Category Archives: About Antonia Chitty

Using your intuition spiritual and emotional intelligence in business

Do you rely on facts to make your business decisions or do you follow your gut instinct? I’ve noticed a big interest in articles on the Family Friendly Working site about using your spiritual intelligence so I decided to find out more.

According to Wikipedia, Spiritual intelligence is a term used by some philosophers, psychologists, and developmental theorists to indicate spiritual parallels with IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and EQ (Emotional Quotient). Danah Zohar coined the term “spiritual intelligence” and introduced the idea in 1997 in her book ReWiring the Corporate Brain. There are ongoing debates about Emotional Intelligence – does it exist, can we measure it, and how? The same debate is very much starting around spiritual intelligence. I wonder, though, if the need to define and measure is ignoring something fundamental, as well as being promulgated by those who might not rely on their instincts!

There’s a place for scientific investigation, but I think that it is also interesting to look at what people do every day. I had been thinking about doing a masters for a number of years, but I was always too busy, with family and business vying for time. Some problems with my health coincided with closing part of my business, and all at once I had time to spare, and a reason to reorganise my priorities. I started a course with the WEA which gave me the confidence to apply for an MA in Critical and Creative writing. I’ve been on the course since September and it’s great, giving me loads of new fuel for thought as well as opening up whole new areas of writing. If I hadn’t followed my intuition that the time was right for a big change, I might be struggling to grow a business that wasn’t really working for me anymore.

Joe Gregory runs publishing company Bookshaker.com. He says, “I definitely use instinct when deciding who to partner with. I think we humans are amazing at spotting incongruity when we trust our gut. When buying product and services though I usually check the data.” Small business blogger and trainer Helen Lindop says, “Yes, big life decisions I tend to go with my gut (then justify it to myself with the facts), smaller decisions I tend to go with the data.” Joe recommends Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, to understand more about how we make decisions. Lucy Carraher is Managing Editor of Rethink Press. She advises, “Consciously seek out facts then wait for intuition to process and give a definitive response. “Gut” or intuition is not irrational or non-factual. It’s our subconscious linking all information, knowledge and emotion in a broader but less visible way than our conscious thinking processes are able. “Gut” is bigger than but includes “facts”.”

But when it comes down to it, when faced by a decision, what do you actually do? In my own experience, I’d say that at the final point of making a choice, you can only follow your instinct, however many facts you have consumed before that point. You will be able to make an informed choice, the facts may seem to point in one direction, but it is your instinct that tells you whether the time is right, and whether that is the right direction for you and your business.

This article first appeared in Business Rocks magazine.

New books on their way: Journey Through Assesment and Food and SEN Children

New Special Needs Books I just got an exciting package through the post today: it’s the advance copies for my new books which come out at the end of the month. Find out more about each book here if you’re feeling impatient – it looks like Amazon has the first one in stock already.
The Journey Through Assessment: Help for Parents with a Special Needs Child

Food and Your Special Needs Child

Change to Succeed

I’ve been thinking about change for a while. It might be something to do with the fact that it is 25 years since I left school. When you start getting Facebook friend requests from people who you haven’t heard from for more than 20 years you know something is in the offing! A reunion is taking place in June and I have mixed feelings about attending. I suspect pretty much anyone who has ever considered attending a reunion has this sort of ‘should I -shouldn’t I’ feeling.

A reunion makes you take stock. What have you done with your life? On paper, I’ve done loads: I’ve written more than 20 books, have three amazing children, and a great house on the sea front. But actually, that’s not the big changes that are important to me. What is important is that I like myself now. I don’t think I liked myself very much when I was a teenager and it took a while – and meeting some good friends – to work out that I’m OK. And that’s nothing to do with what I’ve achieved, either.

I know that while I might not always like change or find it easy at the time, I can change and adapt. I’m good at making the best of things and seeing opportunities. I was bored stiff on my first maternity leave, so during the second one I wrote the first draft of my first book. I couldn’t walk for 6 months while pregnant with K, and it limited what I could do for some time afterwards as well, so I got into blogging, and brought in some help to launch a new book. I’ve learned that I can do more with help than without, too, and have built some great alliances.

I know that I’ve changed enormously. Some of the changes have been unexpected, some due to situations that I have been thrust int and forced to adapt. Other changes have been planned, but that didn’t always make them easier to handle. But now, as the children get older, and I know more changes are on their way, I’m confident that I can face them, learn from them, and make the most out of life.

I’m not going to go to the reunion. I don’t need to see what everyone else is doing to know that I’m doing OK.

Do you self sabotage?

Antonia ChittyIs there one thing that you’d really like to achieve, but that you keep putting off?

At the moment I have a good balance of work: a book to complete and some features to write. I also have the time to work on some writing that I have been putting off for ages. I really want to do it, yet today I found myself doing everything else first!

I’m the kind of person who likes to work in a fairly clean and tidy office, but it can be all to easy to spend all my time cleaning up rather than working. When I first started writing books I was very disciplined and wrote first, before switching to check my emails and get on with the rest of my work. With experience, it became easier to switch on to writing, so I got in the habit of checking my emails first. Now I think I might need to make the decision to work on my stalled writing project first thing in the morning before anything else, just so I get it done!

What sort of work do you put off completing? Here are some ideas to help you ‘get it done!’

  1. For some jobs the ‘do it first’ approach works. Complete the job you have been putting off first thing one morning and you’ll feel better for the rest of the day.
  2. For other jobs, it might be worth contracting the work out to someone else. This applies if you are delaying something because you don’t have the expertise.
  3. successlIf you are delaying because you simply lack confidence in your own abilities, here is something that has worked for me: self-bribery: I’ll buy a pack of my favourite biscuits and sit them in front of me. I can only open the pack once the job is done! On a deeper level, write down some of the good things that will happen once you have done the job: you’ll feel more confident, and there may be business or personal benefits too. Remind yourself of these as you work through the task.
  4. Finally, you may need some accountability. I’ve been working with a fab group of writers this year. We’re all trying to improve our writing together which is really motivating. We also have word count targets, prompts and challenges which help me get things done. Who could help you achieve your own goal?

If you want to work with someone on your business or personal goals, do get in touch with me about mentoring.

Things I’ve done by 41

Rather than do an “xx things I want to do by the time I’m however old”, I’m looking back things I’m proud of achieving in the 41 years I have been here..

  1. Writing a book, then a whole load more books!
  2. Having set up a successful business
  3. The number of mums I have helped grow their businesses
  4. The business partnerships I have set up
  5. My 3 kids…
  6. … and creating a flexible way to work so I am there for them as much as is good for all of us
  7. and having given birth to Kit in 3.5 hours with just gas and air (not that I wouldn’t have had an epidural if there had been time)
  8. and – still related to having Kit – I am proud of having made it through 6 months of not being able to walk.
  9. And getting back to being able to run (a bit – another work in progress!)
  10. My relationships with my parents
  11. Getting a degree
  12. Moving out of home in suburban Surrey to inner city Bradford and having an amazing time
  13. Travelling to countries including Nepal, Bangladesh, Canada, the USA, the Gambia, as well as Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belgium and Hungary.
  14. Living by the sea in a fab home
  15. Being incredibly happy with my life and home and not having to strive for ‘just one more thing to be happy’.
  16. Being within reach of paying off our mortgage – ask me next year on that one!
  17. But also owning another house and a third of a house!
  18. Having a successful relationship for 15+ years (except when we are both sleep deprived)
  19. Appearing on national TV and radio, with confidence, on plenty of occasions
  20. Writing for Which magazine for 3 years
  21. And appearing in other magazines
  22. And still writing freelance features
  23. And being a confident speaker at professional events
  24. Being able to horseride (a bit!)
  25. Having cast off a very Christian upbringing to create my own world view
  26. Won the ‘inspirational businessmum’ award and made it into this year’s Mumpreneur 100!
Things I’d like to do include:
  1. Go to India
  2. Learn to sail
… but basically I’m very content with my lot right now!

Full Programme and Speakers Announced for BusinessMums Conference

Mums with Businesses have the chance to learn from an amazing speaker lineup at the BusinessMums Conference 2010 which takes place in Brighton later this year. After keynote speaker Annabel Karmel, attendees can listen to Mel McGee, author of Millionaire Mumpreneurs who explains how to Stop Marketing – Start Engaging.

Breakout sessions include:

  • Get Started! Invaluable advice on how to set up your own business by Julia Chanteray, Channel 4 business expert
  • Get Out of Your Rut! Ongoing business development. How to keep up the momentum and revolutionise your business practices by Carmen MacDougall of The VA Coaching and Training Company
  • Get Noticed! Branding and brand promotion by author and award winning entrepreneur Mumpreneur Guide Antonia Chitty of ACPR
  • Get Confident! Robyn Hatley, coach, Mums the Business

The afternoon starts with a Case Study, “Business Stripped Bare” – hear how Jo Wise‘s started a new service to beat the recession. Get Social with Nikki Backshall of Webmums who shows how Harnessing the Power of Online Networking can get your name out there. This is followed by a panel discussion and your chance to question Sophie Cornish of NOTHS, Sam Willoughby of WhatsOn4 and Alex Stone of Just too Busy

The Business Mums’ Conference 2010 will help you get inspired and learn skills to develop their business. Book at earlybird rates until 30th June. For more about The Business Mums’ Conference 2010, see www.businessmumsconference.co.uk