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Archive for June, 2007

Great Book for Social Entrepreneurs!

 Book Review

“The Enlightened Entrepreneur: A Spiritual Approach to Creating and Marketing A Company”   by Grace Bulger

In this book, Grace Bulger, a marketing consultant specializing in corporate identity work and former VP of communications for GE Capital Rail Services, brings a strategic, values based process to designing a business. 

While totally open to her wording the title with the use of the word “spiritual”, I couldn’t actually find many references to spirituality and certainly few references to religion or a higher power.  What I did find was a clearly laid out, easy to read primer for any socially responsible entrepreneur who wants their business to be an expression of their life purpose.

Not just for the pre-start up phase but for any entrepreneur wanting to re-energize their business, the author mixes real life business examples with practical and easy to follow exercises.  You and your business will benefit!

If you admire business women like Anita Roddick of the Body Shop or respect the social responsibility of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, then I think you will love this book!



coach . catalyst . shakti sage

Zoey Ryan
Life & Business Coach for Women

Tips to Help You Live a Successful and Happy Life!

I found myself recently in the very interesting position of “putting my money where my mouth is”!  As a life and business coach, my work is to support other people to develop healthy, fulfilling, nourishing, successful and happy lives.  I love my work and I usually feel I do a good job with my own life too!

After a wonderful and energizing spring full of lots of relaxation, time with family and being active outdoors, I felt health-wise, probably the best I have felt in years.  Imagine my surprise when my back went out!  I got the message very clearly that I needed to slow down.  In terms of commitments in my life, I was starting to get into a feeling similar to that “pre-Christmas frenzy”.  Do you ever feel like this?  I was reminded of the following quote.

“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier.  The way it actually works is the reverse.  You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.”
- Margaret Young

In the midst of the chaos and frenzy, I had lost touch with who I was!  I had been taking care of the pets, the kids, my work, supporting my clients and had forgotten to take care of myself!  Sound familiar?  If this resonates with you, check out the following ideas for connecting with your essence and taking positively outrageous care of yourself!

Suggestions for Positively Outrageous Self-Care
1. Daily, check in and ask yourself, what message is my body giving me?  What activities/food/beverages/exercise does my body need more of?  What does my body need less of?  Listen to and act on the messages.
2. Develop your own self-care routine.  Ask yourself, what do I need to do for myself on a daily, weekly, monthly, bi-annual and annual basis to really take care of myself.
3. Play hooky for a day!  Give yourself a surprise day off and luxuriate in the freedom.
4. Plan a “retreat day” or weekend and craft our ideal self-nourishing time.
5. Make a list of all the areas in your life that are energy drains and start eliminating the energy leaks.  Working with a coach is great for this!
6. Decide which people in your life energize you and which people drain you and spend most of your time with the “energizers”!
7. Spend time every day in solitude, doing nothing, no reading, no music.  Sit and appreciate your life and acknowledge yourself for all the great parts of you!  You are a positively outrageous woman!

“In solitude we give passionate attention to our lives, to our memories, to the details around us.”
- Virginia Woolf

In your process of developing your self care routine, it may also be helpful to ask your self the following questions:

1. What is my main focus for the season?  Is there a theme/picture/song which typifies this focus?
2. What do I need to release and let go of?
3. How can I simplify my life?
4. Do I feel blocked in any area of my life?
5. How can I “harvest” all the good in my life during this season?
6. Are my priorites in order?
7. Do I live life by my values.
8. Is my life reactive or proactive?
9. How are my primary relationships?
10. How is my physical health?
11. In what areas does my life flow effortlessly?

Well, I undertook this process recently and re-affirmed my commitment to having regular massages, taking evenings and weekends off, turfing all the “shoulds” in my life, revising my own self-care routine and letting go!  I feel re-charged, re-energized and passionate about supporting you with this process too!  Call or email be to book your own complimentary coaching session and let’s get started on your own positively outrageous self-care!



coach . catalyst . shakti sage

life & business coach for women


Women Entrepreneurs: 7 Keys to Unlocking Your Niche Market

7 Keys to Unlocking Your Niche Market

Entrepreneurs often struggle with identifying their niche and/or target markets.  I have pulled together the 7 “keys” or qualities that are very helpful in beginning this “quest”:

  • Passion
    The Big Why
    Unique Essence

Get started by answering the following questions:

Who do I love to work with?
Who do I do my best work with?

When do I really “shine” in my work?
What talents, skills and abilities do I make use of regularly?

Who are the customers currently using my products and services?
How do they hear about me?

What do I know to be true about me?
What do I know to be true about my business?

The Big Reason Why
Why am I doing this business anyway?
What is so compellingly amazing about my business that it gets me up every morning with bells on?

If I wasn’t afraid, then I would……… with my business

Unique Essence
What do I bring to my business that is uniquely me?
How am I and my business different from others in the industry?
I would describe my unique essence as…………

The Idea of Perfect Fit
(from “Attracting Perfect Customers: the power of strategic synchroncity” by Stacey Hall and Jan Brogniez)

“Each of us and the businesses we have joined or created, exists for a specific purpose or mission.  Our businesses have developed as a result of our own experiences and needs and are simply tools for fulfilling our missions.”  For all of us there is a Perfect Customer, that individual and group of individuals for whom we and our business is a “perfect fit”.  Identifying the characteristics of that

Niche Market and Target Market
(From Wikipedia )

A niche market is a focused, targetable portion of a market.
By definition, then, a business that focuses on a niche market is addressing a need for a product or service that is not being addressed by mainstream providers. You can think of a niche market as a narrowly defined group of potential customers.  A niche market usually evolves from a market niche, where potential demand is not met by any supply.

Niche marketing is the process of finding and serving small but potentially profitable market segments and designing custom-made products or services for them. For big companies those market segments are often too small in order to serve them profitably as they often lack economies of scale. Niche marketers are often reliant on the loyalty business model to maintain a profitable volume of sales.

Target market is the market segment to which a particular product is marketed. It is often defined by age, gender and/or socio-economic grouping.

Targeting strategy is the selection of the customers you wish to service. The decisions involved in targeting strategy include:
• which segments to target
• how many products to offer
• which products to offer in which segments
• There are three steps to targeting:
• market segmentation
• target choice
• product positioning
• Targeting strategy decisions are influenced by:
• market maturity
• diversity of buyers needs and preferences
• strength of the competition
• the volume of sales required for profitability
Targeting can be selective (eg.: focus strategy, market specialization strategy or niche strategy), or extensive (eg.: full coverage, mass marketing, or product specialization).

If you would like to brainstorm about all of this, contact me!



Zoey Ryan, PCC

coach . catalyst . shakti sage

life & business coach for women

More about Self-Care: What's Your Oxygen Mask?

In a previous posting, I talked about the safety lecture on air flights about putting your oxygen mask on first, then your kids.  This is a great metaphor for how women need to take care of themselves first, how doing this is self less, not selflish!

So, what is your oxygen mask?  What are those large and small elements of self care that are vitally important to you feeling the most you, to feeling healthy, happy, whole and grounded?  Here are some coaching questions to help you design your POW self care routine:
1. Think of your body, mind, spirit, soul, heart and emotions.  Now, ask yourself, in each of these categories, what are the things that on a daily, weekly, monthly, bi-annually and annual basis that you need to do for yourself to give yourself positively outrageous self-care?  This can be as simple as drinking enough pure water, moving your body daily, having regular massages, going on an annual retreat, reading something inspiring every morning.  Drop this question into your consciousness like a pebble dropping into a beautiful lake.  Give yourself a few days to let the ripples expand and then design your own self care routine in the homeplay exercises.  Allow yourself to really sink into this activity from the perspective of having anything be possible with no restrictions, just go for it!
2. Now, conversely, think of all the activities in your life and make a list of these.  This might include driving kids to school, calling your mom daily, going to the committee meetings, all the activities related to your paid work, domestic chores.  Now, ask yourself how many of these activities do you engage in because you feel you “should” as opposed to really, really wanting to engage in them.  Is your life a series of “shoulds”.  What do you think happens in this case.  My experience and observation is that resentments and frustrations build until there is conflict and or illness.  Think instead of designing your life to include activities that are nourishing, rewarding and fulfilling for you.  Does this mean never doing the laundry, or cleaning or being caring.  Of course not, but it does mean being aware of those systems in your life and when you are doing more than you need to be.

Enjoy creating your own self-care routine!



Zoey Ryan

coach . catalyst . shakti sage

life & business coach for women


Reclaiming Ourselves and Shadow Work

The whole area of shadow work has been coming up alot lately.  Ken Wilber refers to this in his book, “Integral Spirituality” and Debbie Ford wrote an excellent book, “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers” a few years ago.  More recently Caroline Myss has written “Entering the Castle: An Inner Path To God And Your Soul”, which is a more religiously oriented book of shadow and soul work.

Ken Wilber makes the point that until we all do our “shadow work” we are half done, or halfway up the mountain.  He also rightly notes that this is one of the great contributions that western psychology has made to the realm of spiritual evolution.

The metaphor that is often used in doing this work, is that of a castle and exploring all the rooms, jewels and mysteries of one’s internal castle.   In our internal castle, those rooms or parts of ourselves that we have disgarded or disclaimed are kept in locked rooms.  Only the good parts are acknowledged and portrayed to the external world.

What is kept in the locked rooms is often projected onto other people, so the disowned parts of ourselves becomes what bugs us about others.  Debbie Ford says (page 40 “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers” ) “Projection is a fascinating phenomenon they failed to teach most of us about in school.  It is an involuntary transfer of our own unconscious behavior onto others, so it appears to us that these qualities actually exist in the other people.  When we have anxiety about our emotions or unacceptable parts of our personalities, we attribute these qualitites – as a defense mechanism – to external objects and other people”.  This is pretty powerful!

So, what bugs you about others?  Could it be that this is actually a disowned part of yourself?  Hmmm, lots of potential for pondering here!



Zoey Ryan

coach . catalyst . shakti sage

life & business coach for women


I learned a new word yesterday, “tonglen”.  It was used in a blog posting in reference to a celebrity currently in the public eye and suffering and as I wasn’t familar with the word, I looked it up.  I also gained a new level of respect for the blogger.

I am familiar with and have been practicing lovingkindness meditation for while but was not familiar with the word, “tonglen”.

“Tonglen means “giving and receiving.” In the Tonglen visualization, we receive, with a strong compassionate motivation, the suffering and pain of others; and we give them, with a tender and confident heart, all of our love, joy, well-being and peace. Normally, we don’t want to give away our happiness, nor do we want to take on another person’s suffering, but this not-wanting is the voice of our selfish ego. We cherish “I” more than we do “others” and thus everything we think or do has a self-centered motivation. Following our ego’s commands all the time keeps us trapped in cycles of hope and frustration, fear and disappointment.”  From the “Spiritual Care” website:

Learning about tonglen, which is one form of “lovingkindness meditation” was particularly appreciated yesterday.  I accompanied my youngest daughter to the “celebration of life” service for her friend’s mom, also a friend of mine (Statia Michaels, October 30, 1961 ~ June 5, 2007).  There was great sadness and suffering, yet in the midst of this service, Statia’s light shone through.  I could almost see her, practicing “tonglen” from her place beyond.

Perhaps because I was brought up in a Christian family and culture, the Christian words, phrases and practices are less resonate right now.  I feel that I have been so immersed in a Christian culture that I have become desentitized to alot of the goodness of Jesus’ teachings.  Regardless, Buddhist words and phrases are resonating for me right now and for many reasons I am calmed by just thinking about the practices of tonglen (compassion), non-attachment, non-resistence and non-judgement.  The mirror practices might be unconditional love, compassion and forgiveness and these practice cross all religious and spiritual lines.

I want to close with a poem by Rumi, that was included in Statia’s service yesterday, it is entitled, “Close The Language-Door”:

There is some kiss we want with our whole lives, the touch of Spirit on the body.

Seawater begs the pearl to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately it needs some wild Darling!

At night, I open the window and ask the moon to come and press its face against mine.  Breathe into me.

Close the language-door, and open the love-window. 

The moon won’t use the door, only the window.



Zoey Ryan

coach . catalyst . shakti sage

life & business coach for women

Riding the Social Networking Wave with Zaadz

I was resistant to blogging initially, it felt abit forced and contrived and I wasn’t sure what to talk about, now, I am hooked, I am going “Blogwild” (a great book on blogging by Andy Wibbels btw)!

I noticed that I felt the same way about social networking when I first joined zaadz, although the site’s mission to “change the world” really attracted me, as did the values of “connect, grow, inspire, empower”.  Everything this site/community is about is in alignment with my own personal and business mission and values.

All that being said, it has taken me about a year to get a really comfortable feeling being part of this community.

Previously, our daughters had been involved with an incredibly innovative and progressive on-line learning community , so I was familiar with how discussion boards work, making friends, how each on-line community has it’s own culture and set of both written and unwritten social “rules”.  It is so interesting to me to observe in both myself and others how relationships are formed and nourished and how much of a personal connection I feel with people whom I have never met in person, nor even shared a conversation with.

Zaadz is also about “conscious capitalism” and I can’t wait to see some of the next techno innovations that are brought to the site for entrepreneurs. 

Having been through the “workaholic” phase of my life, I am really aware that I could become addicted to hanging out in zaadz and don’t want to lose touch with the real live people in my life, like my husband, wonderful daughters, other family and friends.  So, it is time to sign off my computer and attend to “real life”, including the laundry.



coach . catalyst . shakti sage

life & business coach for women

Positively Outrageous Self-Care

I love the following quote by ee cummings, one of my favourite poets.  It brings to the discussion the element of courage, which is an attribute vitally important to great self-care, which is the topic today.

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its
best day and night to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.”
As the quote says, being yourself can be hard, in fact I say, being yourself and taking care of yourself takes courage, lots of courage.  As women in our culture, many of us have been taught that it is our duty to take care of others, to put the needs or our kids, our elderly parents, our partners, our jobs, our community before our needs.  Think of all the ways you take care of others in your life.  Yes, this is a valuable and important part of life for many women and yes, often it can get out of hand.  Think of your priority list, what or who is at the top of it?  I hope you see your name there right at the top.

In my coaching practice, I often hear, “oh I couldn’t possibly put myself at the top of the list, that would be selfish”.  Really, or would it be self less?

This shift from selfish to selfless is so well illustrated by the safety talk on airplane flights.  The first time we flew with our baby daughter I was shocked when the flight attendant said if there was an emergency I should put my oxygen mask on first and then put the mask on my baby daughter.  Instinctively I felt that I should put my baby’s mask on first but as I listened to the rest of the safety talk I had a light bulb moment.  Of course I needed to put my mask on first because if I was deprived of oxygen, if I passed out, then who would take care of my baby?  I shifted to thinking it was selfish to put my mask on first to it being selfless!

It is similar in life.  As women, if we do not give ourselves positively outrageous self care and ensure that we are happy, healthy, fulfilled then how can we possibly “show up” in the rest of our lives and engage in relationships with others?  We need to put our oxygen mask on first!

So, what is your oxygen mask?  What are those large and small elements of self care that are vitally important to you feeling the most you, to feeling healthy, happy, whole and grounded?  Let me know!



coach . catalyst . shakti sage

life & business coach for women

Creative Fireworks

Have you ever had a huge burst of creative energy with out really having clarity of where it is all going or coming from?

This is what happened to me over the weekend. 

I have been ruminating on my “pow e-bulletin of gatherings & weavings”, wondering how to change and improve it, pondering payment structure with in the restrictions of my shopping cart system, considering making it “pay what you can” and then yesterday during my meditation, I was hit by this thought of my dream vision for my pow site.  My dream vision is to make my pow site a full web 2.0 wiki, community site.  This idea has been playing around on the edges of my consciousness and I wasn’t letting it in because it felt, well, too big.  I guess the reasons it felt too big were about how many subscribers I would like to have (around 55 K), around the $ involved (old story) and around the work involved.  All this seemed manageable until the middle of the night last night, when I woke up and went “who the he*# to do think you are to start something like this”! (really old story).

This morning I was reading “Spiritual Economics” by Eric Butterworth and the part that really resonated was about desires and ideas being messages from one’s future.  The question I am pondering today is “what is being called forth, what is being asked to be brought into reality from my future”?  Is my big dream realistic? 

In the midst of this, my family life is crazy, daughters moving home, breaking bones etc. and I am reminded of the title of the book by Jon Kabat Zinn “full catastrophe living”.  I guess this is what life is, conscious full catastrophe living, in the midst of fireworks.



coach .catalyst . shakti sage

life & business coach for women

Naked People In Amsterdam!

I haven’t yet visited Europe. When I was younger, I decided to wait with the European Tour until I could fully appreciate the richness and depth of the history and art.  My first visit to Europe is in the planning stages for our 25th wedding anniversary and I have to say, if what is happening in Amsterdam is any indication, the trip will be wild.

I believe travel is the great leveler and love experiencing different cultures.  What I consistently find is that people are kind and generous.  Maybe the real way to change the world is simply for everyone to travel more.

Back to the topic at hand…..

Naked people arrayed in interested groupings being photographed in Amsterdam.  This is intriguing me.  I have seen some of the previous photos and it is very artistic.

I am additionally intrigued because I have been in email communication with a woman in the Netherlands and she told me she was involved in a big project with other European women and once they had successfully tried it in Europe, they were going to bring it to North America.

Could the naked thing be it?

I am very curious about this and plan to do some research!

Does anyone else have any info?



life & business coach for women

coach . catalyste . shakti sage

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