What I Learnt From My 8 Year Old’s Market Stall

My son is a tenacious 8 year old who recently completed a Little Entrepreneurs program that teaches business skills to children. Last weekend, we launched his business idea at a community market, along with his fellow Little Entrepreneur buddies.

Children have a way of very clearly demonstrating life in a microcosm and, as I was reflecting on my son’s day of market selling, it became clear to me that there are two kinds of people in life:

  1. those who stand out front of their market stall and chase down opportunities, and
  2. those who sit behind the table and wait for opportunities to come to them.

What kind of person are you?

Despite popular opinion, one is not better than the other. Both approaches are important and have their place.

There is a lot to be said for sticking by your stall. Some times we can be so busy chasing the next big thing that we miss the opportunities that are right on our doorstep.

And sometimes taking a step beyond our comfort zone is the only way to broaden our world and expand our possibilities.

My question for you is this: how do you need to position yourself to best embrace your current opportunities? Do you need to be pushing out to new frontiers, or do you need to be pulling in to focus and build on your current momentum?

Being effective and fulfilled is so much about being correctly positioned for your particular season.

Melissa Sharman Business Coach

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Who Do You Think You Are?

So you’ve heard a new idea, learnt some new information, finally become fed-up with where you’re at, and you are absolutely motivated that – this time – you are going to make the change. Build the business, lose the weight, master the skill, eat healthier, stress less, travel more…

You tell your friends, you’re feeling pumped.

And then, before you know it, you’ve fallen back into the same old habits and another goal has failed to take hold.

Familiar? I’m pretty certain we’ve all been there!

Here’s the thing: What you believe about yourself – not what you do – is what will shape your life. We put so much emphasis on changing our behaviour, and these changes are often worthwhile and important. But if your actions are not in harmony with your deeply held beliefs, they will not be sustained.

If you see yourself as a smoker or an over-eater, your best efforts to curb those habits are unlikely to stick over time.

If you think of yourself as lazy and incompetent you will, eventually, behave that way.

If you believe that you are not cut out for business and you don’t have what it takes, even the fanciest marketing strategy will at some point fall flat.

If you’re always hitting the same ceilings, maybe the problem isn’t another circumstance that needs to change, or another skill, habit or behaviour you need to adjust. Maybe a more effective starting place is to ask yourself this:

Who do I truly, at the core of my soul, believe I am?

And what outcome and lifestyle do I believe I am worth?

Go to work on your beliefs, and allow your actions to be shaped by them, and the changes you desire will begin to stick.

I believe in you!

Melissa Sharman Business Coach

Is This What Is Holding You Back?

This morning my alarm sounded at 4.40am, and my heart sank.

The sky was grey and still, the house was silent, the blankets soft. Everything in me wanted to snuggle in and stay. I am not one of those bound-out-of-bed bubbly morning people!

There’s only one thing strong enough to motivate me out of bed at that ridiculous hour. Can you guess what it is?

Shame. Or, more accurately, fear of shame.

I had a 5am Skype appointment with my Polish language teacher and, if I missed it, she may have thought me disorganised and inefficient. Things I REALLY don’t like being!

I wish I could say I was motivated by a more noble quest: my lifelong desire to learn a European language, perhaps. Or, my long-held dream to one day work and serve in Central-Eastern Europe.

Nope. In the clear light of day those goals are deeply important to me, but at 4.40am it was the desire to protect someone’s opinion of me that got me out of bed. Future aspirations, no matter how grand, tend to become less important to us in the face of immediate discomfort. Our brains are wired to seek instant gratification.

There’s an ancient Hebrew story about a guy called Esau who sold his birthright (his entire inheritance and future livelihood) for a meal to satisfy his immediate hunger. And humankind have pretty much been repeating that same pattern ever since.

Which, my friends, is why we need each other!

An effective and fulfilled life of purpose comes at a cost, and it is not always comfortable. For that reason, most of us will not consistently do what needs to be done unless we are accountable to someone. 

Accountability almost seems too simple to be effective but, as a coach, I see time and again that it is often the only difference between someone pursuing their dreams or not. When you know someone is waiting on the other side of your follow-through, you are more likely to follow through. 

This is particularly true for those creative projects that are intrinsically linked to our sense of purpose and fulfilment. These projects are often non-urgent and require uncomfortable personal and professional growth, and therefore are continually pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. I know you know what I mean!

If you are serious about creating a deeply fulfilling and highly effective life, it is imperative to find a coach or mentor to hold you accountable. Friends don’t count. Accountability only works with someone you: 1) respect enough to want to protect their good opinion of you (the shame factor!) and 2) will tell you the hard truths when you need to hear them, whether you like them for it or not. This person could be the secret to your success.

Melissa Sharman Business Coach

If you’d like to explore whether I might be a good accountability partner for you, click here to schedule your free 20 minute Discovery Session.

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Escape Busy

News flash: Your busyness is not serving anyone.

Sure, it may serve your ego; your sense of importance; your need to seek the approval of others through your accomplishments.

But only the intentional and focussed application of your purpose will cause you to create the kind of meaningful impact you long to have; cause you to be effective and fulfilled.

What is your focus today? Your most important (not urgent) work? 

And what do you need to say no to, to make space for that work?

What if saying ‘no’ to some of the busy is your highest act of service? Because your unique contribution and voice – the thing you bring to the table in a way that no-one else can – is what, in the long run, will have the meaningful impact you dream of.

Are you finding it difficult to pin-point exactly what is truly important to you? A Discovery Session can help with that! Visit here to learn more and schedule your free 20 minute Discovery Session with me this month. 

I believe in you!

Melissa Sharman Business Coach

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Don’t Let Productivity Kill Your Effectiveness

Productivity says, ‘Do more, in less time, with less resources.’

Effectiveness says, ‘Get clear on what’s most important, and do that.’

Which voice would you rather listen to?

Aren’t you tired of always chasing the next task on your to-do list, never quite getting ahead of it all or finding the space for the tasks you really want to do? You know the ones I mean: those creative and meaningful projects that stir your heart and sit dormant on your wish-list; the ones you day-dream about, sigh, and tell yourself, ‘One day, when…’.

Productivity is fine, important even, but on its own it won’t make you effective and fulfilled. Which is want we all want, right?

Here’s a little activity I’ve started doing this new year, which is helping me to focus on the one thing each day that really matters, as well as increase my awareness of the moments in life that make me happy.*

Melissa Sharman, business coach, 2016, new years resolutions

At the beginning of each day, in a little pink notebook, I write down the one task or objective that would equal success for that day. This is the one thing that, if I manage it, I know I’ve won for the day and the everything else is a bonus.

Then, at the end of each day, I jot down a moment or two that made me happy. What made me smile, laugh, feel light and free? The idea is that being aware of these moments will help me to be intentional about building more of them into my days. I don’t know about you, but I can get very focussed on performance and task, and forget to lighten up and enjoy the journey. Happiness is not fluff; our effectiveness depends on it. Joy strengthens us for the journey.

I recommend you try this too! And when you do, I’d love to hear how it goes for you. Just pop me a note by email, or in the comments section below. And please remember to share this post with anyone you think it might benefit.

Are you finding it difficult to pin-point exactly what is truly important to you? A Discovery Session can help with that! Visit here to learn more and schedule your free 20 minute Discovery Session with me this month. 

Here’s to a wildly effective AND fulfilled 2016!

Melissa Sharman Business Coach

* Thank you to Chris Guillebeau for the inspiration for this idea. You can read more on his blog, The Art of Non-Conformity.


In this last post for 2015, I have a question that could radically improve your sense of confidence and fulfilment as you approach the new year.


Here it is:

What if it is enough?

What if you already have enough experience, talent, education, ideas, connections, resources, happiness…

What if you are enough?

I know, I know. I can hear you saying, ‘BUT Melissa, I don’t have… I am not…’

Here’s the thing: You may not have enough to finish the race just now – we’ll never be finished learning and growing. But you do have something. You have enough to start. And I bet you have more than you think.

As we approach a new year, we so often look at what we don’t have and build plans to toil and strive to reach goals that exist outside of ourselves and our resources. This holiday season, why not look at what you do have and how you can use that to immediately build more purpose and intention into your current life and work?

Being effective and fulfilled is about being purposeful and intentional with what you already have in your hands. It requires us to stop pining over the green grass in everyone else’s fields, and to diligently tend to our own gardens. Therein, I believe, lies the fulfilment that we all seek.

You have soil. You have seeds. Please, don’t overlook their potential by chasing someone else’s harvest.

Wishing you a wonderfully blessed and peaceful Christmas filled with laughter and love!

Melissa Sharman Business Coach

If you’d like to touch base in January to get some clarity for the year ahead, click here to schedule a free 20 minute Discovery Session with me via phone. 


What Old Ways Don’t Serve You Anymore?

Melissa Sharman business coach

Image via lifehack.org

It’s that time of year again, where we reflect on what has passed and plan for the new year to come.

There is a lot of hope in the air that ‘next year will be different’.

But will it?

As much as I LOVE a good plan, and am hopelessly optimistic, I have to say this: the most well-meaning intentions alone do not have the power to change diddly-squat.

Only you can do that.

So I have a simple question for you: What is the one thing that you are going to change to get what you most want in 2016?

Note that I didn’t ask the one thing you will do. Adding more tasks to our already overwhelmed lives is not sustainable and does not change inside of us what needs to change to truly move us forward.

Let’s get specific:

What thought pattern will you let go of and what mindset will you relentlessly pursue instead?

What small habit will you daily commit to build, whether you feel like it or not, until it changes your life? And what do you need to loose in order to make space for it?

What new opportunities do you want to embrace in 2016? What needs to change in your current reality to equip you to step through those new doors? And what are you willing to do about it?

Let’s not be those who vainly hope each new year that ‘something’ will change. We’re too smart for that. We’re born for greater things, intent on being both effective and fulfilled.

I believe in you!

Melissa Sharman Business Coach

If you don’t know what you want for 2016, or what needs to change for you to get it (and you want to know!) click here to schedule a free 20 minute Discovery Session with me via phone. Don’t wait, I’m almost booked up before year end!

Sometimes clarity is exactly the kick up the butt we need. The Discovery Session can be that for you. 


Why You Can Admit That You Can’t Do It All

On Sunday I heard Geoff Wilson speak, an Australian adventurer who broke a record in 2014 for his 3,400km solo expedition across Antarctica. One of his principles for living with ‘true grit’ was to identify your gifts, then create uplinks to support your areas of weakness. That is, figure out where you fall short and go in search of the people who have strength in those areas to help and mentor you.

This is counter to the insidious belief in our culture that says it is weak to admit our weaknesses; that asking for help when some part of our business, career, family, health, emotions or relationships feels too hard for us, is somehow a sign of inadequacy.

Your greatest strength, deepest courage, and best adventures, lie in owning both your strengths and your weaknesses, and then actively seeking others to help plug the gaps. You were never meant to shine alone.

Melissa Sharman Business Coach

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What if your answer is to work LESS, not more?

Are you running in a constant state of overwhelm? Surviving on adrenaline? Every workday this week is already accounted for with meetings and deadlines. Every weekend into next month holds a pre-committed social engagement. You bear, rather than cherish, the dinner / bed routine with the family, just holding it all together until you get a few moments to yourself at the very end of the day…

It’s just life, right, being always busy? It’s noble, isn’t it, to live at the very edge of capacity, spending all of your potential in pursuit of your dreams? It certainly feels adventurous, important even.

As a business coach, I’m all about people increasing their capacity for effectiveness and fulfilment. My entire life’s work is about helping organisations and individuals perform at their best. But in this industry of self improvement, and this age of unlimited opportunity, there is a voice that has been lost to the winds of ambition.

It is the voice that says, ‘What if pursuing your purpose means stepping back from some of the impressive projects, to invest again in the simple things that are truly significant?’

It is the voice that reminds us that our bodies are not designed for constant adrenal overload; that good rest, home-cooked food, sunshine and fresh air, quiet time and the affection of loved ones are not niceties, but rather fundamental ingredients to an effective and fulfilled life.

Where can you create margin in your schedule – your relationships – your environment – and your mind? The effective pursuit of your purpose depends on it.

Melissa Sharman Business Coach

PS: We are in this together, I need this reminder too!

I coach professional people to converge their unique purpose with skilled implementation, so they can be both effective and fulfilled.

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Are you being led or driven?

Purpose leads. It doesn’t drive.

Are you driven by a sense of inadequacy, by a fear of failing, by the need to prove yourself, by the demands and expectations of others?

Or are you led by open-hearted curiosity, by fire-in-your-belly passion, by pure love for the task, by a deep sense of calling?

Being driven is externally motivated, by a concern for circumstance and the opinion of others.

Being led is internally motivated, by strong self-awareness and a commitment to integrity.

One needs to control, to perform, to strive. The other is free to explore, to fail, to start again.

I’ve pitched my tent in both camps, and I know which I’d prefer. How about you, are you being led or driven in your pursuit of purpose and fulfilment?

Melissa Sharman Business Coach

I coach professional people to converge their unique purpose with skilled implementation, so they can be both effective and fulfilled.

If this article resonates with you, get fortnightly updates so you don’t miss the next one. 

And read about my SUPER HOT free coaching offer here.