The Power of Human Connection

Over the last three years my life (and business) has changed dramatically because of one thing:

Human Connection.

I’m not really sure if I’m an introverted extrovert or an extroverted introvert (and I hate labels anyway) but to be able to spend a high percentage of my time safely tucked away in my own home, free from the draining energy of crowds, toxic office culture and negative energy vampires means that I’m a happier, calmer and more creative person than ever before.

But, of course, it’s not particularly helpful to be at home alone when running your own small business, so I’ve found a way to form genuine connections and true friendships with incredible women across the globe.

Setting up one or two video calls each week with women who inspire and motivate me (and vice versa) is the perfect way to boost social connection and engage in powerful human conversations.

And human conversation is the key to successful sales according to my good friend Jules White, a British sales coach, motivational TEDx speaker, author of Live It, Love It, Sell It and podcast host of The Human Conversation. (She’s a busy girl!)

In her book, Jules talks about the role of empathy in sales conversations and how to create strong relationships built on integrity:

‘The beauty of relationships is they last longer than a single transaction, so by conducting yourself with integrity and empathy rather than focusing on ‘winning’ you’re likely to generate future business. Your client will come back to you when they need you, and they’ll recommend you to others. That’s the real win. This is human selling and human connection.’

I love Jules’ approach but I’m also acutely aware that many women will shy away from creating these deep connections because they feel threatened by other women. 

Why is that?

Some might say it’s a link back to ancestral times such as the Salem witch trials when women were forced to expose other women as witches in order to protect themselves and their families. Others might say it’s just in our biological nature or that it’s simply learned habits from the culture we live in today.

But…

Every week I hear stories in the online space of women copying other women’s work, branding, images or words, women tearing others down or using people to get to the top. Not only is it stressful for those incredible, hard-working women who’ve worked so hard to elevate their small business into the online space to help others, but it’s very sad for those women who believe that using and abusing really is the only way to get what they want. (Hint: It’s not!)

When women support each other, incredible things happen.

Yesterday, I had a deep conversation with Georgia Varjas, a motivational speaker, writer and mentor living in Spain, about why women feel threatened by other women. We covered all sorts of angles from confidence and insecurities to labelling and judgment. Georgia reminded me of a quote she used during her amazing talk at Helen Packham’s Entrepreneurial Leaders Live event in Brighton in June:

The tongue has no bones, yet it is strong enough to break a heart.’ (Anon)

Georgia very generously invited me into her creative process and book writing journey and shared her ideas for the theme, chapters and messages within and from our conversation we both went away feeling inspired, motivated and filled with creativity.

When you open up and allow other women into your life and feel confident and secure in who you are, then amazing things really do happen.

In addition to these social connections and genuine friendships being so powerful when it comes to raising your profile and supporting your business passions in the online space, it’s important to remember that relationships are a form of self-love and nourishment and have a profound impact on our health.

Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, says, ‘The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health … Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation.’

The message I’m sharing with you today is that building relationships on a solid foundation of integrity, kindness and love is vitally important for our health and our businesses.

I know that I couldn’t be where I am today without the love and support of so many incredible women. And I’m so grateful to each and every one of them.

Are you taking the time to build relationships?

I’d love to know…

Lorraine xx

If you’re interested in anything or anyone I’ve mentioned above, here are the links:

Live It Love It, Sell It – book by Jules White

Jules White – Facebook group- ‘Live It Love It Sell It with Jules White’

Georgia Varjas ‘Slipping and Sliding on the Glass Ceiling’ – live talk from Entrepreneurial Leaders Live, June 2018

Georgia Varjas – Facebook Page ‘Step Up and Stand Out’

Helen Packham, leadership & Business Coach, TEDx speaker and creator of Entrepreneurial Leaders Live events

The Harvard Study of Adult Development

Profile photo of Lorraine Pannetier outside by palm tree holding a cup of tea and wearing a grey jumper and smiling at the camera.

The Connection between Gratitude and Creativity

 

Living, writing and creating in Jersey is a breath of fresh air.

From the rugged north coast to the palm trees of the south, the waves of the wild west to the glowing eastern sunrise, there’s something unique and special about every angle of our tiny island.

Our landscape is an endless source of inspiration for local creative artists, many of whom have successfully created products that are sought after worldwide for customers wanting to take a little of Jersey’s essence into their homes. Even if you’ve never heard of the island of Jersey, chances are you’ve tasted a Jersey Royal or can spot a Jersey cow!

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Photo by George Hiles on Unsplash

When I first came to Jersey twenty years ago as a young personal trainer, nutrition consultant and massage therapist, I soon discovered a whole circle of incredible healers and practitioners whose magic hands were capable of transforming energy levels, health and well-being.

I intuitively felt safe, supported and inspired by their wealth of knowledge and experience and immersed myself in many kinds of treatments such as reflexology, chiropractic, cranio-sacral therapy and crystal healing.

Investing in our body’s health should really be a no-brainer.

Except we live in a world where obesity and chronic illness are prevalent in developed countries while malnutrition and preventable disease run rife in the third world. So, looking beyond diet, exercise and disease control, what else can we do to make our human bodies run more efficiently and enjoy happier lives?

Well, I believe that part of the secret lies here in Jersey.

Spending time being active outdoors in nature and breathing in our fresh, unpolluted air is one way to boost our health and spirit. However, there is one important thing that needs to be added here…

Gratitude.

Too many of us simply take our island and our beautiful surroundings (and many other amazing things in our lives) for granted.

When was the last time you found yourself stuck in traffic along The Avenue? Probably fairly frequently if you’re a rush-hour commuter. But did you take the time to notice the millpond-like sea in St Aubin’s bay, to watch the palm trees fluttering gently in the breeze or to look up and see a flock of birds or a ‘kiss’ of aeroplane trails in the sky?

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Simple pleasures – Noirmont point, overlooking Portelet Bay, Jersey

Being thankful for our island’s natural beauty is a prerequisite for a more joy-filled existence.

We will all experience problems, challenges and pain in our lives, but how we choose to react to those situations will be far more positive when we begin to live every day from a place of love, kindness and gratitude.

 

As a writer and creative entrepreneur based in Jersey, I’m grateful every day for the inspiration I find in our island and how that translates into beautiful words for my clients.

Whenever my creativity gets stuck or my energy feels stagnant, a short walk in nature, a trip to the sea or some time in the company of animals reawakens my passions and stimulates my creative juices.

Here are my top tips to living life from a place of gratitude:

  • Keep a gratitude diary. Write down at least three things you’re grateful for every day and how they make you feel. Need some inspiration? Read on…

 

  • Take a few moments every morning to look out of your bedroom window. Notice the trees and flowers, the clouds, the sky, the sunrise and the birds. Watch how the seasons change the colours and textures.

 

  • Close your eyes in the shower and feel the warmth of the water trickling over your body. Whilst appreciating the availability of running water, heating, fluffy towels and clean clothes, think about your big dreams or life goals. What would you like to achieve? Where would you love to travel to? What legacy would you like to leave behind? Thinking about these things daily and taking small action steps towards achieving them is far easier when the rest of your day is rooted in gratitude.

 

  • Do kind things for others. It doesn’t have to be a grand or expensive gesture, but perhaps something as simple as cooking a meal for an elderly neighbour, bringing fresh fruit into work to support your colleague’s health goals, passing on a good book or donating unwanted clothes or household items to charity.

 

  • Spend more quality time with your children, family or friends without the distraction of smart phones. Listen to elderly relatives’ stories and pass on their wisdom and history to the younger generation.

     

Our island’s natural beauty and heritage is not a separate entity. It’s interwoven into every piece of creative artwork and lives on forever through each one of us.

Lorraine xx

A Love Note to Jersey – First published in The Jersey Life Magazine May 2018

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Fliquet beach, Jersey

 

Growing Roots

If I say the word Roots, what’s the first thing that springs to mind?

Trees and forests?

Buying a house?

Starting a family?

Or, perhaps, must book a hair colour appointment?!

In an era where millions of people are physically displaced from their homes through war or weather extremes and millions more feel a sense of drifting, loneliness or isolation, it’s time to talk about connection. In particular, our connection to nature, ourselves and the Universe.

You see, putting down roots is about more than buying a house or starting a family. Having roots is a connection to Mother Earth and to ourselves.

You can only start to truly connect when you realise that numbing the emptiness is futile.

A great new haircut or that first cocktail on a Friday night certainly makes you feel good, but it’s a temporary high. A series of picture perfect temporary highs might make your life seem pretty perfect to your Facebook followers. It may even make you think you’ve got this happy life thing sussed.

But when you’re brave enough to stop and look inwards, you realise there’s a gaping BIG h o l e.

A hole that will never be filled, until you stand on the edge and jump right in.

When I was 21 I thought I had my life figured out. I’d done well at school, been abroad for a year and got a good job with prospects. I was engaged to a lovely man who I lived with in a little three bedroom house with a garden, garage and two gorgeous cats. We had a great group of friends, an active social life and regular holidays to the beautiful Greek islands.

But there was something missing.

I was literally 99% on target to tick everything off that imaginary life wish list we all write when we’re teenagers (you know the one, married by 25, two children by 30…) but I carried a sense of longing and loneliness that I couldn’t describe, name or really feel into.

Until one day someone (far older, wiser and more in tune with her feminine nature) said to me: ‘If it doesn’t feel right, it’s ok. If it’s not what you want, you don’t have to do this.’

Her intuition was spot on. She felt something rising in me and put it into the words I was unable, or un-ready, to say.  In essence, she guided me to tune in to my innate wisdom, my gut instinct, my divine feminine energy. Without her light around me I would never have had the strength to go through the inevitable heartbreak and change in situation that followed.

Looking back, this was one of the big turning points in my life.

Suddenly I wasn’t just following the ‘good girl’ path expected of me and started following my heart.

Opportunities opened up for me the more I tuned in to who I really was and what I really wanted. A redundancy payment led me to retrain in nutrition, fitness and health and within a few years I had moved country, met a new man and had two beautiful daughters. (So my wish list did come true anyway!)

Connecting to our inner selves is an ongoing adventure where sometimes we’ll sit on a mountain top together admiring a beautiful sunrise, and other times we’ll be crying ourselves to sleep, hitting the pillow and shouting ‘Why me, why now, why this?’.

Connecting is not something we just do once, like setting up a broadband service or booking our annual holiday.

Understanding who we really are on the inside doesn’t just take work, it takes a willingness to open up; to be vulnerable, raw, messy and ready to receive.

When there’s a lot going on in our lives and the world around us that makes us feel like the ground is being pulled from underneath us, and that life will never be the same again (that’s actually a good thing, trust me!), this is the perfect time to tune in, reconnect and grow our roots.

Before you can put down roots, you have to trust in yourself first. Trust that your intuitive guidance system will take you to the experiences, places and emotions that you most need to move forward.

  • Trust that whatever you’re faced with, you can, and will, get through it.
  • Trust that your emotions are leading you to uncover more of who you really are.
  • Trust that the solutions will always appear, as long as you keep believing in yourself.

To connect with nature is a great way to begin reconnecting with yourself and trusting your intuition.

  • Walk barefoot on the grass or along a sandy beach.
  • Lay under the stars on a clear night.
  • Walk in the forest and listen to the sounds of the leaves and branches dancing in the breeze.
  • Eat fresh, ripe fruit with your hands and allow yourself to get messy! (Mango is great for this.)
  • Swim in the ocean.
  • Spend time with your pets; feel the unconditional love vibrating back at you and filing your heart with warm fuzziness.
  • Watch a sunrise or sunset.
  • Grow flowers or vegetables.
  • Climb a mountain (or at least a big hill with a view at the top).

As I write this blog from an olive tree covered mountainside on the Greek island of Corfu, I notice the way the trees have grown and thrived over many decades and am reminded that the beauty and strength of nature is in each and every one of us.

Our Western culture has led us to believe that we and nature are separate.

But we’re not.

We and nature are all one and the same energy.

  • So why do we say trees, flowers and sunsets are beautiful, but women of a certain shape and size are not?
  • Why do we say that we need to protect our animals, our oceans and our rainforests but we don’t seem to be doing enough to protect our children against a future of online bullying, shaming, grooming and self-esteem destruction?
  • Why do we say we want to live in a happier world and then spend our time watching sensationalised news reports, reading magazines filled with body-shaming tips masquerading as beauty or fashion tips, or trolling social media to have arguments with people we’ve never even met?

If you do one thing today to reconnect to your inner self and grow more roots, make sure it begins with love and compassion.

Do small things with big love.

In a volatile, ever-changing world, where we’re powerless to control so many things, the ONE thing we all have to take responsibility for is to create our own roots through reconnecting to our inner selves and showing up from a place of truth and alignment to who we really are.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Lorraine xx

Is someone standing on YOUR podium?

When did you decide to stop following your dreams?

I know you had dreams, desires, goals. Maybe even just a knowing feeling that somewhere in life there would be more than this. But, at some point you gave up. You settled for less than you deserved. Less than you were meant to be. Less than you dreamed of.

Why did you do that?

Because the fight got too hard. It was easier to live a quiet, simple life. It was easier to stay in the job you hated. It was easier to let the kids eat oven-ready dinners. It was easier to just throw on the same jumper and jeans. It was easier to go for the natural look. It was easier to live with someone who made you feel rubbish than to put yourself back in the dating pool. It was easier to keep driving the old car that kept breaking down. It was easier to rely on your husband for money. It was easier to book the family holiday to the same place every year where the kids would be safe and entertained.

But what happened when you stopped fighting and just lived the easy life?

You resented the job you were in. Your kids didn’t thrive as much as they might have on home cooked, real food. You felt frumpy and plain and maybe invisible too. Your self-esteem took a nose dive. You didn’t trade in the car for a more reliable one. You didn’t have any need to take a risk. You didn’t travel to places that really lit up your heart.

Did that feel good?

I’m guessing not. Although while you were in that phase (or maybe still are) you switched off your dreams and goals buttons and forgot about them. At least, you thought you had. But deep inside there was always this gnawing feeling that you weren’t quite in the right place or living the life that was right for you. Sometimes these feelings disappeared for months at a time. Maybe you embraced a new partner, a new baby, a new house, a new job, wonderful friends, dieting breakthroughs and fabulous new clothes. It wasn’t all bad. Hey, from the outside your life even looked great.

But then, out of the blue came one of those lightbulb moments. A realisation. A feeling. A sensation.

You began to feel fired up; that warmth in your belly and tingly pins and needles down your limbs. Your mind raced as you pieced together a few more parts of the puzzle. Yes! I can do this! This is for me! Why didn’t I see it before? And then, like a shooting star that fizzles before your eyes, the fears are back and your dreams are lost.

You pick yourself up and soon fall back again. And again. And again. But just like a baby learning to walk, you have to keep trying. You really do.

If you don’t try to live the life of your dreams someone else will.

Someone else will be there, shining bright, on your podium.

It’s your step.

It may be a big one, but you have to stretch up and stand on top and take your rightful place in the world.

Because honey, you were born for greatness.

You were born to shine brightly.

You were born to be you.

Don’t ever let anyone else tell you you can’t do something. You can achieve anything you put your mind to. What would really make you happy?

What makes your light shine brightly inside?

What lights your soul and brings about that sparkle that others notice in you?

 

Lorraine xx

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Lorraine Pannetier is an intuitive copywriter and content creator who helps heart-centred entrepreneurs, Earth angels and goddess warriors to shine brilliantly through carefully crafted copy that embraces their unique essence so they attract their tribe, increase credibility and feel confident showing up as the amazing women they were born to be.

 

Join my Facebook Group: Shine Brilliantly – Copywriting & content creation for heart-centred entrepreneurs

What to do when creativity leaves the building

When creativity disappears and leaves you lost for ideas, it sucks!

 

Waves of frustration wash over you.

‘Why can everyone else put out loads of new content all the time and I’m stuck?’

Every day you try new tactics, but your mind just becomes overfilled and overwhelmed.

There’s that lingering sense of ‘I’m not good enough’.

‘Why can’t it just be easy?’

 

It’s in these moments you either give up or become fiercely determined to succeed.

 

Frustration is replaced with a new commitment.

Overwhelm is swapped for a shiny new schedule.

Deflation morphs into creation.

 

You leap into your new plan filled with all the energy of a space shuttle launch.

But just as rocket fuel quickly burns away, so does your dedication.

You’re back where you started.

 

So what’s going so wrong?

What needs to change?

 

Here are my top 3 tips to bring creativity back into your life:

  • Creativity flows when you’re in alignment to your inner values and desires. What does that mean in real life? Well, when you’re being true to who you really are, that’s when your authentic voice shines through. Your words are warmer, you attract your ideal clients with ease and you come across as honest and real. Humans are naturally wired to sniff out truth or deception and those who are more intuitive (i.e. regularly have that ‘gut feeling’ or instinct about people or situations) can pick up on this in seconds. So figure out what you really believe in and then stand up for that. Be bold. Be courageous. Be you.
  • Creativity is drowned by overwhelm. When you’re trying to do everything by yourself you simply have too many tabs open in your brain. What are the basic tasks needed to run your business successfully? What tasks could you delegate? What tasks can only you do? Do you have a schedule to stick to? How could your family help around the house? Could you get a cleaner? Do you waste time being reactive to social media? There are so many things that we all do every single day and it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. Start by scheduling 1 hour a day just for you. This can be in 2 x 30 minute blocks or 3 x 20 minutes if you prefer. This hour is for anything you desire that isn’t connected to your business or creativity. So, read a book, go for a walk, sort your wardrobe, meet a friend for coffee and cake (cake makes everything better), watch a TEDx talk or take a candlelit bath. Then for all the other ‘tasks’ in your life (business and personal), just write down the 3 most important things and get them done first.
  • Creativity is all about connection. In the online space it’s vitally important we connect with people every single day. Whether it’s through your own posts, engaging in groups or paid memberships, simply showing up, being visible, sharing your knowledge, being known as the expert in your field or offering support and inspiration, it’s all connection. It doesn’t matter whether your preferred medium is video, audio, photographic or written – use whichever one most lights you up and the one that is most applicable to the tribe you wish to attract. Then show up every single day.

 

If a relaxing writing retreat sounds like the perfect antidote to your creative struggles, check out my Corfu Writing Retreat (October 2017).

 

Lorraine xx