaster gap, if you like.

Jordan: On reflection, what are the best and the hardest things about running a business?

Heather: The hardest thing about running a business is that you feel like you’re on your own. You know, if you’re a solopreneur or a husband and wife business in particular, it’s very difficult because it takes over your life. You’re at work during the day. You get home, you have your meals and you’re still discussing business. So that’s one of the hardest being in business. 

The best thing about running a business is, is that when something small you’ve been working on really succeeds. I love that the excitement of going, “I’ve got this!”.  And then also meeting lots of different people is another good thing about being in business. People that you normally probably wouldn’t meet. that’s key as well.

Jordan: You’re an Assessor  for the Kapiti Business Awards.  What does that involve and what do you see in the businesses that get awarded? What what can other businesses learn from them?

Heather:  The business awards now have been going for 26 years on the Kapiti Coast. The judges have a group of questions that the businesses need to answer and they need to be very clear about what they’re saying. But what it does is it makes you look at your business differently. It’s something that you probably wouldn’t otherwise do. You wouldn’t really dig and dive deep, peel back the onion skins. And so that’s for a lot of people, it’s really exciting.

The judges in these cases will come back and they will give you ideas, hints, clues on how you can develop and grow your business. So a lot of the people who are enter the awards  will go away, implement all of the the guidelines and they’ll leave it for a year and they’ll pop back the following year. In fact, we have one business in Levin who did that three times until he won the big award.

Jordan:  That’s a lovely thought, that it’s not just about winning the awards, but about taking on the insights other people can give you and then evolving and coming back again and trying again.

Heather: And it’s being willing to do that. You know, a lot of people think that if someone comes in to give them advice or guidance, they they feel like a failure. but the All Blacks, for example, couldn’t do what they do without three or four coaches in the background. Most businesses need about three or four different coaches.

And, you know, I’m a business coach, but I don’t do everything. I focus strategy, planning, direction and goal setting. But then if we need someone for social media, then we bring someone in to help out with that or accounting. We bring people in to support those areas that I don’t do. And and that’s how you get your business growth.

Jordan: You’ve also been coached yourself. How did you find the experience of being on the other end?

Heather: At times you can be vulnerable because you’re putting your feelings and your thoughts out there. And there is someone coming in and suggesting that there may be a better way of doing it. So you’re being challenged as well. It never worried me, but I know it does worry other people because they never feel good enough. You do feel challenged at times. You do feel very accountable. I mean, I’ve got my own business coach now. She’s based in L.A. and every week we set three goals a week. So being coached is challenging but it’s also fun because if you’re willing to soak it and learn it and implement it, you can see the impact and the results of it.

Jordan: If you had one golden tip for businesses, what do you think that would be?

Heather: Just have fun. Don’t try and do it on your own. There is someone out there that can guide and help you to reach your dream, your goal, your investment, whatever it is that you want from your business.


Podcast chat with Diane Connal

Diane is a Kapiti based jewellery designer and painter. She particularly enjoys using natural/found objects to make earrings, rings, necklaces and bracelets.  She enjoys the process of creating something unique from an object or piece of metal to make handmade jewellery that endures. She also paints using acrylic on beach wood or paper, interpreting her environment in her own unique way.

Find out more about Diane on her website: dianeconnal.com

Can’t listen to the podcast? Here’s an abbreviated transcript of our chat.

Jordan: Dianne, welcome to the podcast.  You’re a local Kapiti artist. You’re an artist with several talents – you make jewellery and you paint. I’m really interested in the jewellery making process. You work with found objects quite a lot and you’re inspired by the natural environment. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Diane: Well, I lived in Australia for 11 years, Sydney for seven. I did a jewellery design course there. And all the way through, I saw the whole thing with bone was just happening in New Zealand and my jewellery actually sat better in New Zealand really than it did in Australia. So I started doing bone things and found objects stuff right at the beginning and I’ve carried it all the way through.

People just used to think I was odd. One of my tutors used to go, ‘you just can’t do this.’ And I’m like, ‘yeah, but I kind of really want to’. Now it’s just kind of mainstream.

Jordan:  I wonder if there’s something in that, about just doing the things that work for you and not listening too much to other people.

Diane: You’ve got to have a belief in what you  actually want to do and and then you’ve got to fight for the things that are really important to you –  and maybe let other things go. 

Jordan:  Do you have any tips for creative people that are just sitting out on a creative journey? 

Diane: I think you’ve just got to really have that faith in what you do. There will always be someone there to tell you that it’s not going to work.   I’ve been told that my whole career. And always keep everything that you do, like keep all your drawings, keep your or your little doodles. 

Jordan: Do you have a mindfulness practice at all?

Diane:  I do. I’ve had quite a lot of illness in my life, so it’s very important to me to keep physically fit. So I eat well, you know, most of the time. And I also exercise regularly. So I walk and I swim. And I also meditate and listen to music. 

Jordan: What does meditation look like for you? Do you do guided meditations?

Diane: I just sit quietly. Just to stop that monkey brain, actually. But swimming’s quite good for that, too, and I often resolve problems with my designs and things or come up with a solution while I’m swimming and it happens when I’m meditating too as I mentioned. But but swimming is really good for that.

Jordan: Swimming. I wonder if it’s because you can’t do anything else. Just doing stroke after stroke.

Diane: Absolutely. And counting. 

Jordan: I had a little read of your blog and I was really interested in the one that where you were writing about your changes with the seasons. 

Diane:  In winter, I tend to do a lot of designing. And it’s a good time to do some marketing and and just look at your database and projects that you want to do the following year. So it’s a bit of a time of reflection, really.

Jordan: Just one final question for you. What does the good life look like for you?

Diane: Oh, the good life for me is being happy.  I love being by the sea. I mean, this is my real happy place. And being able to keep doing what I do, which is the great thing about being an artist. I’m 62 now, so you can keep going into your retirement and just keep working as long as your hands are working and your eyes are working.

Jordan: All right. Well thank you, Diane. All the best. 

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